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Claudia’s Cake! part 1 rolled fondant

My neighbors Cynthia and Trent asked me to make a cake for their mom’s birthday party. Of course I wanted to do it, but as they described the style of cake she wanted I got down right giddy about it. “Something bright, colorful and wildly whimsical” were the words they used to describe her taste. Immediately I thought fondant! It isn’t my favorite thing in the world to eat, but it allows so much creativity with color, shapes and dimensions that you can’t always get with buttercream or other icings. Not to mention they were driving this cake about an hour away and in the heat of summer fondant is a great traveler.

There are a few things to know about fondant, but it really isn’t difficult to work with. I’m going to show you step by step how I put this cake together. You may want to start with something slightly less over-the-top, but maybe not!

What you will need:

Wilton Pure White Rolled Fondant, 24oz [1] (Wilton is easy to work with, but you DO NOT want to eat it. I only use this if the person I’m making the cake for intends to peel off the fondant. Yes, you just peel the entire layer of fondant off and reveal some delicious icing underneath. I’m suggesting you start with Wilton’s product just because it is so easy to use.)

Food Color Soft Gel Paste [2] (Use the gels, not the water based kind you get at the grocery store.)

Food Service Grade Disposable Latex Glove [3] (This will protect your hands from the food coloring.)

Heavy Gauge Clear Vinyl [4] (This is the clear sheet that I roll out the fondant on. Nothing sticks to it and you can lift it up easily and move it around. you can also use a Roll’Pat Pastry Mat [5], but it is much more expensive.)

Rolling Pin

Pastry Wheel [6] (For trimming the fondant around the base of the cake.)

Wooden Dowel Rods 12 Pk [7] (Support the cake if it is more than one layer high.)

Cardboard Rounds [8]


Corn Starch

This is the drawing I did as a guide for the cake. It is helpful to have a plan, even if you don’t end up sticking to it through to the end.

Claudia wanted a chocolate extravaganza, so I made my Devil’s Food [9] with layers of chocolate ganache. I also trimmed the cake so that it was tapered at the bottom, just for a bit more whimsy.

I coated the outside in a thick layer of the ganache. This is what the guests will eat after the fondant is pulled away so you want to make sure there is a nice layer of it.

Smooth the icing out as much as possible before covering with the fondant. Then I cut the cardboard rounds to exactly match the size fo the bottom of the cake. You don’t want cardboard showing.

Mix the fondant with the food coloring to achieve the right color. knead the fondant to distribute the color evenly.

Stretching and turning the dough also helps to mix in the color. I first saw this done on the Jersey shore where they were making taffy, it seems to work equally well for fondant.

Once it is the color you want then dust your vinyl sheet with corn starch. Keep the fondant well covered if not using right away.

Roll the fondant out to about 1/8-inch thick and round.

Pick up the fondant carefully and drape it over the cake.

Carefully stretch the fondant, by gently rubbing and pulling it until it is flat up against the cake. You will now have a large skirt of excess fondant around the base.

Using the pastry cutter, trim off the excess fondant until it is flush with the bottom of the cake.

Smooth the cake with the palms of your hands or a fondant paddle.

If you are stacking the cake you will need to cut wooden dowels that will stand up in the bottom layer and support the top layer. Cut the dowels so they are flush with the fondant, as I did in this picture.

Stack the two layers together and now you are ready to decorate. Next I will show you how to make the flowers.