Friday, June 21, 2013

Cake Decorating: Fondant How-To Guide

After drooling over fondant-covered cakes I did a lot of research on how to cover a cake. A lot of my initial preconceptions were entirely wrong:
  • No marzipan necessary :)
  • It takes time- bake, cool, crumb coat, set, fondant, decorate...
  • Practice makes perfect!

I found loads of YouTube videos but after checking out the comments section I found that those tutors had made mistakes, also some tutorials don't go into enough detail for first timers!

Norman Davis and Zane Beg of The Sweet Life Bakery in DC have a great series of YouTube instructables, start off with this one on crumb coating and follow up with this covering lesson. They have a lot more gumpaste modelling tutorials, but I found these two most helpful for beginners. I watched these videos a couple of times each before attempting a cake and now I know all of the steps off by heart, and I'm getting quicker each time I make a cake :)

This is the first cake I ever covered with fondant. I cut out squares of fondant using a table knife, and used a piping pen (Dr. Oetker) to write a CV and Intern Application (this was a cake for a career advisor!) 

I used those piping pens to fill in the Belgian flag, (as we had been to Belgium with said faculty member). I outlined the black, yellow and red and then flooded with icing on the inside, using a table knife to spread the icing.

The gold gel used was bought in Brussels, at Home of Cooking. 

After asking questions at my local sugarcraft supply store (Cake Craft Carrigtwohill) they advised me that the Create-A-Cake Ready to Roll Icing was too heavy to use in covering and better for modelling, therefore I changed to Renshaw Professional Ready-to-Roll Icing.

This cake was for a member of Cork Campus Radio staff who was sadly leaving (Miss you Bridget!!) 

To say thank you to the person who taught me everything about radio I used the Renshaw fondant, and Dr. Oetker black piping pen to draw earphones, a mic and musical notes. 

To spruce it up a little I rolled up balls of yellow Create-A-Cake fondant and secured them to the base of the cake using buttercream.

This beauty was for my sister Aileen's birthday back in April. Renshaw fondant covered, Home of Cooking gel piping pen, yellow Create-A-Cake fondant rolled into balls, secured at the base with butter cream and also used same for roses. 

I have seen loads of different rose tutorials but this is what worked for me: cut rolled fondant into slices about 1cm thick and not more than 7cm long. Roll the slice to create a rose, gently pulling the petal tips outward for more realism. Bundle up on top of each other, secure with a dab of buttercream. 

To make these very realistic I cut a tiny bit of the gold wrapper from a Moet and Chandon bottle of champagne and secured it with buttercream so that the flowers resembled a bouquet. (FYI, I would only advise this if you are there to remove this bit of inedible material, otherwise you run the risk of choking your dinner party!)

I topped the whole cake with edible disco dust in a neutral hologram colour.

This cake was for my aunt, Noreen's birthday. The same as above but I placed the roses in a pile in the centre so you could see roses from every angle.

I piped in a circle for a more sophisticated look, topped with disco dust and finished with a gold ribbon tied around the cake.

The recipes used for these cakes are just ordinary sponge, so whatever's your favourite will do! I'll share with you my special chocolate sponge recipe soon.

Hope you enjoyed this post, and that it helps you get started with fondant! I have a long way to go so if you have any tips please leave a comment below!

Stay sweet! x

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