Fondant Troubles...

Decorating By kellyd01 Updated 25 Jun 2012 , 1:15pm by MKC

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kellyd01 Posted 13 Jun 2012 , 5:53am
post #1 of 21

Ok, I made my 3rd fondant covered cake this past weekend. To me it was a wreck! Everyone raved but I'm having trouble believing them because all I saw were the problems! Does anyone have anymore tips, because I'm have trouble getting the hang of this and I'm doing my sons b-day cake this weekend and would really like it to look great!

When smoothing the sides they look great about 1/2 way down... and then it just seems like no matter how much fluffing out I do while smoothing the bottom 1/2 has places where the fondant folds over itself and bunches and I can't get it to stay smooth to avoid these problems.

I also use a crusting buttercream if the cake is going to be in a warm place, and I'm having trouble getting the icing to stick to the cake... should i be doing something to the cake before laying the fondant on to help it stick?


20 replies
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EvMarie Posted 13 Jun 2012 , 6:21am
post #2 of 21

I'm a fondant beginner so, I understand your struggles...

I don't have much advice about the stretching/working the bottoms of your cakes. But, for the short term have you considered trying to roll a piece around the sides and then a separate piece on the top? I've seen this before & it looks really sharp if done right. You could always trim with an exacto knife if you need to.

As far as getting the fondant to stick...I've heard a light mist of water works. BUTTTTT, like I said - I'm a beginner. Oh - I also learned that ganache on a cake...under fondant allows for super sharp edges when you lay fondant the normal way.

I hope you get some real help. Good Luck.

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shellw72 Posted 13 Jun 2012 , 9:07am
post #3 of 21

The best way is just practice! I'm a relative newbie too although have done quite a few fondant covered and tiered cakes now. You certainly get to know the 'tricks' ' the more you do it. Round cakes are usually easier to cover than square so start with perfecting these. Also, putting your cake onto a turn table if you haven't already can help too. Maybe invest in a couple of cake dummies so you can practice covering these - I prefer to do real cake though. Ganache does give nice sharp edges but you can get a good finish with buttercream under fondant too. There are some good clips on YouTube that show you how to get a good finish using two cake smoothers to get nice, clean edges too. Good luck icon_smile.gif

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Claire138 Posted 13 Jun 2012 , 10:47am
post #4 of 21

Practice, practice, practice. I know it's hard, it took me forever to learn how to do it properly and to be honest I sometimes still have trouble but the more you do it the easier and more professional it will look.

good luck!

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noosalucy Posted 13 Jun 2012 , 11:31am
post #5 of 21

When using a buttercream base I don't let it crust before applying the fondant. I kneed and get my fondant ready, then coat the cake with the buttercream, then roll out and apply the fondant straight away.

I live in a very warm area but still use ganache coating very regularly you just have to adjust the recipe to the temperature/humidity and make a farily stiff ganache (eg. in the middle of our hot humid summer I use a 2.5:1 choc:cream ratio, and winter this can come down to 13.8:1 ) which is warmed very slightly in the microwave to a nice texture for applying to the cake.

Regarding getting the fondant on the cake without folds and bunches around the bottom, as everyone says this really is just a matter of practice. However, I always find it is much easier to avoid this if you ensure you have rolled out enough icing so that when you put it over the cake it comes down well past the sides - not just to the bottom. I have my cake on a turntable and lean over working on the far side of the cake, gently tease and turn out the excess fondant out so that it horizontal (as in lying flat across the cake board) before pressing the bottom edge gently onto the and then slowly turn the cake continuing to tease and turn out the bottom edge of the fondant and press the fondant to the sides of the cake once you can see it is sitting well with no folds.

I hope that makes sense.

Enjoy all your cakes and your practice, and remember you will always see the flaws no matter how experienced you get!! I know I do.

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jenscreativity Posted 13 Jun 2012 , 11:55am
post #6 of 21

Practice, practice, practice is the key...Always roll fondant out few more inches from cake so you can work out those edges on bottom..I learned that works really good and takes that away..Mist bottom edge with water or put a very thin layer of piping gel on bottom edge for sticking to cake.

I've been doing this for years now and will always see flaws no matter what. Others don't see it and that is a good feeling,,but like stated before,,you will always see flaws somewhere.

Good luck!

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kakeladi Posted 13 Jun 2012 , 7:21pm
post #7 of 21

......use a crusting buttercream if the cake is going to be in a warm place, and I'm having trouble getting the icing to stick to the cake...

As has been said, do NOT let your b'cream crust before applying the fondant over it. You want a creamy b'cream (rather than stiff, dry) so you might want to increase the fat - not the liquid to thin it.

Re: fondant not smoothing.........has you tried elevating the cake? If you put it on something so it is off the table, the fondant will naturally hang straight down w/o wrinkles. You need to have a slightly thicker fondant so it does not pull down & tear but many have found this method works...oh, and you need to work fast to cut off any overhang that is below the cake board.

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kellyd01 Posted 14 Jun 2012 , 1:27am
post #8 of 21

Thank you everyone for the tips! This weekends cake will be indoors, so I'm going to do my SMBC and see how much easier that is icon_smile.gif LOL I'm hoping it goes better. This weekends cake is incredibly labor intensive and if my fondant looks like garbage I'm going to be one cranky cake decorator! lol

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EvMarie Posted 14 Jun 2012 , 5:34am
post #9 of 21

If I may....I don't want to hijack...but:

(1) If you put the fondant on before the BC crusts do you compromise the sharp top edge?

(2) Is the logic that you can sort of reshape that top edge with the two fondant smoother method?

(3) Maybe I'm confused...I just assumed you applied buttercream in the same amounts & methods as if you were leaving it JUST buttercream. Let it get set..chill so the butter in the buttercream firms up - NOW, apply fondant with a water mist. Is this right at all?

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noosalucy Posted 14 Jun 2012 , 11:01am
post #10 of 21

There are honestly many ways to fondant cover a cake. If you are wanting a fairly thick layer of buttercream coating on the cake under your fondant, then yes you definitely need that to firm up before applying the fondant, which will of course mean it will crust and it would need spraying. If you use this method you don't want to work the fondant too much when smoothing because buttercream doesn't firm up that much and can "smoosh" around a bit if you have a heavy hand.

Personally I only apply a fairly thin coating of buttercream. I have a sharp top edge as I use the cake upside down, and I apply my fondant immediately after coating the cake.

There isn't one right method, if your cake looks good and tastes good - then I'd say your method is just fine!

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EvMarie Posted 14 Jun 2012 , 3:11pm
post #11 of 21

Thanks for the reply. So, I'll try it both ways. Maybe one way will work out better - icon_smile.gif!

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dchinda Posted 14 Jun 2012 , 3:28pm
post #12 of 21

I would highly recommend watching Sweetwise's fondant video online. She shows you how to cover a cake in fondant quickly & very smooth. I also use "The Mat" to roll out my fondant which helps tremendously! I use a crusting BC & also flash freeze my cake for about 10-15 mintues so my BC won't smoosh under my fondant. I usually don't even need to spray my cake to make the fondant stick, I just start smoothing with my warm hands & it will start to stick. Just like the other posts said, Practice, Practice, Practice! I used to dread covering my cakes in fondant & now I prefer it over BC.

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EvMarie Posted 14 Jun 2012 , 3:35pm
post #13 of 21

thanks for the video tip...will do.

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costumeczar Posted 20 Jun 2012 , 2:34am
post #14 of 21

You might also want to ask your clients if they want the sharp edge or a rounder one. When I check with my wedding clients 9 out of 10 do NOT want a sharp edge on the fondant. That might be something regional or it might be that we decorators think that the sharp edge is more appealing than "normal" people do. icon_smile.gif

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EvMarie Posted 20 Jun 2012 , 4:14am
post #15 of 21

Oh boy - I just figured sharp edge = neat execution. Interesting. I'd like to be able to try some different decorating techniques is all. It seems some things are easier with fondant as a base.

I'm searching for my decorating style, now that I feel I'm closing in on the smooth buttercream stage. icon_wink.gif

Thanks for the info - and thanks to the op. That 1/2 way down IS in fact the turning point. I guess it's just practice...I'm right beside ya in that same boat!

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noosalucy Posted 20 Jun 2012 , 4:22am
post #16 of 21

I totally agree on the sharp edge comment. From my queries its seems the general public prefers rounded edges. Maybe Cake decorators think it displays more skill to have sharp edges (which is of course true) and that's why many like it. I personally prefer rounded edges - whilst we are making a work of art it is still a cake and not a box we're decorating and I think rounded edges look much nicer (unless of course you're doing a shoe box or something!!).

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costumeczar Posted 20 Jun 2012 , 11:10am
post #17 of 21

It's worth asking the client which they prefer. The rounded edges were the norm until they started showing a lot of dummy styrofoam cakes in magazines, then decorators seemed to start thinking that the sharp edges were better. Of course you can get a sharp edge on styrofoam,no problem, haha! But I did find it interesting when I ask people which one they want, they generally don't want that really sharp edge. Some do, some don't, sometimes it depends on the cake design.

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nanefy Posted 21 Jun 2012 , 4:01pm
post #18 of 21

I think sharp edges rock! Not everyone can pull them off, but when done right they look amazing and my customers agree icon_smile.gif

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megan_in_pink Posted 25 Jun 2012 , 12:42pm
post #19 of 21

Ok, So I am super new to this fondant thing. ButIi have to make cake for birhday party in the middle of July. SInce it going sit in the sun for most of the party, should swtich to usineg a crusting butter cream and frezze the spray with watter?

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MKC Posted 25 Jun 2012 , 1:09pm
post #20 of 21

I also use the technique described by kakeladi. Here's a video:

It makes it so much easier.

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MKC Posted 25 Jun 2012 , 1:15pm
post #21 of 21

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