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How to Work Fondant for Cake Decorating

Learn how to knead and roll out fondant for a cake from professional pastry chef Katie Rosenhouse in this Howcast cake decorating video.


Hi, I'm Katie, and I'm going to show you how to fondant a cake. So I'm starting with a nice blob of white fondant, this is just a vanilla fondant, and I've kneaded it into submission. You could see it's nice and soft, very pliable. What you're looking for is almost like a soft Play-doh, you really want to be able to kind of roll it out and cut it and shape it as you need. But you could see my cake is already ready to go. I just gave ma cake a little bit of a crumb coat, that's when you do a light layer, you can almost see the cake through. The goal is not to put a ton of frosting, especially when you're putting fondant on top, you really just want something for it to stick to, and you also of course want the flavor of a little bit of frosting too. But you could see very light layer all the way around, nice and even, and now I'm ready to go.

So the tools I need are, I have my rolling pin, I have a sifter with a little bit of confection sugar, or you could use corn starch, I have what's called a fondant smoother thing, that's not what it's called, but that's what I'm calling it right now, and I'm just going to use it to smooth out my surface, and a little paring knife to trim my edges, and that's it, and then it's just your muscles. So I'm going to give my surface a nice sift of confection sugar, this is to keep my fondant from sticking as I roll, and same thing on top, it's almost as if you are rolling out a pie dough, same idea.

I'm going to be working and moving it constantly. If you see any bits of anything, you want to make sure your counters are really clean, but if they're not, just kind of kick out any crumbs that will tarnish the look of your fondant as you go. Remember constant moving, it's not only keeping it from sticking, but also if you keep rotating as you turn, as you roll, it will create a circle instead of creating a large square, if I were to just shift it by 90 degrees, so just constantly move it around. And what we're looking for is about an eighth of an inch, which is very thin. If you're in the kitchen and you don't have a ruler, and you're wondering what is an eighth of an inch, if you look at kind of the top portion of your thumb, it's usually about an inch, unless you have really big hands, so that's about half of that is half an inch, your nails is about a little more than a quarter of an inch, so we're aiming for an eighth, a very small, thin layer. So going to just keep rolling, and fondant definitely takes a lot of strength. Imagine doing huge wedding cakes and trying to cover gigantic surfaces, it gets tiring, so pastry chefs have such good muscles. Keep moving it around.

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