Using fondant with cupcakes

Fondant and gum paste are fun and easy to work with, and cupcake lovers should not be intimidated by them! With the smooth surface that fondant-covered cupcakes present, your decorations can really “pop.” The sky’s the limit, creatively. Working with fondant is a lot like working with clay in terms of the things you can mold and make.

Fondant is an edible concoction involving gelatin, glucose, shortening, glycerin and sugar. You don’t even need to make your own rolled fondant; it’s sold in ready-to-use packages, in white as well as multi packs of pre-tinted pastel, neon, natural or primary colors by Wilton and other companies.

Coat your hands with vegetable shortening and begin kneading the fondant. It needs to be pliable before you can begin to roll it out. If you wish to tint white fondant, add a bit of gel icing color applied with a toothpick in several areas of the piece of fondant (and don’t double-dip your toothpick or it will contaminate the jar!) You could also choose to combine one color of fondant with another, kneading until the color is even, or leaving it with a marbled look. For example, if you find the ready-to-use green fondant too intense, simply knead it together with some white fondant.

cupcake hat

Before rolling out your fondant on a mat or other smooth, clean surface, coat the surface lightly with vegetable shortening or dust it lightly with a mixture of cornstarch and confectioner’s (powdered) sugar.

Be sure to keep your fondant covered with a damp cloth when you’ve set it aside during a decorating session. It dries out quickly. And before you store your excess fondant for later, coat it with vegetable shortening. Then, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in a zip-close plastic bag or an airtight container.

Mixing fondant evenly with gum paste makes it easy to make sturdier decorations. Also, you can dissolve a small chunk of gum paste in a tablespoon of water to make “gum glue,” which is great for brushing on to attach fondant creations to your cake, or to one another. You can make similar glue by just dissolving a bit of fondant in water.

Some people are turned off by the idea of fondant, which is heavily handled by the cake maker (who obviously can wear gloves and take other sanitary measures), while others simply don’t like the taste of it. It’s really a matter of personal preference. Whether you eat the fondant or peel it off and enjoy the cupcake, its smooth surface and striking detail will surely make for a gorgeous presentation.