Rolling Out Fondant: Corn Starch Vs. Powdered Sugar

Decorating By BlueRoseCakes Updated 1 May 2007 , 9:30pm by superstar

BlueRoseCakes Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
BlueRoseCakes Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 7:56pm
post #1 of 23

I'm still a novice with fondant, and I'd like to know why it always says to use corn starch when rolling out fondant instead of powdered sugar. You use powdered sugar when you make it, so I would think that would be the one to use. I've tried both ways with MMF, and the corn starch made the fondant trimmings unreworkable. I didn't have a problem with the powdered sugar. Is it just regular fondant that you're suppose to use corn starch with? Did I use too much?

22 replies
playingwithsugar Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
playingwithsugar Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 7:58pm
post #2 of 23

I use neither - I prefer applying shortening to the rolling surface, if I use my board.

If I am rolling larger pieces, and use my board, I use my sheets of vinyl.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

JoAnnB Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
JoAnnB Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 8:02pm
post #3 of 23

I agree with playingwithsugar. Shortening is a much better choice. No powdery surface. If you use some kind of rollng mat, even better.

nannaraquel Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
nannaraquel Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 8:04pm
post #4 of 23

I had a lot of trouble with my mmf when I used cornstarch. I've tried powdered sugar, and it works well, but I also prefer shortening. icon_smile.gif

FatAndHappy Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
FatAndHappy Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 8:09pm
post #5 of 23

Shortening here too! No drying out and MUCH less cracking! Don't need to worry about thow to wipe off the white stuff too!

playingwithsugar Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
playingwithsugar Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 8:10pm
post #6 of 23

Right, JoannB!

It works very well for me, and I think that all newbies to rolled fondant should use shortening, too.

I have arthritis, and I can't do things too quickly on a lot of days. If I try rolling out fondant with PS or CS, it ends up drying out on the ends because I can't work with it fast enough.

Newbies won't exactly be speedy when working with it the first few times, so I highly recommend that anyone just learning how to work with any paste (fondants, gumpaste, pastillage) should start out using shortening to grease their surface and rolling pin, at least until they become more proficient with it.

When rolling large sheets of fondant to cover a cake, I use vinyl sheets, which has been so highly recommended here on CC. It protects the fondant from air drying it out, and it is clear, so it is easier to see what you are doing when positioning the fondant on the cake than if you use a silicone mat.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

angelas2babies Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
angelas2babies Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 8:13pm
post #7 of 23

I'm in the powdered sugar camp. icon_smile.gif I think cornstarch may be used because it's supposed to brush off easier and doesn't add any extra sweetness to the fondant, but I use a Silpat to roll out my fondant, and I use a little bit of powdered sugar to roll it out with.

Too much shortening will break down your fondant, and I don't want it to get too shiny, so I prefer the powdered sugar. I've never had a problem.


Joy2501 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Joy2501 Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 8:15pm
post #8 of 23

I had heard about the vinyl sheets before and went and bought some, but I am still strying to work out how to stop it from sticking to itself, and how to get the fold creases out. Any suggestions?

mcalhoun Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
mcalhoun Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 8:15pm
post #9 of 23

I finished a class not to long ago with a lady that was a founding member of ICES. I don't know if that makes her an expert but this is what we were told. First you should make a pouf with both ps and cs. To make your pouf all you have to do is get a new pair of white knee highs (Walmart has them in a clear little thing for under a dollar), then fill the foot part with either the ps or the cs and then wrap a rubber band to close off the hose then take and roll it like some people do with socks.

If you are rolling out fondant to make decorations for your cake you would dust your surface with your corn starch pouf. It only takes a little.

If you are rolling our fondant to cover your cake you should use your pouf with the powder sugar.

The reason you don't use corn starch for this is that cs has wheat products in it and can after a while produce a bacteria that could affect your cake. (this is what we were told I am not a science expert I just took it that she knew what she was talking about). The reason you don't always use ps is that it dries your fondant more than the cs. Of course if your fondant needs it you can always add some shortning to it.

I don't know all there is to know about this I just am repeating what I was told. I hope it helps some.


carrielynnfields Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
carrielynnfields Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 8:18pm
post #10 of 23

Where do you get the vinyl sheets and when rolling out big circles of fondant, for larger cakes, where do you roll it? The counter isn't big enough I would think.

Dustbunny Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Dustbunny Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 8:18pm
post #11 of 23

Shortening & occassionally powdered sugar for me. I love the silpat mat, it makes a world of difference too icon_smile.gif

playingwithsugar Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
playingwithsugar Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 8:22pm
post #12 of 23

When I bought mine, I specifically told them not to fold it, for that very reason - creases. It took her longer, which I am sure she wasn't happy about, but I insisted that it be rolled up instead.

I kept the paper that was in between the vinyl at the store, and replace it when the vinyl is not in use.

Also, if you go to a fabric store instead of Wal-Mart, they should be able to provide you with a cardboard tube that is long enough to roll it back up on.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

carrielynnfields Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
carrielynnfields Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 8:27pm
post #13 of 23

so is there a specific kind of vinyl or do you just go to the fabric store and say hey I need a yard of vinyl?

playingwithsugar Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
playingwithsugar Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 8:33pm
post #14 of 23

The paper in between the vinyl is color coded, so you have to ask which is which at the store.

The first time I bought vinyl, I went to Joann Fabrics, and got the softer stuff. Big mistake - I ended up washing it and using it on the windows that winter.

Next I bought it at Wal-Mart, and asked which was the heaviest gauge they had (they sell 4 different types). I bought the stiffest they had, which was the pink papered one. It's a little bit more stiffer to handle, but in the long run, it worked better for me than the lighter gauge vinyl.

It's not very expensive, so to experiment with the different thicknesses until you find which one works for you is not going to break the bank account.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

carrielynnfields Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
carrielynnfields Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 11:04pm
post #15 of 23

Cool, Thanks! I will check it out! I really appreciate the help!

peacockplace Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
peacockplace Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 11:16pm
post #16 of 23

I use a vinyl mat and cornstarch. It rolls out quickly and easily. Too much shortening can mess things up. I learned that lesson the hard way. thumbsdown.gif

Aly24 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Aly24 Posted 27 Apr 2007 , 11:50pm
post #17 of 23

hmm..although Im very interested in the vinyl, right now I use cornstarch. The first time I worked with fondant I used powered sugar and it was horrible! It stuck to the mat and ruined most of my decorations icon_sad.gif Then I got smart and used cornstarch and I worked great. I havent had a problem since

TexasSugar Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
TexasSugar Posted 28 Apr 2007 , 12:01am
post #18 of 23

Using cornstrach vs powder sugar is like butter vs crisco or scratch vs mix. What works for some doesn't always work the same for others. I say do what works best for you. If powder sugar works for you then don't change that just to do cornstrach cause others say it is better.

Now I like rolling mine out on crisco, so you can pick the mat up and flip it all on the cake with out having to worry about sticking my nails in it. icon_smile.gif And so you aren't having to pick up the fondant and move it out to make sure it isn't sticking.

I do use powder sugar if I am rolling small amounts out for cut outs and things, but for covering cakes it is crisco.

BlueRoseCakes Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
BlueRoseCakes Posted 1 May 2007 , 3:03pm
post #19 of 23

Thanks to everyone for all of the helpful hints!

Housemouse Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Housemouse Posted 1 May 2007 , 5:01pm
post #20 of 23

Don't quote me on this... but I believe the reason why cornflour is not usually recommended is that it can ferment and cause all manner of problems between the cake and the fondant!! (re reply posted by Ms Calhoun?). In the UK we tend only to roll out on icing sugar. If you have sufficient(ie not too much and not too little) then your fondant should not stick nor should it become too dry and difficult to work with ... I don't know about mmf but I should think the same applies... just my thoughts on the matter.

Edited to add (and because I've been enjoying a glass of wine this evening..and forgot to say) here in the UK (where we still use a fair few fruit cake bases) maybe there is the potential for there to be more problems using cornflour as the cake are not being covered for very immediate consumption.. if this makes sense.

JavaJunkieChrissy Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
JavaJunkieChrissy Posted 1 May 2007 , 6:28pm
post #21 of 23

I use shortening when I roll out my gumpaste.

When I'm working with it and frilling the edges I usually put a little cornstarch on my foam so it doesn't stick

ShirleyW Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
ShirleyW Posted 1 May 2007 , 7:19pm
post #22 of 23

I don't use either cornstarch or powdered sugar. I use a large Roulpat silicone mat, lightly grease with shortening and wiped off with a dry paper towel. I roll the fondant, slide a large 18" round cardboard cake circle under the Roulpat mat, lay a second cake 18" cardboard that has been dusted lightly with powdered sugar on top of the fondant and flip the whole thing over. Peel away the Roulpat, lay another dusted 18" cardboard circle on top and flip again. Then I slide the fondant off the cardboard circle and onto the cake. I know this sounds like a lot of steps but it works very well. The reason I do the double flipping is because when you roll fondant the underside gets shiny. If you just flip the mat over the cake and peel away you end up with the shiny side up. I prefer the matte side up, so I do a second flip. Sliding the fondant off the cardboard round works very well too.

superstar Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
superstar Posted 1 May 2007 , 9:30pm
post #23 of 23

Dear Shirley,
It would be wonderful if you would do a tutorial on the method you use. Also where do you buy these mats? Thanks Shirley.

Quote by @%username% on %date%