Ok guys, Ive searched some of the old posts, but I can't really tell if what I need to know is getting answered. I need some fondant advice. Im not making my own, because, well I just don't want to. So that out. I can keep my fondant from tearing, but at the top edge it seems to always get those little hairline cracks. I have kneaded, and kneaded till this stuff is almost sticky when its stretched or pulled. Is that the texture Im looking for before I put it on the cake. Ive read that those small cracks come from the fondant being too dry, but there is no way mine is to dry or not plyable. Is it because its Wilton? Is there anything I can do? Ive heard to heat it up a bit in the microwave? Do I just need to bite the bullit and go to Satin Ice? Thanks.
I haven't used the wilton brand before but for fondant in general it sounds like you are over kneading it, it wouldn't normally be that stretchy or sticky unless it was really hot that day or it was overkneaded. When it is overkneaded it can start to crack.
The best thing to do it let it rest for a while or if possible mix some fresh unkneaded fondant into it. Fondant can be a bit finicky in that it doesn't like to be kneaded too little or too much and it takes a while to get used to the right amount, it needs to be plyable and smooth without being really stretchy.
The other thing to be aware of is that you need to work reasonably quickly as it can dry in the air so roll it out and then put it straight on the cake and smooth it straight away, if you work it too long it can also crack.
I don't make my own fondant because, well I don't want to either, definitely out for me. That being said I have never used Wiltons so I don't know what it is like. One thing I have done to deal with dry fondant is to roughly smooth it out into a flatish ball, cover both the top and bottom surfaces, the bench and my hands with shortening and knead it in. Then use immediately.
As I said I have never used Wiltons so I don't know if being dry is it's normal way to be. I have used Satin Ice in the past and never had that problem. Is it the cost that is preventing you from changing over? If so, is the financial cost difference really worth the cost of the annoyance factor?
Joeyww12000....what brand of fondant are you using?
It is important to kneed you fondant right out of the bucket but over-kneeding is also bad.
If you have kneeded a batch and put it down for a while and find it has tightened up again, I usually zap mine for a few 5 second bursts to warm it up a bit then I do not have to over kneed.....I also do not use too much icing sugar or cornstarch as it is absorbed by the fondant and will dry it out ....just enough on the table to keep it from sticking (good quality fondant I find does not give this kind of trouble..... I also use a silicone mat which helps alot......if its getting too dry shortening helps bring it back....
Next question.....what is your base coat?.....jam? buttercream....ganache?.......In my experience the undercoat advises the thickness of the fondant I need to put on........between 1/8 to 1/4" thickness dependent on the undercoat and the shape of the cake.....If you roll it too thin.... as the fondant naturally stretches over the cake it will tear in the thin spots....also if you have a sharp edge like you get with say ganache as an undercoat....or styrofoam dummies... and your fondant is rolled too thin then it will cut......
I measure the general area of the cake to determine what size to roll out......for example a 3"thick 6" round would need a piece that is 3"(side) + 6"(top) + 3"(other side) then measure the perpendicular side...... which is 12"X12" piece.....a 3" tall rectangular cake 6x10 would be 3"+6"+3" x 3"+ 10" + 3" = 12"x 16"....this is important as if it is way much bigger than that ...the fondant hanging down over the side of the cake (if you are using a turntable) will pull and stretch the fondant and cause it to tear...I find that once I have the fondant on the cake and the top is fairly smoothe I eyeball and trim off the excess so as to prevent this....but if you measure then this is less of a problem.
Fondant is a finicky lady...it is as moody as the day you are using it.....controlling your cake area environment is also helpful.....never put a fan directly on you when doing fondant work......I am form the Caribbean and learned that lesson the hard way.....If you have aircondition I find it a good way to controll those issues.
The best fondant ever is Massa Ticino fondant....it is sent from the Gods but we hardly get it in Trinidad so I use Satin Ice.....I cannot compare as it is all I generally use and have built a good relationship with the lady (LOL)......
And all I can say is you cannot perfect a technique without preparation and practice.....do not fear failure....learn from it...then failure becomes your teacher :)
Pristine fondant is a wonderful foundation for any masterpiece......this project I did years ago was one of my best teachers....had to do the fondant over about 4 times....I prayed...I cried .... and I got up and tried again trying to overcome the issues and in the end I was able to endure :)
I hope this helps you :)
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I used mostly Wilton fondant so I say, use a very thin coating of shortening on your work surface to roll it out. Grease the surface, scrape over it w/a spatula, then maybe even wipe it lightly w/a paper towel - that's how thin the grease coating should be. As the others said, it sounds like you are over kneading it. Back off just a bit :) Sometimes I have had to work into the fondant a bit of shortening to get it the right consistency. Like maybe a teaspoon to a softball sized lump. I also worked in about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon flavoring. I don't know how important it is but I was taught to roll only in one direction - away from you. When you've done as much as you can that way, pick it up and turn the fondant rather than changing direction of your rolling. This also helps keep the fondant from sticking to the work area. And lastly, when the pieces is rolled as you want it, run your hand over it to see that it has been evenly been rolled - no high/thick spots - often at the edges. Creativeconfectioner had lots of good suggestions.