With the large number of recipes and techniques available for cake decorating, you might wonder which type of fondant you should use. There are three main forms of fondant used in decorating, each with a different purpose.
Rolled fondant is likely the most commonly used form of fondant. Roll it out similar to a sugar cookie dough or pie pastry, and then use it for covering entire cakes. You can use fondant tools to create patterns, shapes, and flowers to add to your cakes.
A rolled fondant icing starts out soft, but it firms as it dries. Unlike gum paste, however, it will not become brittle or completely hard. Depending on the fondant recipe used, it may have a matte or shiny finish.
Improving Fondant's Flavor
Add flavorings, like vanilla, almond or butter, to plain fondant for a more tasty rolled fondant. If you like the flavor of buttercream frosting, try making a fondant with the same flavors. Rolled marshmallow fondant recipes are popular and easy to make.
Tinting rolled fondant is easy. Use a gel, paste or powdered color of your choice, and knead it into the fondant. Stop kneading just before the color is totally even for a marbled look to your fondant icing.
Pourable fondant has a shiny, glaze-like consistency, similar to ganache. It is poured over a cake in a liquid form, spreading itself with no spatula or rolling required. It will set up to a shiny, somewhat firm surface.
Dip entire cupcakes, petit fours or even cookies into pourable fondant for a smooth, even surface. Follow these fondant icing directions when dipping:
- Line cookie pans with parchment paper.
- Place wire cooling racks on top of the pans.
- Keeping the pourable fondant warm (or to the recipe's recommended temperature), dip the petit four or cupcake into the fondant until it is submerged.
- Pull the petit four out of the fondant, and allow the excess fondant to drip off the cake piece.
- Gently place the cakes on top of the wire cooling rack until the fondant has dried.
- After the petit fours have dried, throw away the parchment paper with drippings for easy cleanup.
Sculpting fondant, such as modeling marshmallow fondant, is a thick fondant used for making models and other figures. It is thicker, heavier and more durable than the other types of fondant.
Working with fondant for sculpting is somewhat similar to using gum paste or modeling chocolate, although it's not exactly the same. Make flowers, rope or braided borders and other figures with sculpting fondant. Although most sculpting fondant recipes are edible, they usually do not taste very good.
Tips for Working With Fondant
Although you're now aware of the different types of fondant, you still may not feel confident working with them all. Try out different recipes before you find one that works the best in your kitchen and tastes the best on your cakes.
Other tips for working with the various types of fondant include:
- Store fondant frostings in a cool but dry place in an airtight container.
- The refrigerator is usually not an ideal storage area since condensation can occur and make the fondant soft.
- Rolled fondant usually has a buttercream crumb coat beneath it. Buttercream melts in high humidity and high temperatures, which can cause fondant to droop or sag, so make sure you use a thin coat to help keep your fondant in place.
- Use a thinned fondant adhesive to put figures together or attach flowers to cakes. The adhesive is edible, which makes it safe for using directly on your cake.
- Pick up some ready-made fondant from craft stores, kitchen supply stores or cake decorating stores if you do not have time to make your own.
- Flavor the fondant before you roll it out.
- Tint fondants before you place them on your cakes, unless you plan to use an airbrush technique to color the fondant after it's applied to the cake.
If you're short on time or you simply want to avoid the extra work it takes to make your own rolled fondant, there's a wonderful array of ready-to-use products that should be able to fulfill your needs.
Wilton is perhaps the premier cake decorating supply company, and you'll find ready-to-use fondant in 24-ounce packages. Choose from white or various pre-colored or chocolate-flavored fondants. They also sell 5-pound packages of Wilton White Decorator Preferred Fondant for tiered wedding cakes. Prices range from around $7 to just under $25.
Shop Bakers Nook
Shop Bakers Nook has a wide variety of ready-to-use rolled fondant in package sizes from 24 ounces up to 5 pounds. Choose plain white or nearly any color of the rainbow. Prices start at just over $7 and vary based on brand, color, and package size.
This shop also carries tylose powder, which can be worked into rolled fondant to help it dry firmer and hold its shape when modeling with it. This handy ingredient is priced just over $4.
Pourable Fondant Mixes
Ready-to-pour fondant is difficult to find, but one of these dry mixes can help you cover petit fours and cookies in record time.
Decorate Cakes Like the Pros
You can use fondant to produce cake designs that look like they were made by professionals. Although it may seem like an intimidating frosting to work with, it simply takes practice, like any other decorating skill. Trial and error will help you discover the best recipes and tricks for making fondant work on your cake. Practice working with it, and soon your cakes will look like they came straight from a celebrity chef's bakery.