In my most recent post I wrote about buttercream and six of the best types that I use. Today I am going to share all about fondant in cake artistry.
Some people prefer to use only buttercream and some don’t even like fondant. I am not a fan of the overbearing sweetness myself, but sometimes fondant is the best icing to use, when you need to cover cake/s as quickly as possible and when you need an icing to endure a long time of display.
Fondant can be home-made or store bought. Home-made is made of simple ingredients and do not taste as sweet, however its process is an added time when taking into account the preparation, rolling and covering of the cake/s.
Store bought is easier and less time-consuming because you only focus on rolling and covering. Even less time-consuming if, you buy an already rolled store bought fondant, that you take straight out from the package.
I do enjoy working with fondant because it is similar to working with a blank canvas. I have saved so much time by just focusing on covering the cake/s all in white fondant, piping all in white fondant and then sitting down and creating all the colors with edible paint, pearl dusts and coloring pens. It is almost as if I am coloring in a picture.
This post is really to give you an overview of how fondant can be used as an alternative to other icing forms.
To ensure that you get the best out of your fondant creations follow the guidelines listed below:
The brand you use does matter
Unless you make your own (my preference when on budget) then make sure, that what you use, will not dry up and crack when left for too long in the open.
This brings me to my next bullet point.
Don't be afraid to play
You heard me. Play, as if with play dough, have fun experimenting to find out which brands are of really good quality. I have bought a few different brands and played to find my favourite ones.
Take a course or get ideas from others
If you have no skills at all then research some on-line courses and subscribe to other cake artist's videos. Be Never ashamed to be resourceful.
Use cornflour instead of icing sugar
I personally encourage you to use cornflour when rolling or kneading your fondant, especially in during humid/hot temperature. Corn flour not only stops stickiness but also prevents the further addition of more sweetness.
Knead, knead, knead
Yes, without this first you will end up with heaps of air bubbles or cracking fondant.
Pop and Roll
I pop air bubbles while I roll, and this takes a lot of patience and sore arms, however, if you do not get these out they will blow out later and create a bubble gum effect (blows up a large bubble and then pops the fondant) as the cakes start to get warm. So beware! I have warned you.
Crumb your cake/s first
I have met so many people who bake that did not know what 'crumbing' meant. It is a layer of either thin frosting (buttercream) or warmed jam (apricot) to cover the cake so that crumbs do not stick on the fondant. It also helps with preventing bubble gums on your cakes.
Colour your fondant with gel colours
Water based colours tend to make fondant stickier, I use gel colours which are vibrant. Buy a set, which are much cheaper, by comparison to buying them individually.
This is where alcohol and cake meet. I use vodka to remove edible paint or edible colouring pen errors. It is also useful when you are stressed and need to relax a little (BIG grin).
Tallow or Shortening (vegetable) comes in very handy if you do not use gloves. I use some to wipe on my hands before and during the kneading process. I also use it with a bit of Tylose to knead into fondant for my models and toppers (makes a much quicker hardening effect).
Avoid storing fondant covered cakes in the fridge. It will sweat and coloring can bleed. If you have no other option then make sure cake is totally dried out of condensation, by placing in cool dry area away from sun, inside a clean closed paper box.
I am still saving up for an edible printer of my own - as this will save me lots of money. Printer sets can range from $150 - $600 (the higher the value, the better the quality) and comes as a set including edible paper (thin fondant), and edible ink cartridges. It costs me at least $20 per A4 sized copy or $40 per A2 sized copy.
The wonderful thing about printing on fondant, is the fact, that you can just paste your colorful printed image right on top of your covered cake without a mess, and it comes out looking very professional. Add a few little piped edges and decoration is done!
This is, of course what I enjoy most. Painting on fondant. Fondant is the best icing choice for painting on. I can use brushes or any form I want to use (with sponges or rollers)
Of late, I have started experimenting with an air brush kit to add precision to my paintings - and I have fallen in love with the ease of use and no mess.
I can colour a white fondant into a whole different color using paint (by hand or air brushed), which can save me time spent on kneading different colored fondants.
Painting will give a much more vibrant color or it can give a lighter pastel look. Depending on what look you're wanting. Painting can also create an 'ombre' effect on fondant as well as, small repetitive patterns.
Drawing on Fondant
I use a normal graphite pencil (non-leaded) to sketch, trace or draw images on fondant. I sometimes do this to get a shape or trace an outline before I paint or fill with piping. I also have edible coloring pens and edible cake pencils that I use also for my cake artistry.
Edible pens and pencils, are great when you wish to hand write letters and numbers onto fondant, instead of piping them.
Piping with Fondant
You do not need to mix a different batch of royal icing or buttercream to pipe onto fondant. I use fondant paste, by adding water to some fondant and mixing it with a spatula, on my fondant mat, until, the texture is smooth and thin enough to pipe with.
After I pipe I can use paint or luster dust to add color straight onto my piped decorations.
I always look forward to creating cake toppers with fondant. There are no limits to what one, can make with fondant, from life like figurines to toy cars.
Toppers can be any size and less expensive to make than bought. Some toppers can cost $100.
I often get side tracked and lose myself in a moment of creativeness. Here is sample list of what I have made in the past, using tylose powder and fondant:
A Few of My Toppers
- 3D Butterflies and bumble bees
- Floral arrangements (leaves, twigs, flowers, roses, peonies)
- Thomas the tank engine topper
- Graduation Trencher
- Teddy bear
- Wedding couple
- Jewelry embellishments
- Cultural crafts
- Rosary beads
- Baby Shower decorations and baby toppers
- Rugby ball
- Shoes (Branded)
- Cartoon images
- Children's TV characters
- Basket ball
These are only a sample list. If you can imagine it then you can also create it, using fondant.
Toppers can last a lifetime - and saved as milestone memorabilia, such as christenings, baby showers, and weddings.
I conclude by reiterating that I don't like the overbearing sweetness of fondant, however, it is an icing that is easy to cover cakes with and can be used pretty much for any decoration, whether it be piped on, or used as a medium for printing, painting, dusting.
Because of its structural strength and durability, and a few additional ingredients, hand made toppers can last a very long time.
Fondant is similar to working with a blank canvas and can save so much time by adding colours only at the end of decorating.
I hope that from this overview all about fondant, you can see for yourself, how it can be a wonderful alternative to other icing forms, used in cake artistry.
Please share any of your fondant creations or leave a comment below. Otherwise you can email me also.
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