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How to Cover a Wedding Cake in Fondant

Let chef Michelle Doll show you how to cover a cake in fondant in this Howcast video about wedding cake decorating.


Alright, so now we want to fondant our cake.

We've got a beautiful, chilled cake that's been perfectly crumb coated. It's ready to go. I have some fondant paste here. And what fondant paste basically is is a gelatin and powdered sugar mixture, and it should feel like Play-Doh. So, once you get it out of your bucket, you want to knead it. Press down with the heel of your hand forward, then take your fingers and fold it back over. If you feel any crumbly bits, you want to cut them out right away. You don't want to incorporate them into your fondant, or you're going to have some little pebbles in there. They don't get softer.

So it should get to the consistency where, when you rub it like this, you get a beautiful, smooth finish. You shouldn't see any little folds in there. Now, how much fondant do you need for a cake? That's a great question. What I have here is one of my many tape measures. And what I'm going to do is lightly drape it over the cake. Alright. So, this goes to the three-seventh mark.

The way to measure your fondant is you want to have a disc that's about an inch tall that will flip over three times within that amount of area. So I've got my measure down here to three-seven. I'm going to mark it with my fondant paddle, you guys can see it there. And I don't know if I have one, two, three, it's pretty much perfect. It's a little bit thick, so I'm going to cut a little off. I don't want to have so much that I've got a giant overhang over my cake. If I do that, it's going to really tug down. This is not light stuff, and my corners are fairly sharp. So if I have too much fondant and too much overhang, it's going to really want to rip around the top, which can be very frustrating.

You'll notice, too, that my cake is on top of a little riser here. And that's so that, after it's fondanted, I can go in and cut straight around. I don't have to go in and cut around the edge there, so I'm going to get a nice, sharp edge to my bottom. Move that off to the side.

I have some powdered sugar here and a fine-mesh strainer. I have two fondant paddles. I like to have two so I can have one hand on top while the other one smooths the side. And I'm going to put a thin, light layer of powdered sugar over the entire area which I'm going to roll it out onto. So I'm not just doing a pile in the center and pushing it out. I'm doing the giant, giant circles. So that's about how big it's going to be. Less is more with the powdered sugar. You don't want to overdo it because the corn starch that is in powdered sugar will dry it out really quickly.

The pin that I'm using is a French rolling pin. What I really love about this is that it's beveled on the side so that I can give more pressure on the left side or the right side so that I get a really perfect circle. Also, my right arm is much stronger than my left, so this helps me to even that out.

So I'm going to start by just rolling between here and here. You'll notice I'm not going over the edge. I pick up a little more of the powdered sugar. If you're doing a lot of these, it's a good idea not to wear blue jeans. This will pick up any kind of lint. The powdered sugar helps to create a static electricity, so any little fuzzies will attach to this. Okay, here we go.

Now is not the time to answer the phone. If you walk away from this, it's going to be so dry that when you try to put it on your cake, it's going to crack around the edges, and you're going to get what looks like elephant skin. I'm taking this down to about an eighth of an inch. If you can see the pattern of the table beneath it, it's too thin.

Alright. So, I will bring over my cake which has just come out of the refrigerator. I will put the bore, the rolling pin straight over the top and roll this back up. And as I roll it onto itself, I'm dusting off any excess powdered sugar. That will keep it from sticking to the butter cream. There we go. This is the easiest way to pick it up. Move this directly in front of you. And I'm going to line up the bottom lip with the bottom of the cake and then slowly unroll it over the top. And if it's a little bit shy of the bottom, that's okay. As we work this, it's going to be pressing down, pulling down. So immediately, you'll notice I'm working really fast. I attach it to the top and that top inch of the cake. And what that's doing is alleviating a lot of the weight from the bottom so it's not tugging down.

So, now the tricky part. I'm going to pull it out with my left hand, and with my right hand, I'm going to take these three fingers and this part of the palm of my hand, and I'm going to make circular motions. Just smooth it all down and attach it to the butter cream. Fondant's kind of a magic product. It absorbs back into itself. So I'm only moving in one direction. I like to go from right to left. If you're left-handed, you just do it the exact opposite way.

And there we have our last little fold. Okay. So if you have some folds that have gone over each other, it's not really going to fix itself. You kind of have to pull this off, fix your butter cream, put it in the refrigerator, and then start over. You can use the fondant again if you peel if off. Just take a wet paper towel and wipe off any excess butter cream, and you'll be able to use it that way.

So you'll notice I have a few bubbles at the top. If I have a straight pin, I just pierce them. But with this, I'm just going to poke it with a knife, and then I'll go back and smooth that in later so we won't be able to see it. There we go.

Alright, so I'm just going to use this on the top so that I'm not leaving a hand print again. And I'm going to go all the way around the cake. And this will smooth out any ridges in the butter cream beneath. All-righty. I have a clean, sharp blade here. I'm going to go straight in, find the bottom of my board, just like this, whoops. And I'm only going to take the knife in. I'm not going to saw it back and forth. If I saw it back and forth, it's going to pull the fondant out and distort it a little bit. So I just go all the way around. And back into the refrigerator it goes.

And that is how you fondant a cake.

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