Covering A Cake With Fondant

Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Recipes | 2 comments

When I started my business, my biggest challenge was learning to properly cover a cake with fondant. I either rolled the fondant to thick, or I pulled the fondant too quickly and tore it and had to start all over, or (every decorator’s nightmare) I overworked the fondant and it refused to behave! True story, this happened to me at around 1am when I was working on a baptism cake. The fondant refused to spread properly, and I was unable to purchase more fondant until 8 am the following morning. The cake was due at 10am, I never went through so much stress! But the cake was delivered on time, and there were no complaints!

But let’s move on to the picture tutorial. The cake pictured is a 12″ round cake, about 5 in high.

#1 rule for measuring fondant: measure the height and diameter of the cake, add the two values, add 3″ and that’s the diameter of the fondant you need to roll. For example, my cake was 12″ in diameter, 5″ in height, so that gives me a total of 17″. Always give yourself 3″ of play room to adjust the fondant properly. In this case, my fondant was 20″ in diameter.

1. Roll out your fondant on a table dusted with powdered sugar (this prevents the fondant from sticking and tearing). Always roll in one direction, and lift the fondant off the table every once in a while to prevent sticking. Keep in mind that the top side of the fondant is the side that will be visible on your cake! Make sure your cake has already been frosted with buttercream before placing the fondant on the cake! Also, using a lazy susan or turn-table makes this job a lot easier.

2. Carefully lift the fondant from the table. Patience is KEY in this step, because you don’t want to tear your fondant. Before placing the fondant on the cake, try to measure the center point of the fondant to match the center of the cake. Gently place the fondant onto the cake.

3. Using a fondant smoother (bottom left of the image), smooth out the top of the cake by applying firm pressure on the smoother. Dusting the smoother with powdered sugar helps prevent any knicks or tears. This is the challenging part. Start smoothing down the sides of the cake. This part requires a lot of practice and patience, as you will have to keep playing with the fondant, adjusting it away from the cake and smoothing up (if you smooth down you will stretch and tear the fondant). Patiently work your way around the cake until you get a nicely smoothed cake.

4. Place on hand on top of the cake, and using a pizza cutter, trim away the excess fondant by holding the pizza cutter firmly in place and turning the cake on the turn-table. Don’t cut the fondant all the way to the border of the cake, because you will need to re-smooth the fondant and make adjustments.

5.Once you smoothed the cake again and assured a clean look, trim the excess of the fondant one more time with the pizza cutter.

Voila! You now have a cake covered with fondant. Practice definitely makes perfect. My first cake took me about an hour to cover with fondant (and it was an 8″ cake). After many cakes, I got enough practice to cover this 12″ cake in 10 minutes 🙂

I know the pictures aren’t as great as a video tutorial, so I will plan to upload a video in the near future!

Hope this inspires you to give fondant a chance!

Happy baking,



  1. Wow you described it so well that I actually want to try it myself. I love these tutorials, makes you realize all the work that goes into making a cake. It is a true craft.

    • yeah it took me ages to learn to cover a cake with fondant, when I started out it was something I would dread. Inevitably the fondant would tear or just look horrendous. Practice does make perfect and use a dummy to practice on ..this makes it easy and fast and you don’t have to bake a cake. Cake decorating is a true art and unless you try it, most people do not even realise that….nice tutorial…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *