Whether you make it yourself or buy it from your local supermarket, rolled fondant icing is the icing of choice choice for wedding cakes and for other "special occasion" cakes. Drying to a smooth matt porcelain finish, it is suitable for cakes of all shapes and provides the ideal base for the most inticate or simplest of decoration.
Fondant icing is a soft sugar-based icing that is generally rolled out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch, layed over the cake and smoothed and pressed into place before being trimmed for a perfect fit.
Despite the fact that fondant cake decorations are ideal for a wedding cake, fondant icing is not always easy to work with so here are a few tips to help you get that perfect result.
Tip 1. Fondant icing should be stored in a plastic bag (or covered in a non-permeable plastic wrap such as Sara wrap) and placed in a tightly sealed container to prevent it from drying out. Fondant icing should also be kept at room temperature and should not be put in the refrigerator. If the icing dries out and harden it can often be revived by popping it into a microwave oven for a few seconds and then kneading it back to life.
Tip 2. Fondant icing dries out very fast and should be applied to the cake quickly (within no more than 5 minutes) after it has been rolled out. Once fondant icing is applied, the cake can be stored without problem for several days at room temperature.
Tip 3. In the case of cakes with a number of tiers, each tier should be iced individually before assembling the cake. It is also advisable, when the final design allows, to store the tiers separately and to assemble them when the cake is needed.
Tip 4. For that truly professional looking finish, and to cover any rough edges, make a decorative border to go around the cake and, particularly, to cover the join between adjoining tiers.
Tip 5. Fondant icing should always be used at room temperature.
Tip 6. For a smooth and flawless result, ensure the working surface, rolling pin and hands are both clean and lint free. jewelry on your fingers or wrists, long hair, long fingernails and fluffy clothing could all cause problems.
Tip 7. A "crumb coat" (a thin layer of icing) should be applied to the cake before the fondant is added. This produces a tacky surface for the fondant icing to stick to.
When contemplating the quantity of fondant icing involved try to allow for having too much icing rather than too little, as leftover icing can be stored and used at a later date.
As a guide, for 3 1/2 inch high cake layers a 12 inch diameter round cake will need about 3 pounds of icing, while a 8 inch diameter square cake will need about 2 1/2 pounds of icing.
For some people fondant cake decorations, in spite of their marvellous appearance, are somewhat bland and this can be solved by adding flavoring, often accompanied with coloring. There are many flavorings available and typically to flavor one pound of icing you can add 1/2 cup of dried, shredded and sweetened coconut, 3 to 5 drops of oil of peppermint or 1/3 cup of hazelnut or peanut butter.