Fondant Smoother Troubleshooting

Decorating By SandraDee73 Updated 14 Jun 2016 , 5:00pm by jgifford

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SandraDee73 Posted 16 Apr 2015 , 7:25pm
post #1 of 24

The last few times I covered a cake with fondant, it seemed like the smoother kept getting "stuck" on the top.

I attempted to put a bit of powdered sugar/corn starch on the smoother, but then I was left with white all over the top.

Then when I tried to get the powder off the fondant with a damp paper towel I ended up with a shiny spot! (and I should have know better)

Any suggestions on how to have the smoother behave..well...smoothly?


23 replies
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SandraDee73 Posted 16 Apr 2015 , 9:31pm
post #2 of 24

So I'm the only one this has ever happened to?

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yortma Posted 16 Apr 2015 , 9:57pm
post #3 of 24

I use a relatively non sticky fondant, and do the initial attaching/smoothing with my hands.  Then finish up with the smoother.  If it sticks, I let it dry for a few minutes until it isn't sticking.

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SandraDee73 Posted 16 Apr 2015 , 10:17pm
post #4 of 24

Ah...thank you Yortma 

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MBalaska Posted 16 Apr 2015 , 10:25pm
post #5 of 24

Before you put anything wet on the fondant try to get the powdered sugar/cornstarch off, try gently brushing it off with a soft brush, or even a light wave of a soft cloth.

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SandraDee73 Posted 16 Apr 2015 , 10:39pm
post #6 of 24

Good point MBalaska. Thanks for your input!

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Ellie Sunshine Posted 16 Apr 2015 , 11:03pm
post #7 of 24

If your cake was cold or refrigerated when you put the fondant on that may be the reason why the smoother stuck. I always have mine at room temperature to stop this from happening. 

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-K8memphis Posted 16 Apr 2015 , 11:20pm
post #8 of 24

in addition to using the smoother i like to take a small smooth blob of fondant and use it to buff the cake -- can get out a few stray marks that way

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cheatize Posted 19 Apr 2015 , 2:20am
post #9 of 24

I use a soft brush to whisk away the majority of it. If there's still some there, I put Everclear (vodka) in my airbrush and lightly spray over the entire cake to get rid of the rest. Dark colors in particular seem to need the vodka treatment.

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gfbaby Posted 6 Jun 2016 , 5:23pm
post #10 of 24

Ok. So I'm here cos I'm fed up with my smoother sticking to my fondant. I got directed here so someone help please...

My cake was room temp; my fondant is terrific stuff and it's great weather...and STILL my smoother (I have two and both do it..) sticks and causes me grief. Today I did four cakes and it happened every ******** time. I've not changed my fondant but I did flavour two of the batches with oils..but it happened with the unflavoured one too so it couldn't be that. I'm stumped. I've found an Aussie lady who uses a lump of fondant as a smoother and I shall give that a go next time but I'm still a bit curious why my smoothers are not smoothing... I've checked everything- washing up liquid, surfaces, humidity... what I need is a trick to get round this. Leaving fondant to dry a bit doesn't sound too great an idea..I'm always worried it'll tear or crust (me being paranoid) - does that work? Today I was working on one of the cakes for ages and it still was sticking...  My fondant is on well set ganache by the way.

I don't like using powder of any kind; it marks the cake whatever you use to get it off. Try lustring a cornflour smoothed cake... it doesn't adhere to patches and looks really scrappy. 

If anyone has any bright ideas...? Also - how to get my avatar round the right way...?

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kakeladi Posted 6 Jun 2016 , 8:51pm
post #11 of 24

I'm really have no help to give except to say your avatar looks good to me.  And.......sorry you are having such a troublesome time.

I think the idea of using a ball of fondant might do the trick.  The times I've used my smoothers they worked just fine.  Just a few ideas:  Could the people making the fondant have changed something?  Some little ingredients or amount could throw off  the whole batch.  Have all the times this has happened been from the same batch of fondant?  Just throwing out a few things to think about.........

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-K8memphis Posted 6 Jun 2016 , 9:10pm
post #12 of 24

you simply remove the cornstarch before you luster dust -- it's a process -- i mean -- to be frank -- the reason you are having this difficulty is because, "I don't like using powder of any kind" -- you don't want the problem or the fix ?

put some cornflour on your paddles, not necessarily on the cake -- 

what are you using to remove the cornflour that mars the cake?

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Jinkies Posted 6 Jun 2016 , 9:32pm
post #13 of 24

When my cake is sticky, I dust it generously with either cornflour or powdered sugar and smooth away.  I use a pastry brush to brush away any excess powder and I've never delivered a dusty cake.  In fact, if it's that humid and sticky, the powder just sort of dissolves anyway.  But, you can simply get a steamer (like the little ones for clothes-they are fairy cheap) and run that quickly and sparingly over the cake.  It will take care of any powder left on there without leaving any weird shiny spots once it dries. The whole cake will be shiny at first.

I have that issue a lot because New England can get very humid in the summer, even with the a/c on, it's a hassle.

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Creativeconfectioner Posted 6 Jun 2016 , 9:58pm
post #14 of 24

Here is my 2 cents.......I have not dealt with alot of sticking when smoothing but from time to time there is friction so instead of putting the cornstarch on the fondant directly I put it into a stocking and make a puff (for want of a better word.....I rub the smoother on the "puff"....not alot of cornstarch is imparted....I also work in an air conditioned environment it helps keep the fondant happy :)

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gfbaby Posted 7 Jun 2016 , 6:28am
post #15 of 24

Many thanks for ALL these splendid replies! 

I DO use cornflour..and i DO dust it off..but I found it marked the cake so I don't lustre any more cos it looks a bit tattyand patchy. I have a steamer and use it sparingly so as not to get any colour runs. I use a homemade cornflour 'puff' to apply it and brush it off with a very soft brush then with a soft muslin. And the smoothers still stick. This is why I can't see what I'm doing wrong..? 

I'm gonna go with the suggestion that the fondant recipe has been altered and make some tentative enquiries down that route. But saying that- I really like working with it, it's lovely stuff -and tastes ok; I'd like to just get around this issue. I did try making my own fondant...I'm still cleaning the 'snow' from my entire house....and it wasn't (on the umpteenth attempt) as workable as I'd have liked so I threw in the towel and saved myself the time by buying it. I can't go with marshmallow fondant which looks easy and delicious, as I'm vegetarian and my cakes are all glutenfree so the gelatin is an issue. (I never managed to get agar to work..) I'll look into whether they've changed the recipe in any way.

In the meantime, I'll go with the lump of fondant methinks. It sounds (and looks on YouTube) like a goer but many thanks for all your replies and kind help. I do so love this site!

As for my avatar... the first one I loaded was of a Discworld 'Death' cake and it loaded sideways and wouldn't budge. I tried to replace it and eventually gave up..but now I see the site has finally caught up with my replacement request! Panic over.

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-K8memphis Posted 7 Jun 2016 , 12:34pm
post #16 of 24

are you kneading your fondant a good deal right before rolling it out? 

kneading it enough but not too much -- i've heard 50 times is sufficient as a typical guide -- i just knead it till it's all warm & happy & harmonious

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-K8memphis Posted 7 Jun 2016 , 12:37pm
post #17 of 24

is your rolling surface perfectly smooth -- is the fondant stretching differently in spots  -- your issue is baffling otherwise

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SandraDee73 Posted 7 Jun 2016 , 1:19pm
post #18 of 24

I use my hands as much as I can before I switch to the smoother now. I sprinkle the cornstarch/powdered sugar into my hands and rub it around the cake if it's sticking to my smoother. Comes right off with the blob of extra fondant.

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gfbaby Posted 7 Jun 2016 , 4:30pm
post #19 of 24

Many thanks for your ideas and replies. I've given this some more thought and come up with another thing I changed about the time this started happening come to think about it... I started using silicone mats. With no powder. They are great and work a treat..but my fondant is a bit on the sticky side going onto the cake. Think I may have solved my own mystery..!! 

And now I want to know if anyone else has experienced this? Maybe I should lightly dust my mats..? What dya think??

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-K8memphis Posted 7 Jun 2016 , 8:14pm
post #20 of 24

lightly grease with a solid fat -- we call it shortening

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gfbaby Posted 7 Jun 2016 , 8:26pm
post #21 of 24

Quote by @-K8memphis on 1 minute ago

lightly grease with a solid fat -- we call it shortening

Yeah- I DO that. We have the same kind of  stuff only its called Trex in the  uk. I've done  both ways with and without - and only used it very sparingly but I think it may be a combination of silicone mat Trex and perhaps upgraded fondant recipe? I am not a huge fan of fondant at the best of times and prefer ganache or SMBC but sometimes it's just gotta be done... Next time I'll try a lump of fondant and leave an update how it goes.. Uh.. this weekend is my next fondant adventure! Wish me luck! :-)

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-K8memphis Posted 7 Jun 2016 , 8:33pm
post #22 of 24

best to you, gfbaby!

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gfbaby Posted 13 Jun 2016 , 7:56am
post #23 of 24

Ok. Update as promised. 

I've just (delayed due to unforeseen circumstances) put light green fondant on a 4" high, 8" round three layered fudge cake. I used only one layer of my mat and cornfloured it then lifted by hand, the rolled fondant over the cake rather than tip it off the silicon and have the smooth side up. I got it onto the ganached cake no problem and it felt much drier so I hit it with my smoother... Same problem. Kept sticking. Less- but still sticking. I powdered the thing and still wasn't feeling the good vibes so I tried a lump of powdered fondant. Guess what. That kinda tried to stick too. 

It's the fondant. I need to contact the supplier. Shame. I really rate the stuff. Now I gotta find a replacement. 

In the meantime, I have to say- I definitely love the lump of fondant. It works beautifully and takes out the bumps so well! Brilliant idea and well done to whoever came up with THAT one- just wish I'd found out about it years ago! 

Thank you to all who tried to help- hope others have gleaned something useful from this post! 

Peace out :-)

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jgifford Posted 14 Jun 2016 , 5:00pm
post #24 of 24

I've been thinking about this. Maybe it's your smoother? Is it possible it's just worn and lost its slick finish? 

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