How to Make Fondant for Cake Decorating

The art of cake decorating has always been an integral part of any celebration. Whether it’s a birthday, wedding, or anniversary, a beautifully decorated cake can instantly elevate the mood and make the occasion more special. One essential element in cake decoration is fondant, a versatile and pliable icing that allows for endless creativity and design possibilities.

Fondant plays a crucial role in cake decorating as it provides a smooth and flawless surface to work on. It acts as a blank canvas for bakers and decorators to showcase their artistic talents by sculpting, shaping, and adding intricate details to their creations. From elegant wedding cakes to whimsical birthday designs, fondant adds that professional touch and wow-factor that sets these cakes apart.

In this article, we will delve into the world of fondant for cake decorating. We will explore its basics, learn how to make it from scratch using readily available ingredients, and reveal tips and tricks to achieve the perfect texture.

Additionally, we will guide you through the process of applying fondant to your cake with precision and finesse. Finally, we will discuss troubleshooting common issues that may arise when working with fondant and share ideas for adding flavors, colors, decorations, and embellishments.

Join us as we embark on this creative journey in cake decorating with homemade fondant. Let’s celebrate the joy of baking and discover how this versatile icing can transform ordinary cakes into stunning works of art. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or just starting out in the world of confectionery delight, this article is your go-to resource for crafting breathtakingly beautiful cakes using fondant as your secret ingredient.

The Basics

Fondant is a versatile and popular ingredient in cake decorating. Understanding its properties and how to properly use it is essential for creating beautiful and professional-looking cakes.

Fondant is a type of icing that can be rolled out into a smooth sheet, which is then used to cover cakes or create decorative shapes. It has a pliable texture and can be molded into various designs, making it perfect for creating intricate details on cakes. Unlike buttercream frosting, fondant provides a smooth and flawless finish, giving cakes a polished and professional look.

One of the advantages of using fondant in cake decorating is its ability to provide a clean canvas for creative designs. Fondant can be dyed to any color imaginable, allowing decorators to match the theme or colors of an event. It also holds up well in different weather conditions, making it suitable for outdoor events where buttercream may melt or become unstable.

Another advantage of fondant is its longevity. Cakes covered with fondant have a longer shelf life compared to those covered with buttercream, as the layer of fondant acts as a barrier against air and moisture, helping to preserve the freshness of the cake inside.

When working with fondant, it’s important to keep in mind that it can dry out quickly if not handled properly. To prevent this from happening, fondant should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap when not in use, and any leftover scraps should be immediately sealed in an airtight container.

To achieve the best results with fondant, it’s important to use high-quality ingredients and follow a proper recipe. In the next section, we will delve into the essential components needed for making homemade fondant from scratch.

Advantages of FondantDisadvantages of Fondant
– Smooth and flawless finish – Can be challenging to work with for beginners
– Versatile for creating intricate designs – Can dry out quickly if not handled properly
– Long shelf life, preserving freshness of the cake – Some people find the taste less enjoyable compared to buttercream

Gathering the Ingredients

Making fondant from scratch requires a few key ingredients that are essential for achieving the smooth and pliable texture needed for cake decorating. These ingredients can often be found in your pantry or easily purchased at your local grocery store.

The first ingredient you will need is confectioners’ sugar, also known as icing sugar or powdered sugar. This finely ground sugar is the base of the fondant and provides the sweetness and structure necessary for its consistency. It is important to sift the confectioners’ sugar before using it to eliminate any lumps that could affect the smoothness of the fondant.

Another crucial ingredient is gelatin, which helps give the fondant its elasticity and allows it to hold its shape when manipulated. You will need unflavored powdered gelatin, which can usually be found in the baking aisle of most supermarkets. Make sure to follow the instructions on the gelatin package when preparing it for use in your fondant recipe.

Liquid components are also necessary to create a workable fondant mixture. Typically, fondant recipes call for water and corn syrup or glucose syrup. These liquids help bind all the dry ingredients together and contribute to the desired pliability and stretchiness of the fondant.

Lastly, a small amount of vegetable shortening or butter is often included in homemade fondant recipes. This fat helps prevent the fondant from becoming too sticky during kneading and rolling, making it easier to handle while decorating your cake.

Confectioners’ sugar
Unflavored powdered gelatin
Corn syrup or glucose syrup
Vegetable shortening or butter

By gathering these essential ingredients, you are ready to move on to the next step – following a step-by-step guide on how to make fondant from scratch.

Recipe Revealed

Fondant is a popular choice for cake decorators due to its smooth and versatile texture. While it can be easily purchased, making fondant from scratch allows for more customization and creativity. In this section, we will reveal a step-by-step guide on how to make fondant at home.

Before diving into the recipe, it’s important to gather all the necessary ingredients. This includes confectioners’ sugar, gelatin, glycerin, water, and flavoring extracts. These components work together to create the desired consistency and taste of the fondant.

To make the fondant, start by hydrating the gelatin in water until it becomes soft. Then heat the mixture until the gelatin dissolves completely. Next, add glycerin and flavoring extracts to enhance the taste of your fondant. Slowly incorporate confectioners’ sugar into the mixture until a dough-like consistency is achieved.

Once you have prepared the fondant dough, knead it on a clean surface dusted with confectioners’ sugar to prevent sticking. This step is crucial for achieving a smooth and elastic texture. It may take some time and effort to achieve the desired consistency, so don’t be afraid to knead vigorously.

After kneading, wrap the fondant in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container until ready to use. Before application, make sure that your cake is properly prepared by leveling and frosting it with a thin layer of buttercream icing.

Confectioners’ sugar4 cups
Gelatin1 tablespoon
Glycerin3 tablespoons
Water1/2 cup
Flavoring extracts (optional)To taste

Mastering the Techniques

Achieving a smooth and elastic texture is key to working with fondant for cake decorating. With the right techniques and tricks, you can create professional-looking cakes that are not only beautiful but also perfectly textured. Here are some tips to help you master the art of working with fondant:

  1. Kneading: Kneading the fondant is an essential step in achieving a smooth texture. Start by dusting your work surface with powdered sugar or cornstarch to prevent sticking. Then, take a small piece of fondant and knead it in your hands, applying gentle pressure. Stretch, fold, and repeat until the fondant becomes soft and pliable.
  2. Temperature control: Fondant can be affected by temperature changes, so it’s important to keep it at the right consistency for optimal results. If your fondant becomes too sticky or soft, you can refrigerate it for a few minutes to firm it up. Conversely, if it becomes too stiff, microwave it for a few seconds or knead in some vegetable shortening to soften it.
  3. Rolling techniques: When rolling out fondant, use powdered sugar or cornstarch to prevent sticking rather than using flour which can make the fondant dry and dull in appearance. Roll out the fondant evenly using a rolling pin from the center outward in all directions to ensure an even thickness. Lift and rotate the fondant often while rolling to avoid sticking.
  4. Smoothing techniques: To achieve a smooth finish on your cake covered with fondant, start by gently laying the rolled-out piece over your cake and carefully smoothing down the sides with your hands before using a smoother tool to remove any wrinkles or air bubbles. Use long sweeping motions from top to bottom until you achieve a sleek look.
  5. Adding elasticity: Fondant that is too stiff can be difficult to work with and may crack or tear. If you find that your fondant is not elastic enough, try adding a small amount of glycerin or corn syrup to help improve its flexibility.

Remember, practice makes perfect when it comes to working with fondant. Experiment with different techniques and take your time to ensure a smooth and elastic texture. With patience and persistence, you’ll soon be creating stunning cake designs using homemade fondant.

Adding Flavors and Colors

Adding flavors and colors to your fondant can take your cake decorating to the next level, adding a personal touch and enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of your creations. There are numerous ways to infuse flavor into your fondant, as well as methods to achieve a wide range of vibrant colors.

When it comes to adding flavors to your fondant, one popular method is incorporating extracts or oils. Vanilla extract is a classic choice that can add a subtle yet delicious taste to your fondant. Other popular options include almond, lemon, or peppermint extract, depending on the flavor profile you desire. Simply add a few drops of the desired extract or oil to your fondant mixture during the mixing process and knead it in until well incorporated.

To add more complex flavors, consider using flavored syrups such as caramel or strawberry syrup. These syrups not only add flavor but also lend moisture and sweetness to your fondant. Add a small amount at a time while kneading until you achieve the desired taste and consistency.

When it comes to coloring fondant, food coloring gels or powders are commonly used. These concentrated forms of color provide intense hues without affecting the texture of the fondant. Start by adding a small amount of food coloring gel or powder to your fondant mixture and knead it in thoroughly. Gradually add more until you reach the shade you desire.

Alternatively, you can use natural ingredients such as fruit juices, pureed fruits, or vegetable powders for coloring your fondant. For example, beetroot powder can be used for achieving deep pink or red shades, while spinach powder can be used for green tones. Remember to start with small amounts and gradually increase as needed to control the intensity of the color.

Overall, adding flavors and colors to your fondant allows you to unleash your creativity and make unique cakes that not only look stunning but also taste delicious. Experiment with different flavor combinations and color schemes to create one-of-a-kind designs that are sure to impress.

Rolling and Covering

Once you have successfully made your homemade fondant, the next step is to apply it onto your cake. This section will guide you through the process of rolling and covering your cake with fondant, ensuring a smooth and professional finish.

Step 1: Preparing Your Work Surface

Before you begin, make sure you have a clean and dry work surface. Dust it lightly with powdered sugar or cornstarch to prevent the fondant from sticking. Roll out a large piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat to protect your work surface and make it easier to lift the rolled-out fondant.

Step 2: Kneading and Rolling Out Fondant

Start by kneading your fondant until it is pliable and easy to work with. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on your hands if the fondant is becoming sticky. Once the fondant is soft and smooth, use a rolling pin to roll it out into a thin, even circle or rectangle shape.


  • Roll from the center of the fondant outward in all directions
  • Turn the fondant frequently as you roll to ensure an even thickness
  • If the edges start cracking or tearing, gently rub them with your fingers to smooth them out
  • Spray water lightly on top of the rolled-out fondant if it starts drying out during this process
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Step 3: Applying Fondant to Your Cake

To transfer the rolled-out fondant onto your cake, carefully lift one edge using a rolling pin or by draping it over both hands. Position it over the center of the cake and slowly unroll it across the top. Gently press down on the sides of the cake while smoothing out any air bubbles or wrinkles as you go.


  • If the fondant is not large enough to cover the entire cake, roll it out bigger next time or use fondant pieces to cover any gaps
  • Trim off any excess fondant at the base of the cake using a sharp knife
  • If you encounter any tears or imperfections, smooth them out with your hands or a fondant smoother

Remember, practice makes perfect when it comes to rolling and covering cakes with fondant. Don’t be discouraged if your first few attempts are not flawless. With time and experience, you will become more skilled at achieving a polished and professional-looking finish.

Creating Stunning Designs

Sculpting and shaping fondant is a crucial skill for creating stunning designs on your cakes. Whether you want to make intricate flowers, elegant ribbons, or fun figurines, mastering these techniques will take your cake decorating to the next level. In this section, we will explore some of the most popular techniques for sculpting and shaping fondant.

Making Fondant Figures

One of the most exciting aspects of cake decorating with fondant is the ability to create three-dimensional figures. Creating fondant figures requires patience, precision, and a good understanding of proportion. Start by kneading your fondant until it becomes pliable and easy to work with. Then, shape small portions of fondant into balls or cones as a base for your figure.

To bring your figure to life, use small tools such as toothpicks or molding tools for adding details like facial features or clothing folds. Remember to work slowly and pay attention to the smallest details. If you’re new to sculpting fondant figures, it’s helpful to have reference images or figurines nearby for inspiration.

Texturing Techniques

Creating textures on fondant can add depth and visual interest to your cake design. There are various ways to achieve different textures depending on what effect you want to create. One technique is called embossing, where you press textured objects onto rolled-out fondant before applying it onto the cake.

Another technique involves using impression mats or silicone molds specifically designed for sculpting fondant. These molds have intricate patterns that can easily be transferred onto your rolled-out fondant. Additionally, you can create texture by hand-painting your design with edible paint or dusting it with edible powder colors after shaping the fondant.

Using Cutters and Molds

Cutters and molds are essential tools when it comes to shaping fondant into desired forms quickly and accurately. Cutters come in various shapes and sizes and are great for creating neat edges or cutting out specific patterns or motifs. Make sure to dust the cutters with powdered sugar or cornstarch before using them to prevent the fondant from sticking.

Molds, on the other hand, help create intricate designs and patterns without much effort. Simply press rolled-out fondant into a mold, smooth it out, then carefully remove it to reveal a beautifully shaped piece. Molds can be used for creating various elements like flowers, leaves, lace patterns, or even entire cake toppers.

By experimenting with different sculpting and shaping techniques using fondant, you can turn your cakes into edible works of art. Practice these techniques regularly, and don’t be afraid to try new ideas and push your creative boundaries. With time and patience, you’ll become more proficient in sculpting and shaping fondant, allowing you to bring your cake decorating visions to life.


Common Problems with Fondant

While making fondant can be a fun and rewarding experience, it is not uncommon for beginners to encounter a few hiccups along the way. Thankfully, many common problems with fondant can be easily resolved with the right techniques and solutions. Here are some of the most common issues that you may come across when working with fondant:

Cracking or Tearing

One of the most frustrating issues when working with fondant is cracking or tearing. This can occur if the fondant is rolled too thin or if it becomes too dry.

To avoid this problem, make sure to roll your fondant to a consistent thickness and keep it covered while you work. If you notice cracks or tears in your fondant, try applying a small amount of vegetable shortening to your hands and gently kneading it into the affected area until smooth.

Sticking to the Work Surface

Another common problem is when the fondant sticks to the work surface, making it difficult to lift and transfer onto the cake. To prevent this issue, lightly dust your work surface with powdered sugar or cornstarch before rolling out your fondant. Additionally, using a non-stick mat or silicone rolling pin can help prevent sticking.

Air Bubbles

Air bubbles can also be problematic when working with fondant. These bubbles can cause unsightly bulges on the surface of your cake. To prevent air bubbles from forming, make sure to roll out your fondant evenly and smooth it down gently over the cake’s surface. If air bubbles do appear, use a small pin or needle to prick them and then smooth out the area.

Solutions for Fondant-related Issues

Fortunately, there are several solutions for common problems that arise while working with fondant:

Dry Fondant

If your fondant is too dry and cracking, add a small amount of vegetable shortening or glycerin to the mixture. Knead it in until the fondant becomes more pliable and easier to work with.

Watery Fondant

On the other hand, if your fondant is too wet and sticky, add powdered sugar gradually while kneading until the desired consistency is achieved. The additional powdered sugar will help absorb excess moisture.

Sagging or Dripping Fondant

If you find that your fondant is sagging or dripping on the sides of your cake, it may be due to excessive humidity or warmth in your kitchen. To solve this issue, place your cake in the refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up the fondant. This will help prevent any further drooping or slipping.

By troubleshooting these common issues and utilizing the appropriate solutions, you can overcome any obstacles that come your way when working with fondant. With practice and patience, you’ll soon become an expert at using fondant to create beautifully decorated cakes.

Finishing Touches

Once you have covered your cake with fondant and achieved the desired smooth finish, it’s time to add those final touches that will take your cake from ordinary to extraordinary. This section will guide you through various ways to decorate your fondant-covered cake with additional embellishments.

Piping and Detailing

Piping is a popular technique in cake decorating that involves using a piping bag fitted with various tips to create intricate designs and patterns on the cake’s surface. You can use royal icing, buttercream, or even tinted melted chocolate for piping. Practice different piping techniques such as dots, swirls, scrolls, and rosettes to add detail and dimension to your cake.

Edible Decorations

Edible decorations are a fun way to add visual interest and personality to your fondant-covered cake. Consider using edible glitters, pearls, sequins, or sprinkles in coordinating colors to enhance the overall look of your creation. You can also make edible flowers or shapes using gum paste or modeling chocolate. These decorations can be pre-made or created directly on the cake.

Fondant Accents

You can further enhance your fondant-covered cake by adding fondant accents such as bows, ribbons, cutout shapes, or molded figures. These accents can be made ahead of time using additional fondant colored with gel food coloring for vibrant results. Use molds or cutters for precise shapes or practice hand sculpting to create unique designs that match the theme of your cake.

Painting with Food Coloring

Painting with food coloring allows you to add depth and dimension to your fondant-covered cake. Mix gel food coloring with a clear alcohol-based extract such as vodka or lemon extract for a paint-like consistency. Use small brushes to apply the colored mixture onto the fondant, creating patterns, gradients, or even hand-painted illustrations. This technique is especially useful for adding fine details or replicating specific designs.

By incorporating these finishing touches and embellishments to your fondant-covered cake, you can achieve a beautiful and personalized masterpiece that will impress any occasion. Remember to experiment with different techniques and decorations to unleash your creativity and make each cake uniquely yours.


In conclusion, making fondant from scratch is a rewarding and empowering skill to have for anyone interested in cake decorating. With the knowledge gained from this article, you now have the tools and techniques to create your own homemade fondant that can be tailored to your specific taste and vision.

By understanding the basics of fondant, gathering the necessary ingredients, following our step-by-step recipe, and mastering the techniques for achieving a smooth texture, you can confidently embark on your cake-decorating journey.

Adding flavors and colors to your fondant allows for a personal touch and endless creativity. Whether it’s a classic vanilla flavor or something more exotic like lavender or matcha green tea, experimenting with different flavors will elevate your cakes to new heights. Similarly, incorporating vibrant colors into your fondant opens up a world of possibilities for creating visually stunning designs.

Once your fondant is ready, rolling it out correctly and applying it smoothly onto your cake is essential. Taking the time to cover your cake with precision will result in a flawless finish that will impress both yourself and others. Moreover, don’t be afraid to explore sculpting and shaping techniques with fondant – it truly is a versatile medium that allows you to bring any design imaginable to life.

As with any new skill, troubleshooting is bound to happen. The good news is that through experience and practice, you’ll be able to identify common problems such as cracking or excess moisture and find solutions that work best for you. Remember not to get discouraged if things don’t go perfectly at first; making mistakes is part of the learning process.

Finally, we encourage you to put the finishing touches on your decorated cake by adding additional decorations and embellishments. The possibilities are endless – from piped buttercream flowers to intricate sugar sculptures – allowing you to truly showcase your creativity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What ingredients is fondant made of?

Fondant is primarily made of sugar, water, and glucose or corn syrup. These ingredients are combined and cooked together until they reach a specific temperature, usually around 240 degrees Fahrenheit (115 degrees Celsius).

Once cooked, the mixture is then cooled and kneaded until it forms a smooth dough-like consistency. Other optional ingredients can be added for flavor or color, such as vanilla extract or food coloring.

How to make fondant for decoration?

To make fondant for decoration, you will need to start by adding sugar, water, and glucose or corn syrup to a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it reaches the desired temperature of around 240 degrees Fahrenheit (115 degrees Celsius). Stir the mixture continuously to prevent burning. Once it has reached the correct temperature, remove it from heat and allow it to cool for several minutes.

Then transfer the mixture onto a clean surface and start kneading it until the fondant becomes smooth and pliable. If needed, add in any additional flavorings or colors during the kneading process. Finally, wrap the fondant tightly in plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours before using.

What is a good substitute for fondant?

A good substitute for fondant in cake decoration could be marzipan or modeling chocolate. Marzipan is made from ground almonds or almond paste mixed with powdered sugar and egg whites or glucose syrup. It has a soft texture that can be easily molded into various shapes and can also be colored with food coloring if desired.

Modeling chocolate is made by melting chocolate and combining it with corn syrup to create a pliable dough-like consistency that can be shaped into different designs. Both marzipan and modeling chocolate offer similar versatility to fondant when used for decorating cakes or other pastries but may have slightly different flavors and textures that could complement certain desserts better than traditional fondant.

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