About Fondant Cake Decorating

Fondant cake decorating is an increasingly popular choice for decorating all sorts of special occasion cakes. Once you get the hang of it, decorating with fondant really isn't hard at all. It's time-consuming, and there are a couple of techniques and tools to learn about, but it's a really fun process and a great creative outlet as well.

So roll up your sleeves and get ready to get sticky! 

So, What's Fondant?

The term can mean several different things in the food world. For cake decorating purposes, fondant is a type of icing traditionally made from sugar, corn syrup, and water.

And How Do You Make It?

The Cooking Method...

The traditional way is to cook those three ingredients together until the mixture reaches a certain temperature and then stir until it reaches a very thick consistency. Flavorings and food coloring can be added too.

If you don't want to stir until your arm falls off, you can process the fondant in a food processor for several minutes. It works just as well. 

If you take the mixture off the heat before it thickens too much you'll have what's called poured fondant. You can ice cakes, cupcakes, or petits fours with this type of icing. It has a lovely, shiny, and very smooth finish.

If you knead the mixture after it reaches a very thick consistency on the stove, you'll make rolled fondant. This is the kind most people are familiar with. It's rolled out thinly with a rolling pin and used for covering cakes, making cutouts, sculpting little figures, and making all sorts of intricate and colorful cake designs. 

The No-Cook Methods...

There are a couple of ways to make fondant that don't involve any cooking.

There's marshmallow fondant (MMF) and a recipe that originated in England that we'll refer to as classic rolled fondant. We have a great, no-fail classic rolled fondant icing recipe that covers cakes beautifully. It calls for a couple of less common ingredients than the MMF recipe, however. 

So Why Use Fondant?

The main purpose of fondant (at least the kneaded and rolled type) is decoration. Although it's certainly edible, many people find it too sweet, and rolled fondant is often peeled off the cake and left on the plate.

Poured fondant, however, is a different story. It has a wonderful texture and taste (it picks up the flavorings better), and in our opinion, absolutely makes petits fours. 

Both rolled and poured fondant can be made from store-bought mixes if you're pressed for time or low on motivation. But they're not half as good as homemade.

What Can You Do With Rolled Fondant?

Fondant cake decorating can be a time-consuming process but it's a great creative outlet for your artistic tendencies. Here are a few of the decorating possibilities of rolled fondant:

  • cover a cake with it
  • top cupcakes with it
  • ice cookies with a very thin layer of it
  • dye it any color you like with food coloring
  • paint it any color you like with food coloring or food painting pens
  • flavor it (vanilla, almond, and rum extracts work well)
  • make decorative cutout shapes to personalize your cake
  • roll it into "pearls" for a border
  • braid or twist strands of it for a border
  • drape it like fabric over a portion of your cake
  • make cute little figures out of it