My Constant Battles With Fondant...

Decorating By loriemoms Updated 11 Jan 2009 , 1:57pm by JenniferMI

loriemoms Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 9:33am
post #1 of 30

I so rarely get fondant cakes now, I still have such a struggle with them! I have tried using very little buttercream, I have tried using a thick coat of buttercream (I saw on the wedding cake masters they put a REALLY thick coat on! How do they do that? doesnt it all just gush out the bottom?) I have rolled it thin, I Have rolled it thick. I smooth and smooth and smooth, with my hands, with a smoother. I damm my cakes with thick buttercream, I trim them, I put light filling in them. I Have used MMF, Satin Ice, Fondx, Penawahteverthat stuff is called. My fondant cakes just dont come out smooth. You can see the ridges of the tiers, the fondant "seperates" from the cake, as it no longer sticks to the buttercream or something. I cover them when they are cold, but not frozen, and the cakes seem to "shrink" and the fondant doesnt shrink with I guess. I even got those rolling pin guides so my fondant is exactly 1/4 inch thick. I have watched about every DVD I can get my hands on and everyone has their own 'method' but none of them seem to work. How do you get fondant smooth? Am I just fondant challenged?

29 replies
jsmith Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 11:56am
post #2 of 30

I've found that if the cake is cold when I cover it then the fondant gets air bubbles and inflates. I'm not sure if that's what you mean by shrinking and stuff. Although, a lot of good decorators cover their cakes cold and don't have a problem, I've just never had any success with it. Maybe the temp. and humidity of the area affects it? Anyway,I wait until the cake is room temp. to cover it. I ice it with a kind of thick crumbcoat. After I cover it I use two fondant smoothers. One across the top and one up the side and slowly bring them together to make the edges a little sharper. I also mist the cake with a water spray bottle before applying the fondant to make it stick. Hope that helps. Although your cakes look beautiful to me and I can't tell you have a problem with it.

loriemoms Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 1:20pm
post #3 of 30

I was wondering the same thing..that the cake being cold is causing a problem. Luckilly the issues are't severe enough that they show up well in photographs and the customers never seem to notice, but I sure do!! I hate all those little ridges! I will try your suggestion about the two smoothers!

loriemoms Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 1:25pm
post #4 of 30

jsmith: Thanks for the photo comments! If you look at the rose cake (the white cake with the red roses coming down it) the bottom tier, to the left...you can see the little ridge on where the cake was torted in that photo. That is what I am talking about.

jsmith Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 1:44pm
post #5 of 30

I'm having a hard time seeing it but if you mean how sometimes the fondant looks like it goes in where it's torted then I've found it helps to pipe buttercream along the torted sections all the way around the cake after it has been filled and stacked to fill in any gaps missed from the dam. Then I smooth the sides before I crumbcoat. I also use a cake board or plate to gently push down the cake before crumbcoating to force it to settle. hopefully that makes sense.

summernoelle Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 1:50pm
post #6 of 30

I always have my cakes very very cold when I put on the fondant for 2 reasons: 1, I think it helps the cake settle, the frosting firm up, and helps with the buldging issue. 2, It gives you a firmer surface to work on.

Another thing is-are you kneading the fondant long enough? Sometimes that really helps with the texture and how smoothly it goes on...just a thought.

Toptier Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 3:52pm
post #7 of 30

I too struggle with fondant, I always get settling, sagging and dimpling when I use buttercream under (I use IMBC). Recently I tried ganache under fondant and it was AMAZING the difference that a firmer foundation gives you. The ganache gives a much firmer surface to adhere the fondant too...you can use either white chocolate or dark chocolate in the ratio of 2 parts chocolate to 1 part cream. Brush the cake with a thin syrup before adhering the fondant.

Check out the Planet Cake website forums for more info, recipes and a video on this...it changed my (fondant) life! It's more stable in hot weather too. Give it a try!

loriemoms Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 5:12pm
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by summernoelle

I always have my cakes very very cold when I put on the fondant for 2 reasons: 1, I think it helps the cake settle, the frosting firm up, and helps with the buldging issue. 2, It gives you a firmer surface to work on.

Another thing is-are you kneading the fondant long enough? Sometimes that really helps with the texture and how smoothly it goes on...just a thought.




Thanks! If anything, I think I knead it too much..its very soft and warm when I roll it out...I never have any problems with elephant skin. I Just have problems with all the settling going on underneith. Do you find your cakes not shrinking? how does the fondant stick to the cold buttercream?

sugarshack Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 6:14pm
post #9 of 30

Here are my thoughts:

1) what cake recipe are you using? It needs to be REALLY sturdy and firm to hold up

2) while i flash freeze my cakes before covering, it is a very fine line between them being firm and being overchilled. Overchilling will cause all kinds of problems with the fondant.

4) Use even a stiffer dam than what you are using. I will use a stiffer dam for fondant cakes than i do for BC ones. It is hard to pipe out.

5) I have been having problems with both satin Ice and pettinice over the last year. While in the past I got very good and consistent results, it now seems buckets vary batch to batch. I do nothing differently, but I am often getting sagging and bagging issues developing over a few hours that I did not have before. The companies say they have not changed anything, so I do not know what to think. I am now trying Massa Grunisha, while expensive, works like a dream.

6) make sure you are alowing time for your cakes to settle after you fill them.

7) Toba Garrett uses a cake spackle to crumb coat her cakes with under fondnat. A spreadable mixture of cake scraps and icing. I have tried it and dont see it to perform any differently than BC, but maybe you can try it.

8 ) STIFF dam. I cannot stress that enough for that middle bulge.

HTH a little!

loriemoms Posted 5 Oct 2008 , 1:34pm
post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarshack

Here are my thoughts:

1) what cake recipe are you using? It needs to be REALLY sturdy and firm to hold up

2) while i flash freeze my cakes before covering, it is a very fine line between them being firm and being overchilled. Overchilling will cause all kinds of problems with the fondant.

4) Use even a stiffer dam than what you are using. I will use a stiffer dam for fondant cakes than i do for BC ones. It is hard to pipe out.

5) I have been having problems with both satin Ice and pettinice over the last year. While in the past I got very good and consistent results, it now seems buckets vary batch to batch. I do nothing differently, but I am often getting sagging and bagging issues developing over a few hours that I did not have before. The companies say they have not changed anything, so I do not know what to think. I am now trying Massa Grunisha, while expensive, works like a dream.

6) make sure you are alowing time for your cakes to settle after you fill them.

7) Toba Garrett uses a cake spackle to crumb coat her cakes with under fondnat. A spreadable mixture of cake scraps and icing. I have tried it and dont see it to perform any differently than BC, but maybe you can try it.

8 ) STIFF dam. I cannot stress that enough for that middle bulge.

HTH a little!




Thanks for all the great hints! This seems to be happening with all my recipes...from pound cake to the WASC. I have this very heavy, thick rich chocolate cake that my customers LOVE that even the fondant isnt liking. But as you describe your satin ice, that is EXACTLY what is happening! It starts to like sag off the cake..I have three wedding cakes this week that will need fondant and I am thinking I may just go ahead and buy some Massa (I have used it in the past and I agree, its the best, but Man the $$!!)

I love your damming recipe and maybe I still am not making it thick enough. I will try making it thicker..I often let my cakes settle in the fridge overnight..(with a crumb coat) should I let them settle at room temp and then stick them in the fridge to cool up a little before i cover them? How long do you recommend? (I dont use any perisable fillings)

I think the fondant makers are playing with the transfat issues, as I have found fondx has changed as well, it seems to crack easier..I have been mixing it with satin ice as I have found it TOO soft...Maybe things will settle down once they get their recipes right (I forget when the new transfat rules go into place...next year sometime?)

sweetcakes Posted 5 Oct 2008 , 2:58pm
post #11 of 30

I too had this same problem this weekend. a cake covered in satin ice and the budge in the middle was so visable. i also use a thick dam, not too much filling and crumb coat and let it sit, probably not long enough this time. I haven't posted a picture yet cause it is embarrasing. it was a wedding cake, i wonder if i will hear any complaints about it.

loriemoms Posted 5 Oct 2008 , 3:08pm
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetcakes

I too had this same problem this weekend. a cake covered in satin ice and the budge in the middle was so visable. i also use a thick dam, not too much filling and crumb coat and let it sit, probably not long enough this time. I haven't posted a picture yet cause it is embarrasing. it was a wedding cake, i wonder if i will hear any complaints about it.




I think we do see more of the bulge then the clients do...Hopefully!

I just looked at Albert Usters web site and Massa fondaont is a couple dollars more per pound...does anyone use the americana? can you roll it thinner? I normally use about 9 lbs of fondant for a three tiered cake...does it work the same way? I just can't seem to justify the cost...

I was wondering if anyone has added anything to Satin ice to make it less stretchy? I am debating just mixing my fondx and satin ice together, as the fondx is now drying too fast and starts to wrinkle and Satin ice is sooo soft, it has that saggy effect...It is very frustrating!

kandu001 Posted 5 Oct 2008 , 4:09pm
post #13 of 30

Maybe try using a firmer buttercream underneath, so it doesn't smush out, and let the buttercream set for a little bit before trying to put the fondant on top. I also use powdered sugar after putting the fondant on, to use the smoother with, it helps.

vanillabean Posted 5 Oct 2008 , 10:59pm
post #14 of 30

Loriemoms I am SO glad you posted this. I just delivered a cake yesterday covered with Satin Ice . The last one I did was about a year ago. I did not seem to have any problems with the Satin Ice then, but this time I did. The fondant went on really well (thanks sugarshack!) but by the next day I noticed it had "puddled up" around the bottoms of all the cakes. When I delivered the cake I had to stack on site and I had a tough time because the fondant cracked along the bottoms of all the cakes. I even had one cake crack up the side from the bottom. I had to do some major covering to hide the puddling and sagging bottoms.

I thought about it long and hard this morning and thought maybe I had too much bc under it or that the bc was too dry (I used a crusting bc, then dampened with wet paper towel) so maybe the fondant did not adhere well at the bottom. But, now I wonder if the Satin Ice was part of the problem? Sharon's problems sound just like mine.

Last year I think used the same amount of bc and the cakes were fine. ???? Maybe they have change the recipe?

I was going to take a picture of the puddling, but I as so shaky from the problems that I just wanted to patch it up and cry.

loriemoms Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 12:04am
post #15 of 30

Vanilla,

I feel your pain!! I used to not have any problems either, but I think they are changing recipes on us. I think the Satin Ice has gotten SO soft that it just keeps stretching, even after its on the cake. I was thinking of adding some tylose to the rest of the Satin Ice I have left and see if it stops the stretching. Is anyone else having this problem?

Tona Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 1:12am
post #16 of 30

I have had the issue a time or two also. It is very discouraging when this hapens. Good luck

kate_c Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 3:05am
post #17 of 30

Have you ever tried not using buttercream, but double layering the fondant instead? I have adapted the technique from working with fruit cake for wedding / special occasion, and saw a huge difference between the castle and princesses I did for my daughter's birthday which only had one layer of fondant on a sponge, and the carriage I did for my neice recently, where I double layered a sponge ball as I would a wedding fruit cake.

I must say I am not a professional, I just dabble here and there, so I may be completely wrong in my technique. But it did work for me with the carriage, so you may find it helpful, maybe?

sugarshack Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 4:00am
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by loriemoms

Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarshack

Here are my thoughts:

1) what cake recipe are you using? It needs to be REALLY sturdy and firm to hold up

2) while i flash freeze my cakes before covering, it is a very fine line between them being firm and being overchilled. Overchilling will cause all kinds of problems with the fondant.

4) Use even a stiffer dam than what you are using. I will use a stiffer dam for fondant cakes than i do for BC ones. It is hard to pipe out.

5) I have been having problems with both satin Ice and pettinice over the last year. While in the past I got very good and consistent results, it now seems buckets vary batch to batch. I do nothing differently, but I am often getting sagging and bagging issues developing over a few hours that I did not have before. The companies say they have not changed anything, so I do not know what to think. I am now trying Massa Grunisha, while expensive, works like a dream.

6) make sure you are alowing time for your cakes to settle after you fill them.

7) Toba Garrett uses a cake spackle to crumb coat her cakes with under fondnat. A spreadable mixture of cake scraps and icing. I have tried it and dont see it to perform any differently than BC, but maybe you can try it.

8 ) STIFF dam. I cannot stress that enough for that middle bulge.

HTH a little!



Thanks for all the great hints! This seems to be happening with all my recipes...from pound cake to the WASC. I have this very heavy, thick rich chocolate cake that my customers LOVE that even the fondant isnt liking. But as you describe your satin ice, that is EXACTLY what is happening! It starts to like sag off the cake..I have three wedding cakes this week that will need fondant and I am thinking I may just go ahead and buy some Massa (I have used it in the past and I agree, its the best, but Man the $$!!)

I love your damming recipe and maybe I still am not making it thick enough. I will try making it thicker


yes , if you think it is too thick, it is prob just right. icon_biggrin.gif


..I often let my cakes settle in the fridge overnight..(with a crumb coat) should I let them settle at room temp and then stick them in the fridge to cool up a little before i cover them? How long do you recommend? (I dont use any perisable fillings)

no need to fridge if not perishable; that might be holding up the settling some. i flash mine in the freezer for about 6 minutes and then cover

I think the fondant makers are playing with the transfat issues, as I have found fondx has changed as well, it seems to crack easier..I have been mixing it with satin ice as I have found it TOO soft...Maybe things will settle down once they get their recipes right (I forget when the new transfat rules go into place...next year sometime?)




something is def goin on; I can see the difference when i take the stuff out the buckets batch to batch. I have changed nothing in my technique. It goes on flawlessly and then starts to act crazy in a short time. I am very frustrated at this time too.

I have also used the hardened ganache under it and that works great too.

cuteums Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 4:21am
post #19 of 30

I'm glad I'm not the only one with major fondant problems. The last (and only time) I tried satin ice it was a disaster. The stuff was so sticky. It stuck to everything. No amount of cornstarch helped this either. I had this problem recently with my mmf that usually comes out great. It seems like whenever it is humid out my fondant gets impossible to work with. If this Massa stuff is good maybe I will try it. I am ready to completely give up on fondant.

Skirt Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 4:45am
post #20 of 30

Has anyone tried Fondarific? I read about it on another site. I haven't done a fondant cake yet so I can't say if it's good or not but their website is http://www.fondarific.com/ if anyone's interested...

Kitagrl Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 4:48am
post #21 of 30

I recently did a cake where I could see the center bulge too. However they had requested a pudding filling, and though I thickened the pudding, I figured it was just that the cake was settling. Do be sure you have a good dam of icing and a good thick crumb coat that is nice and settled, and yes refrigerated...sometimes I think the pressure from smoothing the fondant makes the filling bulge just a bit. Because I don't have that problem with buttercream filled cakes.

The precolored Satin Ice seems alot more soft than the regular white. The regular white seems ok. It can depend on where you are storing it...I noticed the place I had mine was right by an a/c vent during the summer and it was causing a bit of condensation from the humidity and I'd end up with a little wet gooey area inside the bag. Ew. You know, come to think of it, where you are getting your Satin Ice and how they are storing it at the warehouse may play a part??? Or how old or fresh it is? Maybe its more your supplier than the Satin Ice people?

I dunno...I haven't run into too many major problems with the fondant other than regular everyday "issues" I guess... and yeah it does seem to bubble up sometimes on the cake as well, have to press those out.

(And its annoying, everyone on tv can just rub that pinhole right out but I never can!!!!)

loriemoms Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 12:19pm
post #22 of 30

I wish I could switch to Massa but at 6 dollars or more a lb, it just so expensive! I do have a sample of the fondarific stuff (they were at the expo) but it is also quite expensive, about 4.75 a lb. (Plus shipping) It also has a strong flavor. I am going to go back to Fondx and see if i can work out ITs issues (it dries too fast) Its very frustrating, as the reason the customers PICk the fondant is because its so smooth and pretty...

I am glad to hear I am not alone!!!

MissRobin Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 1:52pm
post #23 of 30

I think all of us can feel your pain!! I am like you, I am a sponge when it comes to reading and watching videos etc., and Still have problems with the fondant. I did a cake this last weekend and while I think I handled the bulge, I still have problems with the air pockets. I thought I had dampened the BC enough but my top tier, got them all around the top edge. I think I will get a spray bottle. I use Sharon's BC recipe and I love it but it crusts so well that you definitely need to spray before applying fondant.. Everytime I do a cake, I ask myself, Why do I do this? But, then I remember, it's because I love it so I guess I just have to overcome all obstacles, I would love to try the Massa but I don't do enough cakes at this time to justify the cost, but it always looks so beautiful.

MissRobin Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 1:53pm
post #24 of 30

I think all of us can feel your pain!! I am like you, I am a sponge when it comes to reading and watching videos etc., and Still have problems with the fondant. I did a cake this last weekend and while I think I handled the bulge, I still have problems with the air pockets. I thought I had dampened the BC enough but my top tier, got them all around the top edge. I think I will get a spray bottle. I use Sharon's BC recipe and I love it but it crusts so well that you definitely need to spray before applying fondant.. Everytime I do a cake, I ask myself, Why do I do this? But, then I remember, it's because I love it so I guess I just have to overcome all obstacles, I would love to try the Massa but I don't do enough cakes at this time to justify the cost, but it always looks so beautiful.

handymama Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 4:29pm
post #25 of 30

Thanks for this posting! This week I made a cake that included a 14" round base cake. It was perfect when I finished, but the next morning there were wrinkles, dimples and sags thsat simply wouldn't work out. I've used JenniferMI's "chocopan" clone recipe for some time and been very happy with it (it's 80% fondant/20% chocolate clay). This time it was very soft and very stretchy. Normally I can slide my arms under it, lift and place on the cake, but this time I had to roll it on a silicone mat and flip it. I thought maybe I'd done something wrong or that the room was too warm. Now I'm wondering if it's the Pettinice that's changed.
Sugarshack--do you own a flash freezer or are you using a home freezer? Also, you asked about the cake recipe. I used DH dark fudge cake. The dam was very stiff buttercream and the filling concentric circles of BC and ganache. Any thoughts?

seskenn Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 4:43pm
post #26 of 30

I'm pretty new at using fondant, but now you all have me nervous! I have a 40th wedding anniversary cake to make for my in-laws later this month. The party is about 5 hours away, so I was thinking a fondant -covered cake would travel better than crusting buttercream. Now I'm afraid the fondant will just sag off and be a hula hoop around the layers! Pretty sure I'll need someone with a glass of wine (or shot of tequila) waiting for me at the end of my drive, because my nerves will be shot!

DebraDough Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 5:03pm
post #27 of 30

Hello all,
I am totally sefl taught and from what I can see all of the BC recipes on this site use a lot more butter, shortening than I do . My frosting is not as creamy or as soft as the recipes on here make. I have never had any problems with fondant at all. I need to knock on wood real fast. I agree with the cold cake but not frozen idea too. I put on a thick coat of BC but like I said mine is thicker or heavier than most. I make it soft enough to spread but just barely. I also frost and fondant pretty close together not allowing it to crust much before applying the fondant. I do know as mentioned before the weather plays a huge part in any cake. Heat and humidity are a pain to work around. I live where it is rarely hot and one summer I ended up decorating a wedding cake in a borrowed airconditioned motor home because my kitchen and work room were so hot it was just melting the cream cheese frosting I was trying to work with. I grew up in Fl and never could get some recipes to work there that are easy in a dryer climate. Best of luck and keep trying...it is such fun stuff to work with (when it works) . Blessings, Debra

ladyonzlake Posted 11 Jan 2009 , 6:08am
post #28 of 30

I'm so glad to see this thread. While I haven't had problems with the bulging and saggin I do have problems with those pesky air bubbles...on the top and on the sides. I just don't get it. My lighting is horrible in my kitchen as it's the recess lights that shine down so until I move my cakes I don't see the bubbles.

I use IMBC and refrigerate overnight. Then I spray some water on it before applying the fondant. I'm wondering if the spraying water on it might be some of my bubble problem. I did a dummy cake and sprayed it after apply RI, put on the fondant and got those darn bubbles all over.

It's not so bad if you have decorations to cover it up but when there is no decorations it's there for all to see!

sayhellojana Posted 11 Jan 2009 , 6:42am
post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skirt

Has anyone tried Fondarific? I read about it on another site. I haven't done a fondant cake yet so I can't say if it's good or not but their website is http://www.fondarific.com/ if anyone's interested...




I ordered the sample pack and it tasted better than most processed stuff, but it's expensive and I still hate the taste compared to homemade. I use IMBC under fondant and don't have any problems with bulging. Maybe it has something to do with shortening/butter/powdered sugar BCs? Altough really that doesnt make any sense as to why it would matter.

JenniferMI Posted 11 Jan 2009 , 1:57pm
post #30 of 30

I think you should try a different fondant. Sometimes it might not be your technique, it's the fondant you are using.

With my semi-homemade chocolate fondant, I put a normal layer of firm bodied icing then a thin layer of fondant. I NEVER have bulging issues with the icing....

Jen icon_smile.gif

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