Covering Cakes With Fondant - Not As Easy As It Looks!

Decorating By TheNuge Updated 25 Nov 2011 , 6:29am by SweetDelites

TheNuge Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 7:26pm
post #1 of 17

Hi CC!

I'm relatively new to cake decorating and have just starting using MMF. So far, I've been using the Wilton MMF recipe because that's the one given to me by my Wilton Buttercream course instructor.

I find covering cakes with fondant really tough and am looking for advice. For both cakes, I put a buttercream coat, then placed it in the fridge to chill. I rolled the homemade MMF fondant out and placed it over the two-layered 8" round cake and started smoothing. I started at the top, then tried to move the paddle down the side of the cake. Here is where I encountered problems!

1) When I placed the fondant on the cake, I essentially started with a 16" circle of fondant that I placed over the 8" cake. The fondant developed horizonal wave-like pleats, much like a table cloth would on a round café table. I tried cutting with kitchen shears, but in the case of my babyshower cake (attached), I had to remove a triangular wedge shaped amount to get the fondant to hug the sides of the cake.

2) After covering the cake and letting it sit, it became bottom-heavy, as though the fondant had stretched itself out. I suspect it's related to not weighing the cake down (as I've just read about on CC) or having too much buttercream. How much buttercream can I use to crumb coat?

I figure my problems are related to fondant thickness, buttercream thickness, and possibly recipe. Thoughts?

Thank you very much in advance for your help!

16 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 7:34pm
post #2 of 17

Usually draping refers to adding strips of fondant to look like fabric icon_biggrin.gif

I use MMF. I haven't seen the wilton recipe, mine is 2 lbs powdered sugar, 1 lb marshmallows, 1/4 cup water, then just cooking spray to grease hands.

Anyhow, the easiest way to cover a round cake is to put it on a board cut to the exact size of the cake. Then put the buttercream on and chill it until firm. Roll out your fondant, then get the cake out of the fridge and set it on something smaller than the board it is on (For example, for an 8" cake, set it on top of a 6" pan that's turned upside down). Drop your fondant over it and open out any pleats that form. Cut off any really long pieces. Then start smoothing, working on the top then going down the sides. You're not just smoothing it, you're helping the fondant to stretch over the cake. It will still get some of those vertical wrinkles, but since you've got it sitting on something, the wrinkles will form below the cake board. After the cake is smooth, trim the fondant leaving about 1/4" extra, or maybe a teensy bit more because it will shrink up a bit after it's cut. Then transfer the cake, board and all, to a decorated larger board.

milkmaid42 Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 12:50am
post #3 of 17

Welcome to CC. You are going to find a whole world of opinions here, so here is my 2 cents' worth:
After trying several different fondant recipes, MMF among them, I find I prefer MFF, (Michele Foster's F ondant for flavor and workability. I add white chocolate to it which makes it wonderfully malleable. Instead of buttercream and crumb coating, I use chocolate ganache, either white or choc. which makes a good stable base for the overlying fondant. (Plus it adds a yum! factor). And as far as the application goes, nothing, (for me, at least), can beat The Mat. If you Google it, there is a good video that demonstrates the procedure. The recipes can be found here in the recipe section.
With trial and error, I now find that I actually welcome using fondant. And, rather than pulling it off, most of my customers actually love to eat it.

I just found the site for The Mat. Here it is:

I hope this helps you


Jknoxcake2011 Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 2:26am
post #4 of 17

I use the mat, too. Sweetwise's video is great for showing you how to "fluff" the fondant skirt out and smooth it down, getting rid of the unwanted pleats icon_smile.gif

BeccaW40 Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 2:55am
post #5 of 17

I could definitely use that!!! I work alone and big cakes are a royal pun intended.

melanie-1221 Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 3:42am
post #6 of 17

I agree with the recommendation of The Mat and also watching The Mat video. I had the same problems with fondant you are having now , The Mat and the tips in the video helped me sooo much . Now I look forward to doing fondant covered cakes.

SweetDelites Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 4:57am
post #7 of 17

Over the last 9 months I've been trying new things with fondant to see what works for me. I have found that adding gelatin to my mmf helps prevent cracks and any other problems I was having. Also, on my last cake I covered it in buttercream while it was still frozen, and covered it in fondant after it had sat in fridge for about 20 min. It made a huge difference in how it turned out. Maybe this will help you.

TheNuge Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 2:00pm
post #8 of 17

Thank you so much for the great feedback! I have just ordered The Mat. It looks like an amazing product. (Too bad it won't get to me for another 4 to 6 weeks. I guess I'll just have to keep practicing over Christmas. In the meantime, I will use the Wilton plastic mat with greased parchment paper over top.

Thank you so much for the education!

TheNuge Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 2:03pm
post #9 of 17

SweetD, if you cover the frozen cake with fondant, won't the fondant trap condensation? Does anyone else place fondant on a frozen cake?

Many on CC seem to use fondant recipes with gelatine in them, so that will be my next experiment/modification.

Thanks again!

CasperCakeCreations Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 3:58pm
post #11 of 17

Milkmaid42, I too have used MFF, but have never added the white chocolate. Would you please share or PM the techniques you use. Also, I would like to know your recipe for the ganache used to cover a cake. Thanks!

milkmaid42 Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 4:24pm
post #12 of 17

CCC, Michelle has two versions of MFF in the recipes. Her latest addendum uses 2 T. gelatin and 2 T. corn syrup. That is the version I use. I add 6 oz white choc chips--(I know, most white chips aren't technically chocolate)--to melt in the microwave with all the liquid ingredients. Then I just proceed with the usual recipe.


24 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, in chips or chopped up block
12 oz. heavy whipping cream

Note: the ratio is always 2 parts chocolate to one part cream, so you may adjust the volume of this recipe as needed.

If making WHITE chocolate ganache, start with a ratio of 3 parts white chocolate to one part cream. (Although chocolate purists may disagree, you can use Nestles white chips, which are not true chocolate.)

Place the chocolate in a bowl. (Here I melt the chocolate in the microwave, watching carefully that it doesn't burn. The chips still retain their shape so stir to see they're melted.) Heat the cream in a pot until it just starts to come to a boil. You do not want it to come to a full boil. (I just heat it in the measuring cup in the microwave until bubbles start to form around the edge).

At that point, pour the cream over the chips and let it sit for a minute or two. Then stir with a whisk or spoon until all the chocolate melts and you have a smooth mixture. (I use my immersion blender stick here.) Scrape down the side of the bowl periodically. Make sure all the chocolate is melted. It is not important to get all the air out.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a cool environment overnight to firm up. The next day when you are ready to base coat your cake, the ganache may be too firm. Microwave in 5 sec increments, stirring after each heating, until it is a thick smooth paste, similar to peanut butter.

Spread on cake with spatula. To make a really smooth surface, you can refrigerate the cake till ganache is firm then smooth with a hot spatula, (dipped in hot water and wiped dry.)

Left over ganache can be refrigerated for short periods or frozen and re-used. You may need to adjust the amount of cream to get the exact degree of firmness in your finished product that you desire. Less cream makes a firmer ganache shell.

I hope this helps you. It is incredibly easy and, for me, is the best way to cover a cake with deliciousness!


sberryp Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 6:36pm
post #13 of 17

I love The Mat, saved me a lot of grief of working with fondant.

Emmar308 Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 8:57pm
post #14 of 17

After taking your cake out of the fridge, and before applying your fondant, did you mist your buttercream coating with water? If you didn't you are trying to get dry fondant to adhere to dry buttercream, this would explain the stretching and hanging fondant.

neelycharmed Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 11:15pm
post #15 of 17
Originally Posted by TheNuge

Thank you so much for the great feedback! I have just ordered The Mat. It looks like an amazing product. (Too bad it won't get to me for another 4 to 6 weeks. I guess I'll just have to keep practicing over Christmas. In the meantime, I will use the Wilton plastic mat with greased parchment paper over top.

Thank you so much for the education!

Where did you order it from?
I got mine in 2 weeks icon_smile.gif
and Welcome to CC!

TheNuge Posted 25 Nov 2011 , 4:47am
post #16 of 17

Emmar308, thank you for the tip! In both cases of me covering cakes with fondant, I did not mist the buttercream. I will do that this time!

Neelycharmed, I bought it from Is that where you purchased your Mat? It's being sent by UPS, with an estimated arrival of 4-6 weeks. I'll be pleased if it arrives sooner!

Milkmaid42, thanks. I'm looking forward to trying the modified recipe!

SweetDelites Posted 25 Nov 2011 , 6:29am
post #17 of 17

THE NUGE: No , actually it didn't at all. Which i found odd because most of my others cakes that were not frozen did trap condensation.

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