The first time I saw a cake with fondant billowing I was amazed, intrigued and knew that I wanted to try it on a cake one day! The Cake Central Icing Images contest was the perfect opportunity to try out this beautiful technique.
You will need:
- a sharp knife or cutting wheel
- a pasta roller (not pictured) or rolling pin,
- small paintbrush
- a small cup of water
- gum glue or piping gel
Dust the work area with a little cornstarch and knead the fondant until pliable.
Roll the fondant to a #3 thinness setting with the pasta roller or rolling pin and cut into 2” squares.
Brush the right and left side with a tiny bit of water.
Begin to gather the sides in an accordion fold.
Pinch the ends together to seal.
Use your fingers to pull the fondant apart and “puff” the billow.
For all of the billows except the very top row, I fold the bottom edge under and leave the top edge flared out to give the fondant a little extra hold onto the cake.
I work with 7-8 squares at a time, cutting, accordion folding and puffing all of them. By the time I finish puffing the last of the eight, the first one is stiff enough to hold its shape onto the cake.
If you are working with very soft fondant, knead in a little tylose or just let them sit a little longer until they stiffen, but are not dry.
Brush the fondant covered cake and the underside of the billow with a little water or piping gel.
Gently, but firmly press it onto the side of the cake.
Attach the second billow with the pinched edges touching and continue around the cake until the first row is complete.
The second row of billows are attached in the space created by the meeting of the pinched edges to create an offset pattern.
After completing 2-3 rows, go back to fill in the spaces between the first row and the board. By this time, the first row should be very stiff but not completely inflexible. Cut a few 1” squares of fondant to make a smaller billow that will fit into the tiny space, poking them in using the end of the paintbrush.
Periodically check with a ruler to make sure the rows are aligned vertically, it is easy to get just a little off and the billows won’t look straight when all of the rows are complete.
To finish the top row, tuck both the top and bottom edges under the billow to attach them to the cake. Using the end of the paintbrush, push the edge down to the cake to make sure there is no gap between the cake and the backside of the billow.
For my Cake Central Icing Images cake, I finished the seams with white 6mm pearls that were attached using white royal icing.
You can use fondant circles, flowers, shapes or dragees to fill in the seams and change up the look of the billowing. I hope this has helped explain how to create this timeless effect and inspired you to try it on your own!