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GETTING STARTED

Fondant Basics

Essential Tools

  • Shaker with cornstarch/powdered sugar - eliminates sticking of fondant to other surfaces
  • Shortening - eliminates sticking of fondant to other surfaces, helps repair fondant that is slightly dried/cracking
  • Non-stick Silicone mat - work area for rolling out fondant
  • Rolling pin - 17” for large cakes, 7” rolling pin for small projects
  • Small offset spatula - helps lift delicate fondant shapes
  • Pizza cutter (small) - easily trim excess fondant from base of cakes
  • Fondant smoother - helps adhere the fondant layer to the buttercream/cake
  • Revolving cake stand - revolving stands make it easier to work around the cake
  • Paintbrush - water acts as an adhesive for fondant, use a paintbrush to apply water to fondant
  • Sculpting tool set (5,7, or 9 piece - plastic or stainless steel) - form, shape, mark and imprint fondant and gum paste decoration

HANDLING

Getting Started

Below are some common questions that come about when working with fondant. Before you get started here are some of the most helpful hints to keep in mind as you work:

WORKSPACE:

  • Make sure your surface, tools and hands are clean and dry 
  • Avoid sticking to worksurface with shortening, cornstarch or powdered sugar 
  • Wrap and seal fondant that’s not in use so it doesn't dry out! 

WHILE WORKING:

  • Work fast to keep fondant pliable 
  • Knead the fondant, it will become softer and more pliable as you knead it 
  • After use, store fondant at room temperature (but put chocolate in the fridge)

COVERING A CAKE:

  • Roll out to about 1/8” thick for covering
  • If covering a cake, use a firm cake mix (like pound cake)


How much fondant do I need?

The amount of fondant needed will vary based on the size of your project. Please see our helpful guide


How long should I knead the fondant?

Kneading is the most important step to successfully using the fondant. As they are worked, both fondant and gum paste become more elastic and pliable. For best results, knead in small portions until the fondant is soft and pliable and then combine. If you are using large amounts, store each portion of kneaded fondant in plastic wrap. Watch a helpful demonstration by Ron Ben-Israel.


Can I knead my fondant in a mixer with the kneading attachment?

Yes, both fondant and gum paste can be kneaded with the dough hook on a mechanical mixer, although we recommend using your hands for more control and tempering of the product. When using a mixer it is possible to over knead and add too much air to the product.


What type of rolling pin works best for rolling out my fondant?

You can use whatever rolling pin you are comfortable with, although we recommend rolling pins without handles. To get fondant thin, it is a little difficult when using a rolling pin with handles, because the pressure tends to be stronger on the edges. This causes the sides of the fondant become thinner than the middle. The whole secret of success to making fondant thin all the way through, especially in the middle, is to push and pull from the center so that there is consistency throughout. 


What is the proper thickness to roll out the fondant?

The proper thickness for covering a cake is about 1/8”.


How do I steam my finished cake?

Cake Artists use this technique to add a nice shiny finish to their cakes, in addition to removing any residue from dusting powder while working. To do this at home, make sure to cover your steamer opening with a cloth and rubber band to prevent steam from ‘spitting.’ 


How to prevent imperfections when sheeting?

When preparing fondant for the sheeter there are three steps to follow. First, knead the fondant to the proper consistency. Then roll the fondant into a perfect ball. Make sure there are no folds in the fondant ball. Last, flatten the ball with your hands. Now your fondant is ready to run through the sheeter. This process is extremely important, because any imperfections in the fondant will be amplified by the sheeter and can lead to product cracking.


Can I add color to the fondant?

When possible, it's best to mix pre-colored fondant to achieve a specific color, as color additives can potentially alter the fondants consistency. If you are going use a colorant to achieve a specific hue, we recommend using a gel color. Wear disposable gloves to avoid staining of your hands. Begin by kneading the fondant and then break up your fondant into four balls. Dip a toothpick in the bottle of color and rub it onto one of your fondant balls. Knead the color thoroughly into the fondant until it is completely mixed. Repeat the color process for the remaining three balls. When you are finished coloring each part, knead each of the parts back into one ball. 


Can I add something to the fondant to make it act like your Gum Paste?

Yes. If you wish to have our fondant behave more like gum paste, you can add Tylose or CMC powder (cellulose gum or gum tragacanth). Add the powder to the fondant in small amounts (approximately 1 – 1.5 teaspoons per pound) and knead thoroughly into the fondant with each addition until you have achieved the consistency of gum paste. Watch tutorials by our pro’s: Ron Ben-Israel and Betty Van Norstrand both demonstrate this technique.


For more helpful hints watch our Learn The Basics series on Youtube

TROUBLESHOOTING

Why does the fondant on my finished cake have air bubbles?

One reason for this is that when you’ve removed your crumb-coated cake from the refrigerator, you have not moistened it to allow the fondant to properly stick. Sometimes, the refrigerator can begin to dry the buttercream, so we recommend lightly brushing with water before placing the fondant on top to cover and adhere.

Keep in mind if you remove your cake from the refrigerator and bring it into an atmosphere that is very hot (i.e a home or shop with no air condition in the heat of summer), give your cake 5-10 minutes to adjust before moving forward with moistening and covering. You do not need to let the cake completely come to room temperature, but just allow the initial chill to escape the cake and not get trapped underneath the fondant.

Another reason for this would be the filling or cake is releasing air and it is getting trapped underneath the fondant. Fruit fillings especially tend to release air as they sit. A good rule of thumb to follow, is getting into the habit – regardless of filling choice – of giving the air an escape route. This can be achieved by using a hollow coffee stirrer. Once your cake is covered in fondant, gently press a coffee stirrer into the cake so that it goes deep enough to hit the layer of filling. You can place this strategically in places on the cake that you know will be covered by decoration later. Depending on the size of your cake, you can do this in multiple locations, top and sides of cake, allowing the air to escape through the straw rather than get trapped. Leave these in for at least a couple of hours for best results.

If bubbles have already formed and you did not get a chance to use the coffee stirrer technique, there is a simple trick that you can use: pierce the bubbles on an angle (not directly in the middle) with a fine pin and smooth the fondant. That should clear up any problems.


Why does the fondant on my finished cake have air bubbles and/or why is it sliding off?

The main reason this will happen is if you use a buttercream for your crumb-coat that contains high water content. Another reason for this is too much buttercream on the crumb coat. The crumb coat is meant to act as the ‘glue’ between the cake and the fondant, but too much can cause the fondant to slide, especially in high temperatures or high humidity. 


Why does the fondant on my covered cake look like ‘elephant skin’?

The most common reason for this is when Satin Ice has been left out too long and has begun to dry out. To avoid this, be sure to knead very well and keep out only the portions you are working with. When covering your cake, work quickly, immediately moving from the kneading & rolling stage, right into the covering and smoothing stage. The remainder of your fondant should be sealed in its bag with the pail lid closed tightly. Any air that is allowed to get into the product will dry it out, so be certain the bag is closed tightly and the lid is sealed.

Some brands of food coloring can cause the fondant to crack and take on this appearance. We recommend using our pre-mixed Satin Ice colors, or if that is not possible, we suggest using gel pastes to avoid this.

The addition of too much shortening to Satin Ice will cause the gums to break down and cause ‘elephant skin’ as well. While using a very tiny bit of Crisco is fine for rolling out on or on your rolling pin, adding it into Satin Ice will alter the product.

STORAGE

How long will Satin Ice be good to use after I first open it?

Assuming you do not introduce moisture into the pail and it is sealed properly again, it is good for at least six months after being opened. Chocolate fondant will last about three months. Please note that all of our Fondant & Gum Paste can be stored at ambient temperature, with the exception of Chocolate, which we recommend refrigerating after opening.


What is the shelf life of a cake covered with Satin Ice?

When applied correctly, Satin Ice seals the cake, which extends the shelf life. This is very helpful when making cakes in advance and you can then choose to leave it at room temperature, refrigerate or even freeze depending on your needs:

- A boxed, fondant-covered cake at room temperature is good for 7-10 days. However, if it has a dairy filling this would reduce to 3-4 days, depending on filling.

- Once in the refrigerator, assuming the cake is boxed, two to three weeks would be an approximate shelf life. With this being said, the more air-proof the box, the longer the shelf life.


Should I refrigerate my finished cake?

Refrigeration is not required, but is suggested if you are making cakes well in advance and/or are using a dairy-based layer under the fondant (see more on Shelf Life of a finished cake above). When refrigerating, it is best to cover your cake, or seal it in plastic wrap, as most refrigerators – standard home or commercial – have high humidity which can cause water droplets to form on your decorated cake.


If I choose to freeze my fondant covered cake, how should I thaw it properly?

Yes. If you choose to do so, we highly recommend sealing with cake with plastic wrap and then placing it in a box. This will not only protect it, but also prevent outside odors from affecting it over time.

When removing from the freezer, first move the cake to the refrigerator and let it thaw before bringing it to room temperature. When you eventually move the cake to room temperature, please remove all wrapping to prevent condensation from gathering. Do not begin any additional decorative work until the entire cake has reached room temperature.

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