Wedding cakes are the centerpiece of wedding receptions. Fondant is unarguably the most popular medium for making wedding cakes these days. However there are different issues that may arise with how to make a wedding cake with fondant.
These issues may range from the products you use, to the tools or techniques and skill level of the decorator.
Making a wedding cake with fondant is actually a delightful venture because you have myriads of twists and turns that you can take. It is not a one way street. So just take a few moments and read through this piece; you’ll pick up a trick or two that would help you improve your skills.
How To Make A Wedding Cake With Fondant – Tools and Ingredients Needed
There are a number of tools required for making a wedding cake with fondant. We are sharing this list with the mind that this is your first fondant covered cake. However, if you have been making smaller fondant cakes, you would already have some of these tools in your kitty.
Tools and Ingredients
Fondant (naturally lol)
Buttercream and whatever filling desired by the couple
Fondant rolling mat and rolling pin
Gum Paste Flower cutters (if you’ll be making sugar flowers)
Fondant modelling tools
Flower making piping kit plus royal icing (if you’ll be making royal icing flower
Straight and Angled spatula
Cake leveler/ serrated knife
Icing scrapper/bench scrapper
Acupuncture Needles (to remove air bubbles from fondant)
How To Make A Wedding Cake With Fondant – Prepare Ahead
One mistake new cake decorators make when making a wedding cake with fondant is not preparing ahead.
There are several steps to successfully decorating a wedding cake and if you skip any of them, you may find yourself in a bind.
First off, you need to have a timeline for all the steps of your wedding cake project.
When would you bake the cake?
The decision on when to bake the cake would depend solely on the type of cake you are making. If you are making a rich fruit cake, you can bake it about two to three weeks before the week of the wedding. Click here to check out our rich fruit cake recipe and learn how to bake and keep them fresh until when needed.
On the other hand, most other recipes would require that you bake them as close to the wedding day as possible. So most often we would bake those ‘’Best eaten fresh” recipe three days to the wedding day. Click here to find out those recipes that are best made a few days to the wedding day.
In planning/preparing ahead, you have to factor in what kind of decoration that you’ll be using. If you would require fondant/ gum paste o royal icing flowers, then these have to be made way ahead of the wedding week. This would help you take the needed time to churn out perfect sugar flowers.
There’s nothing as harrowing as trying to crank out sugar flowers in a hurry; not a good experience at all. And most often the result is not usually the best that you can get.
You may be wondering how you would store these flowers and other decorative sugar pieces. That’s not an issue; we have an article on how to store fondant decorations. Click here to read it.
One of the things we usually like to take care of before the week of the wedding is our structural elements. By this we mean things like the cake boards/drums and dowel rods.
The structural elements you would require depends on the size and height of the wedding cake. The heavier and taller your cake, the sturdier the cake drums have to be. Additionally, you would also need to the proper size of boards and dowel rods.
Trust me, you don’t want to get to the week of the wedding without having all these things in place. I’ve been in a position where I couldn’t get the right size of cake boards that I needed for a wedding cake. And sadly I didn’t have the time or materials to make them. This led to an emergency change in the design of the cake.
We were fortunate to have a couple who had left the design of the wedding cake to our discretion. Imagine that it was a couple or “bridezilla” that were particular about their chosen design? It would have been disastrous.
So organize your structural elements and ensure that they are the right kind and size and leave yourself enough room for adjustments.
How To Make A Wedding Cake With Fondant – Wedding Week
So the wedding week is here and you have kept to your timeline. All you have to do now is to assemble your cake and decorate.
Making a wedding cake with fondant is just a graduated step of covering a cake with fondant. It is said that a picture speaks more than a thousand words; a video therefore would speak much louder.
This accompanying video would take you through the steps of covering your wedding cake with fondant.
How To Make A Wedding Cake With Fondant – Common Fondant Mistakes and How To Correct Them
There are some common mistakes cake decorators make when covering a wedding cake with fondant. Some of these mistakes can prove fatal for the project but thankfully some of them are reparable.
In this final segment, we’ll share some tips on how to correct some of these mistakes.
Fondant That’s Not Smooth
Some cake decorators have made the mistake of covering their cake with fondant that’s not smooth. This is a No! No! Ensure that the fondant is smooth before using it to cover the cake. Roll it out properly on your working surface and smooth out every imperfection; burst every air bubble before placing the fondant on the cake
If you find air bubbles after you have covered the cake just deflate them with an acupuncture or sewing needle and smooth over with your fondant smoother.
In talking about fondant that’s not smooth, let’s quickly chip this in. the surface of your cake has to be smooth before you cover with fondant. Fondant does not truly cover imperfections on your cake. It rather amplifies them. The smoother the surface of your cake is, the more flawless the fondant finish would be.
Bulges Between Cake Layers
This error occurs often with cakes that have several layers. By this we mean when you torte a cake into two or three layers and fill them with frosting before crumb coating the whole cake.
The cake looks alright when you just covered it with fondant but a few hours later or even the following day, you find bulges between the layers.
The reason for this is that the frosting used for filling the layers seeped out. That is why you are advised to pipe a ring around the layer before filling it. This ring would act as a dam for the filling.
Additionally, you should leave the cake to sit for a while so that it would set. Most cake decorators put the iced cake in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes before covering with fondant.
Elephant skin on fondant is that wrinkly patch that appears on the fondant; it does actually look like elephant skin! This can happen either because your fondant dried out or the weather was very dry.
When this happens, you can repair it by applying a little vegetable shortening to the spot and lightly massaging with your fingertips. Next use your fondant smoother to smooth it out.
Sometimes, the elephant skin comes with a hole or an indention in the fondant. You can repair this by adhering a small piece of fondant to the spot with edible glue. Then using a dry brush dust the surface with some cornstarch. Finally, you smooth out the spot with a fondant smoother.
Different cake decorators have different tricks to repairing this; as time goes on you’ll find that you also would develop several hacks on dealing with elephant skin.
However, we would drop this video here and we believe that it would help you a lot.
Freezing Fondant Cake
You do not really need to freeze fondant covered cake. This is mainly because the cake would sweat when you bring it out of the freezer. Many cake decorators refrigerate their wedding cakes but freezing is not advised. A fondant covered wedding cake can sit out on your counter overnight.
But if you have to refrigerate then endeavor to box the cake properly. Cover every possible air duct in the box. That way, your cake is protected from condensation.
However, if you refrigerate your fondant covered cake without boxing it, ensure that you have enough time for the sweating to dry out before display/delivery time.
One other tip to avoiding condensation of a fondant covered cake is to take it from the freezer to a very cold room, then to a room with normal temperature. When you do this, your cake with thaw incrementally, without sweating.
This is as against taking it straight from the freezer to a room with slighted elevated temperature.
Raising The Cake To Smooth It
Some cake decorators make the mistake of smoothing out their cake on a cake turntable. This is not very good practice because the weight of the fondant would hang down and cause the edges to tear.
It is best to let your cake sit directly on the work surface while you smooth it out. That way, the fondant would lie flat on the work surface so there’s no weight pulling on the edges of the cake.
Rolling The Fondant To The Exact Size Of The Cake
Do not make the mistake of rolling out your fondant to the exact size of the cake to be covered. Always roll out the fondant about two or three more inches than needed all round.
So for example, if you are covering a round cake that’s 8 inch wide and 3 inches high, you’d best roll out a 24 inch round fondant. With this circumference of fondant, you are sure that your cake is covered on all sides. This would also ensure that you wouldn’t need to pull any side of the fondant thin to cover any part of the cake.
Your cake would be properly covered with no side thicker or thinner than the other.
Fondant Recipe That’s Not Suitable For Your Region
Fondant is a weather sensitive cake decorating medium. When you are picking a fondant recipe, ensure that it is compliant to your weather. Some recipes are better suited to humid regions while others are best suited for dry regions.
Testing out fondant recipes is something you have to engage in long before it’s time to cover a wedding cake with fondant.
If you use the wrong fondant for your region, you stand the risk of fondant that would melt o be too dry. You also run the risk of fondant elements that wouldn’t dry and so can’t hold up their shapes.
We live in a region with different climates so when it’s humid, I omit glycerin from my recipe. But during the dry season I add the glycerin. I also eyeball my fondant and decide to either add more or less icing sugar.
When kneading the fondant, I can also decide to incorporate more vegetable shortening. That is why we say it’s necessary to experiment with different recipes before the big day.
Even when you buy ready to use fondant, you can make some adjustment to it to suit your weather.
How To Make A Wedding Cake With Fondant – Conclusion
Making a wedding cake with fondant can either be a joy or frustrating. It all depends on how much thought you put into your planning and the meticulous execution of your timeline.
Do not be afraid to step up to the plate and take on that wedding cake project. You can even use cake dummies to practice before the actual project. But trust me when I say that the satisfaction you get when you see the pleasure on the couple’s face is well worth the work done.
This is by no means an exhaustive piece on how to make a wedding cake with fondant but it’s a good start!
So get baking and decorating!