Just in time for Halloween, here is how you can cover a cake with Fondant.
Covering a cake with fondant instantly transform it into an elegant and eye catching cake. Kind of like painting the blocks that make a wall with coats of colour to seal the inside. Fondant & Sugar paste give a velvety finish to the cake, making the overall appearance look clean, tidy and appealing. A covered cake no longer looks rustic (unless it is part of your design to give it a rustic look), it looks elegant and ready for interpretations.
The thing about covered cake is that they are an open slate for your artistic talents to shine through. You can add all sorts of decorations, create different themes, and even show case your painting talents as you would on canvas! It is a perfect medium for artists to express themselves.
With that said you do not have to be Picasso to decorate cakes!! Everyone has an artistic side, with a bit of practice and brushing, you will be making amazing cakes in no time! Remember that everyone has a unique style, and different cake decorators get known for their unique style.
Just mind you, fondant, Sugar paste, Icing, Frostings...etc are all made out of sugar and make up for a super sweet cake! Decorated cakes are not a healthy option whatsoever, and should be kept for special occasions. Make sure to allow kids to have these cakes, only Occasionally as they are heavy on the sugar!
I have posted earlier, How to make Fondant & Sugar Paste at home, if you live in area where you cannot purchase ready made fondant, or if you like to make it yourself, check it out. This post is to show you how to use this fondant or sugar paste to cover a cake.
Essentially you will need to have a cake to cover. The best cakes to cover with fondant are sponges. The cake has to be dense and able to carry the weight of decoration - Decoration including the fondant cover, the added elements and other tiers if going for tiered cakes. Therefore a cake mix won't cut it! Should you go for a soft cake, it will collapse, that is why you need to start off with a good and dense cake. For more on cake types and cake flavours, join Dima's Course All About Cakes & Cupcakes.
The cakes must be completely cooled before you can attempt dressing them and covering them. You should also cut off the dome (the top uneven part of a sponge) in order to keep the surface leveled for decoration.
Each tier of a decorated cake usually consists of 2 layers, with a filling in between. The filling can be cream, jelly, fresh or candied fruits, chocolate shavings, rice crisps....etc or a combination of them.
Place the first layer over a cake board spread with a little butter cream to hold the cake in place, then top with your desired filling, then another layer of cake. Ideally you should add enough filling to make for 1/4 a layer, you would want to see the filling layer when the cake is cut. Then you will cover the whole cake (2 layers) with butter cream, frosting of your choice or as in old school decoration a layer of boiled Apricot Jam. Then place the iced cake in the fridge to firm up. This step is crucial as it helps hold the cake together and in place, ready for covering.
|Picture by Wilton|
you can use the fondant white or tinted. The white fondant can be tinted using a an air brush (I will dedicate a later post to air brushing), or it can be tinted by brushing with powdered colours...etc. If you decide to tint your fondant, then make sure to tint a bigger quantity than you think you would need. This is because it is very difficult to get the same shade of the colour, should you run short for any reason.
To tint fondant, use gel-based colours for best results. Powder colours also work, but will take quite a bit to get the right shade. Liquid colours - not a good option - can work in very small amounts as they affect the consistency of the fondant making it too wet and therefore sticky.
Remember: go a drop of colour at a time, then work your way through to the right shade. It is easy to go darker, but once dark it is hard to go back. Colours like reds, black, royal blue...etc are hard to achieve and take a lot of colour to get to the right shade, don't forget you are starting with a white base, there are all shades of pink to go through before white turns into Red!!
So to tint, add a few drops of colour to the white fondant as in picture above, spread the colour by pulling and kneading, until uniformly coloured and no streaking is visible.
Rolling out the fondant,Fondant is made out of sugar and sugar starts melting when heated. In the same effect, too much handling of sugar paste and fondant transfers the heat of your hands to the paste, making it sticky and hard to handle. Therefore, you want to minimise handling. The paste can get sticky when rolled straight onto a work surface. You need to sprinkle the work surface with equal amounts of icing sugar and corn starch. The easiest way to so this is by placing equal amounts of icing sugar and corn starch in a small piece of cheese cloth, tie the top and use it as a duster. Or you can purchase a dusting pouch from decoration specialty shops. Dust the surface then roll out the fondant into the size you need (a little bigger than the cake. Don't forget that you have the top and the sides of the cake to cover.
Top Tip, if you roll out the fondant too thin, it will be hard to handle, and will also be easier to tear. Ideally you want the fondant to be 1/8 of an inch thick.
Transfer rolled fondant to the cake, fold the fondant over the rolling pin, and starting at the bottom nearest to you, unfold the fondant onto the cake. You want the fondant to be centrally placed to cover all of the cake.
With your palm, smooth the fondant by rubbing the top side, to make sure it is smooth and no bulges are visible. Then using fondant smoother, smooth the top part, just like you would when ironing a shirt.
Then you want to start lifting the bottom and smoothing the sides down with the palm of your hand in a downward motion. Turn and repeat till you have covered and smoothed all sides.
Any time you get creases, you just need to lift the bottom bit and smooth down with your palm while holding the bottom bit. You should now have covered all the sides of the cake too. Using a sharp knife, cut off the excess fondant from around the cake. Don't over cut, or you will end up cutting through the cake, or revealing bits of the cake as you cut. With the excess removed, start smoothing your fondant, starting from the top, down the sides, till you end up with a smooth finished, fully covered cake.
This is one of those things that you have to practice over and over, and with practice it becomes perfect. Just before you promise your BFF to make her wedding cake, make sure you practice a bit, as it could get a bit tricky!
TIP if you get air bubbles, use a very thin pin to prick it, and then smooth out with the palm of your hand.
Since it's Halloween, it is a perfect time to practice, as this is one occasion where you can get away with almost everything! It does not have to be perfect for Halloween! One of the simplest ways to theme to Halloween is to use a food colouring brush and a black edible gel colour and draw a spider web on top of the covered cake. Then you can use black fondant to make huge spiders and place them on top of the web.
To make a fondant spider, just roll black fondant into a ball, place on top of cake. Then either pipe legs using royal icing, or roll out thin snakes from the black fondant and stick to the ball in the shape of legs! Doesn't get any easier! Scatter the spiders around the cake, and write HAPPY HALLOWEEN in funny spooky fonts!
Cool Tip, if you cannot find edible markers or pens, you can make your own!! Use a bamboo skewer like you would a pen, just file the tip a bit so it doesn't scratch the cake or edible surface. then dip in colour and use like you would a pen. for lighter shade colours: either thin the colour with alcohol (best methos) or with clear vanilla essence or if nothing else works with a little water (for liquid colours)
If you are into decoration and want to take your skills to the next level try out the Wilton Cake Decoration Classes at TAVOLA. These classes will definitely make a cake decorrator out of you :) While you are at it, buy all the cake decorating supplies you need from their cake decorating section at Jumeirah Beach Road branch.
Every Decorator likes a good Buttercream, this is the classic English Buttercream recipe, that not only helps in decoration, but also tastes divine! This cream is open for flavouring: Vanilla essence, Almond Essence, Orange rind, Lemon rind...etc. Here is how it's made
500g Icing sugar, sifted
500g Butter, room temperature
1 satchet Vanilla powder, or seeds of 1 vanilla bean
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix on low speed till fully incorporated. Turn the speed up and beat for 2 minutes.
Your icing is now ready to use. To store, place in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Beat again before using.
Hope you enjoyed this post, and that you will try to make your own celebration cake :))
For more on Cakes and Cupcakes, Join Dima's Best Loved Specialised Baking Course: 'All About Cakes & Cupcakes', which teaches you the base : making the cakes, different cake types, flavourings, frostings, icings...etc. If a cake doesn't taste really good you can decorate it all you want, the base will remain rubbish! It really has to have the best taste and texture! Learn baking with All About Cakes & Cupcakes.
Let me know what you think of this post, don't shy away, please do leave a comment ;)