Cracking & Tearing Fondant (please help!)

Decorating By MustangMollie Updated 5 Sep 2013 , 12:32am by BatterUpCake

MustangMollie Posted 3 Sep 2013 , 11:57pm
post #1 of 24

I've decorated my first three fondant cakes over the last week. I'm just a hobbyist, but I'd still like my cakes to look professional. I keep having issues with my fondant tearing and cracking. I've watched a Martha Stewart YouTube video and I've watched the Fondant Basics course on Craftsy so you'd think I'd be able to get it right, but I've had issues with all three cakes. What could be going wrong???


Am I using too much buttercream? I've been doing a BC crumb coat then applying a second layer and letting that set too, the applying fondant.


Am I rolling out the fondant too thin? What the ideal thickness?


I read somewhere to apply piping gel to the set BC before applying fondant. Could this be the problem? 



Here are pictures of my first three cakes, in case it's helpful in diagnosing the problem. Thanks in advance for you thoughts :)





P.S. I'm obviously still working on my piping skills. The freehand curly swirly is harder than it looks! And it probably doesn't help that my baby cries whenever I start piping.

23 replies
RebecaR Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 3:12am
post #2 of 24

Hello MustangMollie, your fondant cakes are beautiful.:)

manicgeisha Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 3:48am
post #3 of 24

What kind of fondant are you using?

When I finally felt like I had gotten the hang of covering cakes in fondant, I bought fondant that must`ve been old...I have no idea, bad batch maybe.   Anyway, it was kind of hard at the edges but that happens so I used it anyway  :-(

CakeDays Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 5:34am
post #4 of 24

What kind of fondant are you using? 

If it doesn't already have glycerine in the recipe you could add a bit for elasticity. I just went and brought some to day for the exact problem you are talking about.

jennicake Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 5:39am
post #5 of 24

Are you coloring your fondant or buying precolored?  I find that whenever I need to add a lot of coloring (to make dark or really bright colors) it breaks my fondant and I get a TON of tearing.  You have some really bright colors in your pictures, so that might be the problem.

MustangMollie Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 10:03am
post #6 of 24

Thanks Rebeca :) 


I'm in Australia so I don't have access to shortening, but I'll try adding glycerine like Cake Days suggested. Hopefully that will do the trick!

MustangMollie Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 10:14am
post #7 of 24

Hi ManicGeisha, I've used Satin Ice, Fondarific, and Pettinice (I included a picture below, I haven't heard Pattinice mentioned on Cake Central, so not sure if it's an Aussie thing). I only used a tiny bid of the Fondarific so I can't really comment on it. Unfortunately I bought a lot of Satin Ice, but it's my least favourite. I seem to have the most problems with Satin Ice. When I asked the guy working at the sugar art store today about it he said that I'm probably over-kneading it as Satin Ice is very easy to over-knead. Pettinice seems the most forgiving and the guy at the store today said you can't really over knead it. It feels soft straight out of the package. I'll probably mostly use this brand from now on, though my local shop doesn't stock it in white (they may their own).




What kind of fondant are you using?

When I finally felt like I had gotten the hang of covering cakes in fondant, I bought fondant that must`ve been old...I have no idea, bad batch maybe.   Anyway, it was kind of hard at the edges but that happens so I used it anyway  :-(   It was such a mess!    Of course, where I live I can`t just go to the store and buy more.    I kneaded in a bunch of shortening which improved it some but it still was really hard to use.  I`ve consoled myself that at least the cracks aren`t visible in photos- I can`t really notice any in the pics you posted either!

MustangMollie Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 10:20am
post #8 of 24

Hi Cake Days, thanks for suggesting glycerine. I'll definitely try that!


If you're ever in Adelaide, Dave at Caroline's is SUPER nice and helpful. I bought some more fondant and a couple of tools and he answered my questions for 10 minutes! He knows that I'm a total newbie so he asked what I was planning to do with each of the tools and he suggested better tools for the task where appropriate. He also suggested I practice with some cake dummies so that will me my project for the week. I'm so excited to practice!!!

MustangMollie Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 10:22am
post #9 of 24

Oh and Dave from Caroline's also suggested starting on cakes that aren't as tall (i.e. as many layers). He said the taller the cake, the more the fondant will pull and risk tearing. My first cake was 2 layers and I had the least issues with the fondant on this one. My 2nd and 3rd were pretty tall and 3 layers, which is I guess a bit out of my league at the moment ;)

MustangMollie Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 10:35am
post #10 of 24



The first cake (the pinkish one) I coloured white fondant with gel colours. The other two I just used coloured fondant straight out of the package. For the next (dummy) cake I decorate, I'm going to mix coloured fondant together to create the colour that I want. 


Thanks so much for pointing out that using a lot of food colouring can cause issues!

BatterUpCake Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 10:36am
post #11 of 24

So glad to hear you say that about Pettinice. I just bought a 15# bucket. It doesn't seem lie a lot of folks on hereuse it but those that I have asked haven't really said anything bad about it.

MustangMollie Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 10:48am
post #12 of 24

I wonder why more folks don't use Pettinice. It's my fav of the 3 by far!

Jenny BakesAlot Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 11:37am
post #13 of 24

As stated, the more color used in the fondant, the more chances of it tearing and cracking, especially the rose pink (Wilton), red, and black.  That rose pink is a nightmare for me every time I use it!  Adding the color to your melted marshmallows or whatever you use rather than your finished product should help some.  So many people have mentioned using crisco to help it, but I find that does not help at all.  Actually, I think it does more damage.  It softens it, but I think it takes away from the elasticity.

imagenthatnj Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 12:51pm
post #15 of 24

AHey MustangMollie, I remember your name from the craftsy Colette Peters class. You can get shortening in Australia. I left an answer for you there with 3 websites you can order from.

imagenthatnj Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 1:01pm
post #16 of 24

APettinice is from New Zealand. A lot of people use it there. I think it's sold at supermarkets. I've used it, it's really nice. I once bought most fondants in the store to try them all at the same time. I had no problems with Satin Ice, though. I also made my own fondant to check it against commercial fondant. And the flavor I liked the most was the Choco-Pan one. It was also very pliable, I guess because it has chocolate in it.

Massa Ticino, the really expensive fondant, is supposed to be a dream to work with.

imagenthatnj Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 1:04pm
post #17 of 24


MustangMollie Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 1:48pm
post #18 of 24

I agree BatterUpCake! Satin Ice is yummy!

MustangMollie Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 2:53pm
post #19 of 24

Thanks for all the info imaginethatnj! I haven't checked the Craftsy course page in a few days, but I'll check there in the morning. Thanks so much for letting me know that I can get shortening here. YAY :)

MustangMollie Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 3:22pm
post #20 of 24

I bought a dummy cake today and had a go at doing just the fondant. I'm going to just keep practicing until I get it down. Overall, it was the best that I've done so far. There were some cracking areas ... maybe it's elephant skin and not actual cracking??? There was also one tear at the top edge of the cake. 


Here are some photos. I think I rolled it a little too thin. How do you know how much fondant you need for a certain size cake? I also forgot to put piping gel or water on the dummy to get the fondant to stick (oops!). Any thoughts on what I'm doing wrong would be greatly appreciated.


As a side note, I'm going to try creating the colours that I want by mixing different quantities of pre-dyed fondant so that it's easier to replicate. I haven't found a consistent method of reproducing exact colours using food colour gels. I'm really happy with the peach that I came up with tonight. Here's the "recipe" if anyone is interested:

29g orange (Pettinice)

38g yellow (Pettinice)

87g pink (Pettinice)

453g white (350g satin ice and 103g store brand)



 < -- elephant skin on bottom right?


 <-- tear on top edge

jennicake Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 4:16pm
post #21 of 24

ASometimes the edges of the dummies are a bit too sharp for the fondant. Rub the edges with your fondant smoother or a piece of fine sandpaper before you cover them. That should help prevent tearing on the top edge.

I also tend to roll my fondant a little thicker for dummies than I would for cake. It might just be the dummies I buy, but I feel like the sides are a little ridged sometimes and with thicker fondant I get less tearing and totally smooth sides.

For the elephant skin on the bottom, elevate your dummy before you trim the bottom edge off. Then you can get a really clean edge :)

CakeDays Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 10:22pm
post #22 of 24

Thanks for the info on Caroline's, I will have to visit if I am ever in the area. 

With my dummies I sanded the edge a bit and I also got my smoother and went over the edge to kind of compact it down. They still have a nice edge, but don't tear through the fondant any more. 


icer101 Posted 4 Sep 2013 , 11:15pm
post #23 of 24

Pettinice fondant is really delicious. Jennifer Dontz(c/cer) has a dvd using it, along with modeling chocolate. It is a great dvd!!!!

BatterUpCake Posted 5 Sep 2013 , 12:32am
post #24 of 24

I just pulled some of the Pettinice out to play with it. It smelled and felt really good. I formed a peacock body but of course it was too soft to hold the neck up. But it was really easy to smooth creases out. I am excited to work with it. Not at all sticky like SI and much more pliable than my MMF...I want to do a dummy pillow cake, wedding cake with flowers and a white, gold and silver cake with a pearl white peacock on top...

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