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My First Fondant Cake: A Beginner's Experience

Updated on January 15, 2016

Actually My First Cake Ever

To me cooking, baking and anything to do with the kitchen has been associated with drudgery and oppression. Since I was a child and the girls were made to wash the dishes after family events and the boys left to fritter their time away I have avoided the kitchen and "women's work". I never expected that one day I would actually be excited about baking a cake and decorating it with fondant. So what changed? I saw pictures of these amazingly designed cakes made out of fondant (at the time had no clue what fondant was). They looked like edible works of art and were breathtaking. It seemed very creative and got my creative juices flowing. I wanted to see how easy or hard making one of these fondant cakes could be, and the best way to find things out it my trying them yourself. So I took the plunge and made my first fondant cake. Below I will show you the steps and missteps I took and the tools I tried.

My Finished Fondant Cake

My Finished Fondant Cake
My Finished Fondant Cake
Mixing the Cake Ingredients
Mixing the Cake Ingredients

The Baking Process

What you have to do before working with the fondant

The first step was to make the cake. You can make the cake from scratch or buy a cake mix and save a few steps. Since I was interested in the decorating process I was not concerned what the cake would taste like and wanted to speed up the process I chose a lemon cake mix that turned out to be yummy.

Using a Cake Mix

When using a cake mix you will need to add some additional ingredients like eggs and oil so make sure you read the box before you start out. I actually forgot to pick up some eggs but luckily a friend let me borrow a few.

Things I learned

Make sure you mix the batter until smooth. If you leave lumps you will create air pockets and it might make your cake crumble when removing from the pan (this happened with the second fondant cake I made).

Yummy Cake Recipes - Starting Your Cake Off on the Right Flavor

While I used a cake mix to make my cake you can always choose to make your cake batter from scratch. Listed below are some tasty cake recipes you can try.

Lemon Cake with Lumps and Peaked Center

Lemon Cake with Lumps and Peaked Center
Lemon Cake with Lumps and Peaked Center

Time to Level the Cake

A Smooth Start is Necessary for Fondant Icing Application

I baked two nine inch cakes. I put the icing on the platter to hold the cake in place and attached the first layer then leveled it. I added more icing to stick the next layer and then leveled it. I covered the whole cake in icing before the cake was ready to receive Fondant.

What I learned

That the hardest part of the whole process was working with the icing after I leveled the cake. Dealing with the icing was frustrating. Cake crumbs kept getting mixed in the icing.

Icing the Cake

Icing the Cake
Icing the Cake

Frustrated with Buttercream Icing? - What I should have done

Not expecting the buttercream icing to be hard to apply I didn't look for a tutorial to help with my application. You see my results above and I really could have used this advice. This is a video tutorial I found on youtube that shows you how to get a smooth buttercream cake finish.

From this video I deduced I did not apply enough frosting or use the right tip with my icing bag. I also found a new use for my glider for caking smoothing.

Next time I will be more prepared for icing my cake with buttercream frosting.

Rolled Fondant: What is it like? - Using the Fondant

Wilton Pure White Rolled Fondant, 1-Pound 5-Ounce
Wilton Pure White Rolled Fondant, 1-Pound 5-Ounce

I had no idea what rolled fondant looked like. I was expecting to see looking like a pita rolled up in a package; instead I found a brick of fondant that looked more like a bar of soap. It was hard to work with at first. It took a lot of kneeding to get it to pliable. I worked with smaller pieces to make it easier and then combined them before I rolled them out using a fondant roller on my mat. I used white fondant but there are a multitude of rolled fondant colors available or you can use dyes with you white fondant.

You have to work the dye in well to get a consistent look.

 

Place the Rolled Fondant on the Cake

Place the Rolled Fondant on the Cake
Place the Rolled Fondant on the Cake
Wilton Roll And Cut Mat
Wilton Roll And Cut Mat

This is a great tool because it shows you how much fondant you have to roll out to cover your cake. I made a 9 inch cake so I rolled out the fondant a few inches larger than I needed . My philosophy is that it is better to have extra than not enough.

 

Fondant Cake for Beginners

Using Fondant

I smoothed my fondant cake and then placed it in the fridge to set for a couple of hours. After I rolled out some blue fondant and wetted the back with water and stuck the blue color to the cake. I smoothed it out, but I was not concerned that the edges on the top of the cake be straight as I was using the blue to create the appearance of a body of water.

My Favorite Resource

I found the articlee entltled "Fondant Cake Decorating: Play-Doh for Grown-Ups" by janet21 very helpful with tips,advice and techniques for working with fondant. It actually inspired me to create my first fondant cake.

Getting Your Decorations to Stick

I used water to attach my decorations and it worked well for me; but wilton recommended the use of a combination of water and gum paste to adhere the decorations more securely.

Wilton Fondant Cake Designs - Rated Easy - Tutorials to help you create your first fondant cake.

Below find fondant cake ideas to get you started on your first fondant cake project. All these projects come from the Wilton website. This website is a great resource for project ideas, available baking pans, and how to tutorials.

Fondant Cake Decorations: Flowers and Bag of Pixie Dust

Fondant Cake Decorations: Flowers and Bag of Pixie Dust
Fondant Cake Decorations: Flowers and Bag of Pixie Dust

Creating Button Flowers - Find the right tool for the job

Wilton Fondant Cut & Press Sets, Button Flower
Wilton Fondant Cut & Press Sets, Button Flower

I used this press to make all the flowers on my fondant cake. I used it to make my decorations out of fondant but you could use gum paste or a combination of the two.

How to use it:

Use the back side to cut a square of fondant. Place the square in the center of the press and push down. Lift up the press and remove excess fondant around the petals and button center. Replace the lid on the press and push down one more time in order to make the details stronger.

What I found:

This is a very easy way to make flowers. I had trouble removing the flowers from the mold, and sometimes I was hit or miss with getting the flower details even though I did follow the directions. I imagine, though, this was more a problems with the person pressing the flowers than the press itself.

 

Fondant Versus Gum Paste Cake Decorations

What is the difference?

Going in to this project I read you could use fondant to decorate the cake so I did, but I heard the term gum paste which could be used interchangeably. I still was curious about the difference between the two decorating mediums.

Here's what I found out when I researched the difference:

Fondant is primarily used to cover the cake but gum paste is usually used to make the cake decorations because of it's durability. Gum paste is elastic and can give your flowers or other decorations a more realistic appearance. Gum paste dries extremely hard while fondant will get hard over time but not as hard as gum paste; however, Wilton recommends a 50/50 blend of fondant and gum paste for you decorations.

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Putting the Decorations Together

Get your fondant cake attached

To attach my decorations to the cake I put water on the back of the decorations. It seemed to adhere fine.

If you do tear a piece of your fondant you can always cover it with a decoration and no one would no know the difference.

I made three decorations on the cake from hand. The big lily pad and the ring sitting on the pad. I added the ring to represent lost things, and placed pixie dust at the base of the cake to represent magic.

Once you have the fondant workable it is much like using modeling clay to mold. If you can make simple decorations using play dough you will be able to easily construct some simple decorations.

Additional Cake Decorating Tools - Learning more creative ideas

Wilton 1907-1107 Set of 10 Gum-Paste Modeling Tools with Storage Case- Discontinued By Manufacturer
Wilton 1907-1107 Set of 10 Gum-Paste Modeling Tools with Storage Case- Discontinued By Manufacturer

I bought this gum paste tool kit to use on my cake. I played around with a few of the tools and utilized a couple when making the cake, but not to any great extent; though, I expect to get more use from these tools as I proceed to make more and more cakes because I read all about the cool uses for these tools in the instruction manual that came with the set.

Without the instructions and explanations of what the tools are used for I would have been so lost.

What I did use was the lifter/smoother, and the tool to make the flower centers look more realistic (though I used it to make my sack of Pixie Dust look more realistic. I played around with the leaf vein tool but didn't need it because I used the press and I tried the rounded tool to make the flower petals look more realistic.

 

Completed Fondant Cake

Completed Fondant Cake
Completed Fondant Cake

Helpful Fondant Decorating Tips - Sites that know how to make cakes look good.

If you are looking for more fondant cake decorating tips these sites have you covered.

Share Your Advice for Decorating with Fondant - How do you decorate your fondant cake?

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    • profile image

      miaponzo 4 years ago

      What an amazing effort, and your fondant turned out beautifully!

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      You are a great cook! Thanks for teaching how to make a fondant cake...Blessed! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I came across your post as I was also researching my first fondant cake! It eases my mind a bit to see how well yours turned out! Thank you for the advise.

    • auntjennie profile image
      Author

      Jen 4 years ago from Canada

      @anonymous: I wish you success with your first fondant cake. I'm sure your niece will love it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      The cake looks amazing! I'm going to make my first fondant cake next week for my niece's birthday, since it is my first one, I've been searching all over the web and getting ideas. I've already bought most of the tools, knowing that it's probably not going to work out so well if I don't spend the extra money.. I just hope my first fondant cake will be a success.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I think your comment was awesome!However, my only recommendation would be to make marshmallow fondant instead of the store bought stuff...It tastes sooo much better!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Use appropriate tools for decorating.

    • auntjennie profile image
      Author

      Jen 5 years ago from Canada

      @anonymous: I always use an undercoat so the fondant has something which to adhere.

    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 5 years ago

      Squidtastic! Beautiful presentation and I love the way your Tinkerbell cake came out:) thanks for sharing this, I would love to make one of these with my granddaughter!

    • Rankography profile image

      Rankography 5 years ago

      Cool lens, my kids and I watch Cake Boss and have talked about trying one of these. I think your lens will be the catalyst and assistant in that process. Blessings to you.

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 5 years ago from Havre de Grace

      Don't know if I could attempt this, but your cake looks great!

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 5 years ago

      Very nice information for who want to learn about fondant. Thanks for the information.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great advice! This will help me a lot!! Thanks!

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Always wanted to try this so I was interested in reading about your first attempt! There is more to it than I thought but your cake turned out amazingly well!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow, amazing for a first try! Congradz! :)

    • retta719 profile image

      Loretta 6 years ago from United States

      Wow! you did an amazing job for your first cake ~ AMAZING! Congrats on the beautiful and delicious accomplishment ;-)

    • profile image

      anilsaini 6 years ago

      nice lens

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 6 years ago

      What a beautiful cake...these seem to be works of art.

    • privresearch profile image

      privresearch 6 years ago

      Congratulations! If this is your first fondant cake you should think of starting a business! great job!

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      Congratulations on a delightful cake!

    • Janet2221 profile image

      Janet2221 6 years ago

      Beautiful! It was so wonderful to hear that my lens inspired you. :)

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 6 years ago from California

      I am really impressed at your creation! I am lucky if I can bake a cake and frost it decently. This is beautiful...almost too neat to eat!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What a fantastic cake! Bravo!! I've heard of fondant and always wondered how it worked. Thanks for the great explanation!

    • TeacherRenee profile image

      TeacherRenee 6 years ago

      I can't believe that was your first try with fondant! It's beautiful!!!

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Take a look at that! Beautiful!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      It looks so professional. Great job on the cake decorating.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      Absolutely gorgeous!!! I am more than impressed! Thank you for all of the helpful tips for the rest of us too. Angel Blessed!

    • seashell2 profile image

      seashell2 6 years ago

      So sweet, you did an awesome job, I'm like to try this one day! :-)

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

      Beautiful cake but too much work for me. I am not a kitchen person but can appreciate the work that went into the cake. If I ever decide to do a Fondant Cake, this will be a great reference source.

    • profile image

      hamshi5433 6 years ago

      Fondant cakes are unique! I love the step by step pictures of your fondant cake process. They`re a bit too strong to consume though, but look beautiful for any occasion.