Fondant Cake Decorating
Fondant cake decorating is so popular these days as fondant is a versatile icing that allows unlimited creative possibilities.
Fondant creates a beautiful, porcelain-like finish to cakes. Basic rolled white fondant is made of unflavored gelatin, water, glycerine, and liquid glucose.
A fondant covered cake does not need refrigeration and it will help to preserve the cake. You can refrigerate fondant; however, it will have condensation on it when you remove it from the refrigerator. A fan will help to dry it up.
Flavor wise, fondant is very sweet and chewy. For a better tasting fondant, you can make marshmallow fondant. There are also some chocolate based fondants on the market that taste very good. The flavor resembles cotton candy and the chocolate version is like tootsie rolls. It’s inexpensive to make your own at home, but you can purchase it if that’s more convenient for you. Different fondant brands behave differently in various climates, so you really just need to see which one works for you where you live. While a chocolate based fondant is easy to cover a cake with because it is so forgiving, it does not dry up and give the sturdiness of some other types of fondant.
Fondant can be shaded any color you desire with paste food coloring. The liquid food coloring you buy at the grocery store will make them sticky and the color is not intense enough to achieve deep shades. Black fondant should be made with chocolate fondant, as you start out much closer to the desired shade.
You can get very artistic with the colors, introducing luster dusts to accent or highlight your designs. You can even paint with luster dust by combining it with either vodka, lemon extract or almond extract. These three liquids evaporate quickly so you don’t make a sticky mess.
There are so many different fondant cutters and silicone molds available to create flowers, leaves, lace appliqués, etc. The designs are simply attached to the cake with a little water. You can create an elegant drape on a cake simply by laying a section of fondant over skewers to create folds, then attaching it to the cake with a dab of water.
You can paint the fondant or spray it with an airbrush. The possibilities of fondant cake decorating are endless. Fondant can also be used to cover the cake board. Impression mats can be pressed into the fondant to create beautiful patterns, both on the cake board and the cake. Fondant can be shaped into some decorations. It’s best used for flat designs or making things like bows, which don’t require too much flexibility.
Gum paste is much easier to use for making figures because it dries harder and holds its shape better. Gum paste is edible but it dries very hard, making it more suitable for saving a creation as a memory of a special occasion.
Gum paste is more suitable for making flowers. The recipes for gum paste are similar to fondant, but the main ingredient in gum paste which gives it a softer texture is gum tragacanth. You can make a recipe at home using this ingredient or by purchasing gum paste mix found in most craft stores. It needs to be stored completely protected from air so it doesn’t dry out. Wrap well in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container. You can use the gum paste for 2 weeks after it’s made.
After kneading either one, they are rolled out on a clean surface dusted with cornstarch. The rolling pin should be dusted, too. Add additional cornstarch if there is any stickiness. For creating smaller designs, the mini rolling pin that comes with rings is a great tool. The rings allow you to roll the mixture out to a certain thickness without guessing. Once you get the hang of working with fondant and gum paste, you are only limited by your imagination.
Fondant and gum paste look alike and are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are times when one is better to create a certain effect than the other. Fondant cake decorating techniques are prevalent today due to the versatility of the medium; however, every cake decorator should first know how to work with buttercream to make a smooth cake surface to work on.
Which Store-Bought Fondant is Best?
I find this topic is often debated and the answer to the question relies on personal taste, climate and how the fondant is being used. When it comes to taste, you'll find the chocolate based fondants are unbeatable; however, they are not ideal to use in warm weather or warm climates. For creating fondant decorations to apply to a cake, I find those without chocolate perform better. Some fondants are softer in texture and more forgiving, which is great for beginners who need more time to smooth out the surface of the fondant after applying it to the cake. A few such brands are Fondarific and Fondx. Satin Ice has a drier feel and you have to work quickly to get it on the cake before it cracks. I recommend experimenting with different brands until you find the one you like.
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