Great In The End, But Fondant Had "elephant Skin"

Decorating By stephbakes Updated 22 Apr 2009 , 3:04pm by fondantfrenzy

stephbakes Posted 21 Apr 2009 , 11:52pm
post #1 of 24

Just wondering if anyone has pinpointed the leading causes of "elephant skin" in their fondant. Is it a stretching/sagging thing?

I used Bakels for the cake I did this last week and had some serious problems with elephant skin and cracking along the edges. When I rolled it out to cover, I could get it smooth on the top where the rolling pin was, but the reverse side (which normally would have faced up on the cake) was all blemished. This has NEVER happened to me before!! (I shed a tear of two--it was late and the cake was for my daughter's big birthday party! Thank God the design included swags that covered most of the cracks.)

My sweet husband kneaded the color in for me, and may have used more Crisco than I normally do...could that have ruined the integrity of it? What happened???

23 replies
pipe-dreams Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 12:18am
post #2 of 24

Here's a bump, b/c I too am curious about this. I covered a wedding cake in fondant, and it was perfect. Then a few hours later, I noticed it was a little cracked and had some elephant skin. I rubbed crisco on it, but it didn't really help. Why does it do this?? What can we do to prevent it?

Niliquely Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 12:21am
post #3 of 24

I have had this happen too - I use MMF, so I didn't know if it was because I wasn't using the expensive stuff! No idea why it happens...

fondantfrenzy Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 12:50am
post #4 of 24

It has happened to me too. I have a theory and have to test it, i was going to post the question but was scard that people were going to be like HUH this makes no sense. I think just like cake batter you can over mix it. I think mayhbe too much air is getting in there or something. I mix the crap out of my melted MM so I am wondering if that has somethign to do with it. I am going to mix it slower and not so much and see if that has an impact.

pipe-dreams Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 1:07am
post #5 of 24

I use Satin Ice, and it happens to me. Hopefully someone more experienced can help!

bizatchgirl Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 1:22am
post #6 of 24

I can't think what you mean by elephant skin, but one person did say loose and saggy.

Is it possible your cake isn't firm enough and/or supported well enough to hold the weight of your fondant? And so your cake is kind of compressing under the weight, and then the extra fondant just kind of sags down the sides?

I haven't conquered making MMF yet, I use the crappy Wilton's stuff, but I can't say I've experienced elephant skin yet.

ptanyer Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 1:35am
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by pipe-dreams

I use , and it happens to me. Hopefully someone more experienced can help!




I had the same experience using Satin Ice for a wedding cake back in March. It tooks hours longer to cover the 4 tiers than it should have because by the time we got it rolled out large enough for each tier, it looked slightly dried out and when we went to pick it up, it would stretch and tear. Tried cornstarch and confectioners sugar - made it a lot worse, dried out really fast. Cleaned everything up and started over trying crisco on our hands and silicone mat. That seemed to help a little, but still frustrated. Finally mixed Satin Ice and Wilton fondant and it made it more manageable and finally got the tiers covered. Was worn out and frustrated to the point of tears.

Now I am dreading the wedding cake scheduled for the end of May because it is 7 tiers: 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 - squares with the corners cut off. I had already purchased all the fondant for both of the wedding cakes when I discovered how much trouble the Satin Ice was going to give me. So now stuck with all of it (pounds and pounds of it) and just know that it is going to be a monster job to get it all covered.

Hopefully someone will come up with a great solution that we can all use and make this fun again and not filled with dread.

bizatchgirl Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 1:48am
post #8 of 24

ptanyer. Satin Ice was a PITA for me too. It was just way to stretchy. It wouldn't hold it's shape and thickness even long enough for me to get it over the cake.

What you did with your Satin Ice was the same thing I did when my chocolate MMF didn't come out great. I added it to Wilton's. It had the perfect pliability then, and still the nice yummy homemade MMF taste.

I would definitely not let all that Satin Ice go to waste, too expensive. Maybe you can mix it in with either the Wilton's or MMF so you can get it to do what you want it to do.

Also...maybe you could check in with Tonedna. She uses Satinice, and loves it. Maybe she has some suggestions for it. All I remember when she responded to my frustration with it is that you have to get used to working with it, but once you do, you'll never want to use anything else.

MayWest Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 1:52am
post #9 of 24

Took a peek at the cake and it is beautiful!! I think what may have happened is that the cake was not firm enough to hold the weight of the fondant.

1nanette Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 1:52am
post #10 of 24

I am not an avid fondant user but when I have used it I always warmed it a bit in the microwave especially if the air is exteremly dry. Not for long or it will melt. Maybe 10 seconds or so. You have to check it. I use Satinice and Lisas Best MMF. Warming it a little helps to cut out some of the kneading time so you are not overworking it like fondantfrenzy said. I think that dries out the fondant to. Before it completely cools I start to roll. I used cornstach and powdered sugar on my table and Crisco on the surface of the fondant. This works for me. Im not saying it is THE way, only that its my way.

bizatchgirl Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 1:56am
post #11 of 24

1nanette. that's a good point (PS and cornstarch). I totally forgot that I was told PS alone will dry out your fondant.

If you remember to mix PS and cornstarch, it won't dry it out as much.

I use a vinyl mat I purchased at JoAnn's. It works just with Crisco, so I don't even remember about PS and cornstarch any more.

bizatchgirl Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 2:00am
post #12 of 24

Wow. I just checked out your cake and it is amazing!!! I would never have known you had any problems.

It's very beautiful and unique.

What was your daughter's reaction?

CakeForte Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 2:04am
post #13 of 24

the cake could have been too soft, as someone else mentioned. Or the fondant could have been too thick, so it was heavy.

The mixing of powdered sugar and cornstarch doesnt make much sense because corn starch and sugar ground up is powdered sugar. So I'm not following how adding MORE cornstarch could solve the problem.

bizatchgirl Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 2:15am
post #14 of 24

You are totally right, I didn't even know that, and when I just went and looked it up it specifically says 'Powdered sugar contains about 3 percent cornstarch, which helps absorb moisture and prevent caking. '.

I guess it just goes to show you can't trust everything you're told.

Always seemed to work out ok for me, but it has been a while since I used that mix.

varika Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 2:20am
post #15 of 24

I had some problems with my fondant drying out recently and all I did was take about a quarter teaspoon of water and knead it in, and the problem was solved. Crisco didn't work and I wasn't even going to TRY more dry ingredients, but the water worked like a charm, and my cake came out fine....aside from some minor issues with corners and me sucking at getting fondant around them without tearing it.

pipe-dreams Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 2:25am
post #16 of 24

I know people say they knead in some crisco, but mine was fine when I was rolling it out. Once I got it on the cake, which was wasc(ie dense), a few hours later was when it started to "dry out". So by then I couldn't add anything. It was already on the cake. I added a little crisco to the spots, but it didn't help muchicon_sad.gif

kjgjam22 Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 2:47am
post #17 of 24

elephant skin is what happens to fondant when it gets too dry. adding cornstarch or icing sugar will definately make it worse. crisco may help sometimes. but if its too bad i dont think it can be fixed. that note with the water is interesting though. but if you add too much it will start to dissolve your fondant.

StaceyCakes75 Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 3:30am
post #18 of 24

I made a bible cake a few weeks ago and used satin ice black. I have never had so many peoblems. I think I used too much CS. The elephant skin was unbelievable! In the end it ened up being a blessing because I bought a tool to make that worn leather look but never had to use it because the elephant skin actually made it look very real. I had crack around the edges too but it just made it all the more worn looking.

Anyway I was not impressed with the black satin ice. If I had to cover a cake to get that complete smooth look I would have been pulling my hair out all night.

Thanks for some of the suggestions.

I was wondering if any of you have had trouble with MMF when making bows? Mine just never seem to dry enough and end up drooping even after 3 days of drying icon_sad.gif

bizatchgirl Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 3:41am
post #19 of 24

Did you use just MMF? Straight fondant will take forever to dry, especially MMF.

I would think you'd add Gumpaste or Gumtex to the MMF to make it dry harder and faster just like regular fondant.

stephbakes Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 4:31am
post #20 of 24

Such great feedback all!

The cake that I used was WASC and Chocolate WASC (AMAZING...everyone LOVED it) but it wasn't a sagging/buldging problem (btw, I've had those problems with my Cake Bible homemade butter cakes. Too unpredictable! Only WASC for me from here on out.)

The "elephant skin" I discribed was ripply, weathered and dry-looking...but to me, it still seemed plenty soft and Crisco-y, at least on the surface! Isn't that strange!? And it was EXPENSIVE fondant-grr.

It may have helped to knead in some Wilton. The only thing going for it is its nice pliability.

And about the black Satin Ice...it smoothed pretty well for me...but definitely on the stretchy side, as I recall.

sugarshack Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 6:32am
post #21 of 24

I have been complaining about this to anyone who will listen for the last year at least. A friend of mine just discovered that the fat used in satin ice and pettinice has changed to palm oil (no trans fat). I am convinced that has ruined the workability of these 2 brands that used to work great. I now buy the expensive massa gruschina from albert uster imports for covering cakes and use the other stuff for decos.

1nanette Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 12:44pm
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeForte

the cake could have been too soft, as someone else mentioned. Or the fondant could have been too thick, so it was heavy.

The mixing of powdered sugar and cornstarch doesnt make much sense because corn starch and sugar ground up is powdered sugar. So I'm not following how adding MORE cornstarch could solve the problem.





This is why I said... "it works for me." It may not make sense to you but it makes smooth pliable fondant for me.

JenniferMI Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 1:02pm
post #23 of 24

I only use semi-homemade chocolate fondant.... I NEVER have any cracking or sagging problems. One of my ingredients is Pettinice, and I notice no difference with the no transfat in the final product (with the chocolate added). If you are having issues try a different fondant. They don't all perform the same.
If you have questions, feel free to contact me,

Jennifer icon_smile.gif

fondantfrenzy Posted 22 Apr 2009 , 3:04pm
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjgjam22

elephant skin is what happens to fondant when it gets too dry. adding cornstarch or icing sugar will definately make it worse. crisco may help sometimes. but if its too bad i dont think it can be fixed. that note with the water is interesting though. but if you add too much it will start to dissolve your fondant.





http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1334469

My big burning question is....can you really even fix it? Has anyone ever have elephant skin fondant and turned it into silky smooth fondant? I added some powdered sugar and kneaded and it would be fine at first then it would be elephanty again..so thats where I am getting the notion that I am overkneading it.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%