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“Cakes by Vivienne”

         Tips, Techniques and Tutorials for the Beginner Cake Decorator

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FONDANT AND BUTTERCREAM - SOME TIPS
















WHAT BRANDS SHOULD I USE?

I was quite overwhelmed when I started using fondant and buttercream as there are so many pre-made brands out there and they are available in a variety of colours, flavours, textures and elasticity. I did heaps of research on the internet and realised that not only do different brands taste different and feel different, but different brands actually work better for different specific tasks and everyone has an opinion!

I found a good article by Lesley Wright called the “The Good, the Bad and the Tasty: A Comparison of Fondant Brands” that has some great information and is well worth a read. However in the end I made up my mind by sampling a number of different brands and have found that Satin Ice works well in our climate.

As a full time working mum I do not have the time or inclination to make homemade fondant. However it looks like it would be simple and inexpensive to make. At this stage I am happy to continue to use store brand fondant and buttercream as I have a consistent base to work from.


GETTING STARTED WITH FONDANT

Once you’ve selected your fondant of choice, prepare a clean working area. Stainless steel makes a perfect work surface for fondant, but virtually any hard, flat surface will work with the aid of a fondant mat placed atop it. I actually use a silicon pastry mat that is non-stick and I love working on it.

I use disposable gloves when I knead fondant as I have quite warm hands and it also stops sticking on your palms and I don’t have to grease my hands. Knead the fondant until it’s warm, soft and pliable. You should be able to pinch a bit and roll it into a ball using your palms without seeing any cracks. Remember to only work with the amount of fondant you need for a particular task. Keep the rest in a plastic bag or in an air-tight container to prevent it from drying out.


THICKNESS OF FONDANT

It is generally suggested to use between 3mm – 6mm of rolled fondant, but typically you want to go as thin as possible without sacrificing elasticity. Though you don’t want a thick layer of fondant covering your cake, you also don’t want your fondant to tear as you’re working it. Practice makes perfect when it comes to covering cakes with fondant and I have found sthat Satin Ice works best for me.


ADDING STRENGTH TO FONDANT

If you want to add strength to your fondant so that it will dry hard when making figurines, letters or accent pieces, add some CMC Powder (a food-safe hardening agent) while your fondant is soft and warm.

Knead about ¼ teaspoon into a golf-ball sized ball of fondant and continue working. Items laid to dry will begin to harden within a few hours and will be completely hard in a few days. Do not add the CMC to your fondant too soon, though, or it will become difficult to work with as it hardens and dries out.

Just remember that practice makes perfect, by the time you have covered a couple of cakes they will start to look better than many of the  cakes you can buy from a store – so don’t be put off with some small failures.


YOU NEED TO FOLLOW SOME VERY IMPORTANT RULES WHEN MANAGING FONDANT ICING.



Fondant and buttercream - some tipsBack