Fondant Problems - Can Anyone Help?

Decorating By say_it_with_cake Updated 28 Aug 2008 , 9:04pm by tonedna

say_it_with_cake Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 10:27am
post #1 of 22

Hi all,
Firstly, what a fantastic site!! I'm absolutely addicted, inspired and humbled lol.

I'm having huge problems when working with fondant. I seem to be able to cover a cake without too much trouble but could someone please tell me how on earth I get rid of the excess cornstarch / icing sugar left over from rolling? I can never seem to get rid of it all and it's driving me nuts (it looks just awful, especially on darker colors lol). Is there a trick to removing it? I've read here that some people use shortening to roll with instead but it isn't readily available here in Australia icon_sad.gif

Also, my fondant seems to dry out rather quickly, leaving unsightly cracks, particularly when molding decorations, ribbons etc. I haven't tried making my own (yet!) but have tried a couple of different brands with the same result. I always knead it well but this just seems to give it more time to dry out lol. What am I doing wrong?

Other than the occasional cake for family / friends, I'm quite new to this and I'm hoping someone more experienced may be able to offer some advice icon_smile.gif

21 replies
peg818 Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 12:53pm
post #2 of 22

Well, do you have a spray grease like Pam? I think if you spray a mat with pam then wipe most of it away, it should be barely there. then roll your fondant on the mat and do the flip method of covering a cake, you will find that you are then smoothing the nice moist underside of the fondant and you won't end up with as much cracking. I use a silicone mat by ateco for rolling but a heavy duty plastic will work too.

JenniferMI Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 12:55pm
post #3 of 22

Chocolate fondant doesn't crack or dry out quickly....

I think the spray grease would work for rubbing off the powder. You also can put some vodka thru your airbrush and spray the cake, if you have an airbrush, that works great!


Jen icon_smile.gif

kyhendry Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 1:25pm
post #4 of 22

You can get rid of cornstarch and powdered sugar marks by airbrushing the cake with plain vodka. If you don't have an airbrush you could try a spray bottle but make the mist really fine (maybe use one of those travel bottles they sell to take your own hairspray - that would be a fine mist).

As for the cracks, I use shortening so I don't know an alternative if that's not readily available to you (sorry).

BlakesCakes Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 7:28pm
post #5 of 22

If I couldn't get hold of white vegetable fat, I think I'd try some margarine, unflavored cooking oil (canola), cocoa butter, or even regular butter as a light grease on a vinyl or silicone mat. It doesn't need much.

PS & CS can really dry out the fondant quickly, leading to cracks & elephant skin. If you don't have to roll out on it, you may find better results all the way around.


leah_s Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 7:30pm
post #6 of 22

Yes, definitely use a grease of some sort to roll out fondant. Not much grease, of course.

leah_s Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 7:35pm
post #7 of 22

How about Copha?

say_it_with_cake Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 10:30pm
post #8 of 22

Thankyou so much for your suggestions, I think I might try using copha. I'll also have a hunt to see if I can find some spray grease, what a great idea icon_smile.gif

I don't have an airbrush but I'd sure like to get one! Is it ok to use sprayed vodka on children's cakes?? The kids are usually hyper enough at our parties as it is lol.

BlakesCakes Posted 27 Aug 2008 , 4:39am
post #9 of 22

Just beware, the Copha may work OK for greasing the mat (if the ambient temperature is warm enough for the Copha to be "slick"), but I wouldn't suggest kneading any into the fondant.

The coconut fat is usually melted, combined with other ingredients and then allowed to re-set, so it's never meant to stay soft, lik Crisco or Trex. Too much of it could cause the fondant to be too firm to work easily and that leads to more cracking.

You can get Crisco in some specialty shops in Oz and by internet ordering:

Truth is, a little goes a long way.

Another option in Australia might be Solite:


MacsMom Posted 27 Aug 2008 , 4:58am
post #10 of 22

Alcohol evaporates, so the kids should be fine. The amount on the cake still wet would be far less than in cough syrup anyway!

I use parchment paper to roll out my fondant. I buy large sheets at Smart&Final for $3. I do have to use 2 side by side for larger cakes, but it works well. No mess and I can re-use them as liners for my cake pans.

I've found that it takes a whole lot of Crisco to avoid cracking in purchased fondant. I prefer MMF except when I need black or brown.

16 oz mini-marshmallows (NOT Jet-Puffed. I use Wal Mart brand)
2 T water
**Grease a micro-safe bowl, add MMs, sprinkle with water, melt 1 minute, stir.** Add:
1 T glycerine
1 t popcorn salt (or grind regular salt in a coffee grinder - you'll get crystals if you don't)
1 dram LoRann butter flavor or 2 t other butter flavor (but LoRann makes it taste most like BC)
Food color, if using.
**stir and gradually add**
2 lbs powdered sugar

Start by stirring in 1/2 c of PS to absorb moisture before dumping in more to help avoid clumps. Each time you add PS make you you stir it well so that it's well absorbed before adding more. When you are down to the last 1/3 of the bag, dump it in and knead with your greased hands. Form a ball and wrap with plastic wrap to rest at least 4 hours. It should be firm but not hard, and not sticky. To re-soften, place it in the micro a few seconds at a time and knead. If it is too sticky, knead in cornstarch a little at a time.

sumfun1215 Posted 27 Aug 2008 , 6:41am
post #11 of 22

How does a baker survive without Crisco? Ive long been a fan of the British and Australian cake decorating methods and never knew that they couldn't get Crisco. Is there really no "all vegetable" high ratio shortening available? That ought to be a slam dunk business for some able-bodied entrepreneur there.

Tatusky Posted 27 Aug 2008 , 1:59pm
post #12 of 22

Thanks to all of you. I did learn a lot tips with this post.

2muchsugar Posted 27 Aug 2008 , 2:09pm
post #13 of 22

Depending upon how much cornstarch or powdered sugar you have, you can also take a fresh piece of fondant and use it as an "eraser" to pick up the dust marks. It works like a charm for me.

2508s42 Posted 27 Aug 2008 , 2:23pm
post #14 of 22

How much sugar are you using to roll it out? I used to use WAY to much because I didn't want it to stick to the counter... now I use a NEW nylon sock, fill it with cornstarch and tap it on the counter to distribute the cornstarch. I saw it on tv on food network challenge.

The silicon mat works well too, and I have also used for really large cakes a thick peice of vinyl (sp). Just make sure you don't have wrinkles in the vinyl.

Valli_War Posted 27 Aug 2008 , 2:27pm
post #15 of 22

There must be an Asian Indian grocery store somewhere closer to where you live. If there is one, go there and ask for Dalda. It is a brand name that is just like crisco here. Only thing is it is imported from India if you want to try that. It is based on palm oil. Just giving some info if it helps.

Launa Posted 27 Aug 2008 , 2:27pm
post #16 of 22

I usually don't cover a whole cake in fondant, but when I do fondant decorations, I use powdered sugar to roll it out and once it's on the cake, I take a small paint brush and brush the extra powdered sugar with a little water and it cleans it right off. The water has usually evaporated by the time the cake is delivered. Don't know if this is an "official" way of doing it, but it works for me!!! icon_biggrin.gif

wrightway777 Posted 27 Aug 2008 , 2:49pm
post #17 of 22

One additional note on your cracking fondant. If you have royal icing in the same (exact) color as your fondant you could always fill in the cracks with the royal icing (smooth out as it dries). Try this in an inconspicuous place first. Works best with white on white. Its nice to have this idea up your sleeve when you are not faced with any other choice; esp if you cant cover it up with a design element.

say_it_with_cake Posted 27 Aug 2008 , 9:19pm
post #18 of 22

Thankyou so much for all your suggestions, it's wonderful being able to gain advice from people who actually know what they're doing! I think I was using way too much PS to roll with so that may have been my problem.

I mainly have trouble with cracking when I'm making decorations (looped bows and the like). I made my first batch of MMF yesterday and hope to try it out today. Already I could feel a huge difference in the texture and can't wait to see how it goes. icon_biggrin.gif

I'm so new at this and it all feels like a big adventure at the moment - I'm sure this is becoming an obsession already! I just wish I'd found this site earlier, I'm learning something new every day here icon_smile.gif

marknelliesmum Posted 27 Aug 2008 , 9:36pm
post #19 of 22

If you find you are having to use loads of icing sugar or cornstarch to stop sticking maybe you should try changing your brand of fondant. Different brands have different consistencies - the stuff I can get at eg. Wal Mart goes through a clay gun no problem but would need so much icing sugar if rolled out for covering a cake that it would be so dry and have lots of cracks, on the other hand the fondant I buy at the cake supplies shop rolls out like a dream with very little sticking but you have no chance of getting it through a clay gun. I use both for different jobs - just a suggestion icon_smile.gif

wrightway777 Posted 28 Aug 2008 , 2:38pm
post #20 of 22

how did your first batch of MMF turn out today and what recipe did you use?

say_it_with_cake Posted 28 Aug 2008 , 8:40pm
post #21 of 22

I love, love, LOVE the MMF! It's so much easier to work with (no cracking!), it was simple to make and it tastes devine. My hubby usually hates the taste of fondant but I had to shoo him out of the kitchen after tasting this, he loves it! I used the recipe for MMF on here by prettytoya.

I'm a bit peeved at the moment though as the cakes I so carefully baked ready to practice on ended up a pile of crumbs thanks to my son finding them on the cooling racks icon_sad.gif So I need to bake another before I can have a proper play lol.

How long does MMF keep for? Should it be stored in the fridge or at room temperature?

tonedna Posted 28 Aug 2008 , 9:04pm
post #22 of 22

My careful with lots of willl dry the fondant or the MMF very fast, causing cracks.

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