I had done a post called Cake Making 101, and I promised there would be a follow up. Here it is. I was hired to make the following cake for a baby shower. Cakes are basically a hobby for me, but I do agree to do one for a friend every once in a while. The theme of the baby shower was “Cute as a Button.”
If you have never attempted a fondant covered cake, I was going to break it down for you here. Hopefully, a basic tutorial will encourage you to try it. First of all, let me tell you the products I like. I have purchased my fondant from Wilton and from a baking supply warehouse. Wilton I personally do not like. I did like the wholesale fondant I bought in huge tubs, but my supplier stopped selling it. The most success I have found lately on a retail level has been with Duff’s product line.
I actually spend my 40-50% off coupons from Michael’s to buy it. It ends up being the same price as I was buying wholesale. It tastes more like marshmallows, and it has been a good product to work with. I also did the little converse shoes with Duff’s gum paste. It was my first real success with gum paste, so I highly recommend it.
If you are using Duff’s fondant, follow microwave instructions on the back. You are then ready to knead the fondant. You want to be careful not to over-knead. It’s hard when you are adding color since you are trying to get a consistent color. I do use Wilton’s gel food coloring, which has worked really well. I wear disposable rubber gloves so that my hands don’t get stained. I also have a fondant mat so things don’t stick. You add a desired amount of the color you want and begin to knead it into the fondant. The amount of fondant needed will be based on the size of cake you are making. Here’s a simple table:
6 inch 1.5 lbs 2 lbs
8 inch 2 lbs 2.5 lbs
10 inch 2.5 lbs 3 lbs
12 inch 3 lbs 4 lbs
14 inch 4 lbs 5 lbs
16 inch 5 lbs 6.5 lbs
Next, I roll the fondant out. I use corn starch as my non-stick medium. I spread it lightly over the working surface as well as the top of the fondant as I roll it out. I just looked up why corn starch, and I’m getting a lot of people on Cake Central who actually prefer shortening. I have only used corn starch, but confectioners sugar is another option. I guess I might need to experiment with shortening too. You want to roll your fondant 1/4 inch thick. I put two wooden dowels that are 1/4 inch thick on either side of my roller and that helps me have a consistent thickness where I don’t have to get out a ruler and measure constantly. You should roll out your fondant a bit, pick it up and rotate it and then keep going. This is so the fondant doesn’t stick to the mat. Do this a few times until you reach your desired thickness. You will want to measure the diameter of your cake and add that to the 2x the height of the side to get the overall diameter of the fondant you need to roll out.
Because of the kneading, air bubbles may occur. If you find an air bubble, pop it with a pin and use two fingers in a circular motion as you press lightly until the fondant is laying smooth in that area.
Once the fondant is rolled to the desired size, you can roll the fondant back up onto your rolling pin and transfer it to your cake.
This is the hard part. Once on your cake, work quickly. It will drape naturally around the cake, but you will have to work with your hands and a fondant smoothing paddle to create the smooth appearance. You will want to lightly pull up on the edges – lifting and tucking around until it begins to lay flat against your cake. Continue to work around the edges until the whole cake is covered and the edges are smooth and laying flat against the cake. Continue to smooth with your cake paddle.
Use a pizza or fondant cutter to trim off the excess fondant from the base of the cake.
There is a good YouTube video on the process. When she uses piping gel on the frosting layer, I actually spray it with a water spritzer. This helps the fondant adhere to the cake. I also use corn starch rather than powdered sugar. Overall, it is a very clear tutorial on covering a cake. Once it’s covered you can decorate.
In the past, I have had decorating as my thing. The kids are down for a nap or at grandma’s house while I’m trying to bang out the cake. However, I’ve realized, as I’m being more intentional, that this is an activity they can actually help me with and really enjoy. So, I am trying to embrace their help. I would cut the strips of fondant using a straight edge and ruler. They would dip the brush in a bit of water and paint the strips. Then, I would attach them to the cake. For the buttons, they cut out the circles. Then, I pushed the center of them down with a dowel and cut out the two holes using an decorating tip #2. They would paint the back of the buttons and help me put them on the the cake. They loved seeing the finished product after we had worked together.
The shoes on top of the cake are a different story. I did those with Gum Paste and followed a YouTube tutorial. I did these by myself.