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Ok, well, I have used fondant in the past, and was not successful, but have not given up. I used it again this past week, and more problems. Not sure what I am doing wrong, so let me start from the beginning:

 

My cake idea was for a two tier cake. Bottom would be 10 inch, top was a 6 inch. Cake was double stacked with only one layer of filling. Didn't want to go too high. It was the Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake (Very Moist) filled with Cream Cheese frosting, drizzled with Chcocolate Ganache, and topped with fresh strawberries. Then the whole thing was dirty iced with Cream Cheese frosting. I place both cakes in the fridge overnight to set. The next day I iced with Cream Cheese, smoothed sides and top, and placed back in the fridge overnight. At this point I was pretty proud of myself for doing such a good job on the smoothing. Patted myself on the back a little too early.

 

I noticed my wooden rolling pin had a curve to it over many years of use, and decided to go buy a PVC pipe at the local hardware store. Washed it real good to make sure it was sterile, and was ready to go to town. Started to roll out the fondant (Satin Ice Pink Fondant) on my Ateca Silicon Mat. I made sure I kneaded what I needed, and it had that Play-Doh like feel to it. I was really excited cause it seemed to me things were going to be good. No Powdered Sugar, No Corn Starch as per a video I saw with Julie Bashore on the Satin Ice website. (Trust me, I had issues with the PS last year.) So it took me a while but I was going as fast I could to get it rolled out since I know time is important, and got it out to about a 20 inch circle (cake was 10 inch and with 4 inch sides came out to 18 so decided to play it safe and go with 20 inches).

 

Got it ready, moved my mat, pulled the cake out of the fridge, and layed the mat on top of the cake. Started to peel, and it kept tearing on the sides. Would not come off clean from the mat at the edges. I was hoping it would get better, but kept getting worse. I decided to keep going. Got the mat off, and moved out of the way. I noticed the air bubbles on the top and started to smooth with the palm of my hand as instructed by so many tutorial videos, but this was not happening. The top was very sticky, tacky, and seemed to be almost like it was wet. The only thing I can think of was the cold cake/icing was causing the fondant to absorb some condensation. Not sure. I decided to move onto the sides since I was planning to put decorations on the top and would cover the air pockets.

 

Sides had same issue. Tried to lift and and lay flat to get the so called "Pleats" that were forming out, but it was so sticky/tacky, that the fondant was sticking to anything it touched. I thought maybe it had to do something with the heat of my hands so got out my fondant smoother from Wilton, and that was worse. It wanted to stick to that and started to pull to tear in different spots. So, I decided to make the best of it, and just leave the pleats. I tried to smooth them out, and pretended they were drapes.

 

The longer I had the cake out, it was getting this almost gooey appearance to it, so while I was getting my decorations together, I put it back in the fridge. I cut a strip of fondant to put around the bottom tier to hide the areas that had torn while pulling the fondant to get it to lay flat. Put my decorations on, and got it back in the fridge.

 

Luckily for me the decorations looked so good that it drew the attention away from all the issues. I was not happy, and felt I failed my daughter on her birthday cake, which made me upset, sad, and frustrated. She did give me a big hug, and told me it was her best cake ever, which helped out. Not to mention that so many at her party were impressed at the gumpaste roses I made (for the first time BTW), so I guess it wasn't so bad.

 

I am just not sure what happened. Was it the Cream Cheese frosting since it is creamy and not as hardening as Buttercream? Buttercream had way too much of a sweet taste which is why I didn't use it, but should that have been used instead? Was the cake too long in the fridge? Did I not work the fondant correctly? I am just a little frustrated since I see so many people use it and talk about how easy it is to use. Not sure what to do, but I do know this, I don't give up. Trying to find a way to do this without all the headaches. I wasn't originally going to post a pic of the cake, but I have posted it anyway only cause of the roses I made. It is under my photos section on my profile. Thanks for any advice in advance.

 

- J.D.

 

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Hi J.D. - it sounds to me like a humidity issue.  I've had the same problem once before when I decided I didn't need my air conditioning on and it was a disaster!  I refrigerate my cakes before fondanting as well, and the most recent wedding cake I did was covered in Cream Cheese icing under the fondant, so I don't think that was your problem.  Was it hot and/or humid when you were working with the fondant? And what kind of fondant were you using?  Sometimes if you read the side of the fondant container it will say to knead in a little shortening before rolling. (I know Fondx says that.)  I use my homemade marshmallow fondant and usually use a cornstarch/powdered sugar mix in a pounce bag to coat my surface before rolling.

Sorry you had trouble, but it sounds like the cake was a big hit!!!

Did you use a crusting cream cheese frosting? It could have been the humidity.  It could have been the Satin Ice, several people have had trouble with it.  I always put my cakes in the fridge, but once the fondant is on - and you take the cake out of the fridge, there is a period of time that you can't mess with it, because of the condensation.  The condensation will dry, then you can manipulate the fondant, but it takes a couple of hours.

Good Luck and don't give up, it just takes practice, trial, and error!   :-)

Just thought I'd throw in my opinion.  I'm not a super good fondant user.  I have not used SatinIce nor any mat so take my thought with a grain of salt :)

It sounds to me like maybe you rolled the fondant too thin. 

I recently purchased the Mat, and for the first time since beginning cake decorating, I actually LOVE working with fondant!  I switched from Wilton's fondant to Satin Ice and haven't had any troubles.  You may need to let the cake come to room temp before covering with fondant because of the humidity.
Afternoon, Humidity can be a problem.  I DO use cornstarch with satin ice and roll it out on a metal table, but any smooth surface would be fine.  I use a fondant rolling pin that has some weight to it - wilton makes a nice one.  You cannot roll it too long or it will be dry (you can use a bit of shortening to soften and smooth the texture out if it gets dryish).  You also dont want it to be too thin either - I usually try to keep it on a thicker scale (1/8" is too thin and 1/4 inch is about max) to allow enough material to be substantial when moving or stretching to smooth it out.  There are some GREAT videos out on you tube also for techniques.
I also hate working with fondant.  I have all the same problems.  My last cake after several tries I just removed fondant, re did the frosting and didn't fondant at all.  I will take the advise of everyone who commented on your post.  Good luck to you. (and me)  I'm going to do a practice cake tomorrow.

Wow! I wasn't expecting such a large response. :) But I am glad I did, cause now I have a chance to hear from those of you who are much more expereinced than I am, and I see where maybe I may have had some issues. I do know one thing is for sure. I might want to practice with my fondant I have before the next cake as to alleviate the stress of trying to get the cake done before the party, and prevent my stomach from getting tied up in knots hoping that everyone will be happy. :)

 

So not to the replies of so many wonderful and helpful hints:

 

@ Eileen S, Thanks for the help. I think you are right about the humidity. In our apartment it isn't that hot, but I neglected to check the clock, which happens to be like a weather station. I really didn't think it would be a problem since I have worked in our kitchen the same time last year, but then again, I had the same problems before. Hmmmm... HA! Funny how it takes someone else to point it out before we realize ourselves. I was using the Pink Satin Ice Fondant in the 2 lb. tub. I ordered from The Baker's Kitchen since they actually ship to an APO address. I use the silcone mat, so I was told not to use any cornstarch or powdered sugar, especially seeing as that is what I did last year, and my fondant got so dry it didn't work anymore, and I had to throw it all away.

 

@ Karen Underdahl, Thanks for the support! It was a big hit, especially when people were clammering over getting an extra large piece to take home for the next day. I am a perfectionist unfortunatelym, and that may be my downfall when making these cakes. I am the best I can be at my job, so I try to do the same at making cakes which is right now a hobby. I am not sure what Crusting Cream Chees frosting is, but I used a cream cheese frosting recipe I think I got from Kraft foods online. I believe in what you are saying, and will try ot practice more before it is time for another cake. By that time it is a little too late, and I need to get it done, so maybe I will get me one of those styro dummies, and just play around with the fondant till I get the hang of it.

 

@ Diedre F. Cousin, I saw the Mat. It looks awesome, but it was too late when I saw the demo online. I had already purchased the Ateca Blue mat. I hvae been considering getting that one, but haven't made a final decision yet.  I used Wilton boxed fondant twice before, and it seemed easier than the Satin Ice brand, but the taste was not very good at all. I will try my best to hang in there with this fondant since it makes the cakes looks so nice, but it is still frustrating. Hopefully I will get the hang of it soon. Don't need any grey hairs!! HA!!

 

@ Lynne Salmon, You may have a point on the thin part seeing as according to Julie Bashore, you want your fondant thin so it takes on the taste of the frosting. I may have, in some areas, rolled to the point I could almost see the blue mat through the Hot Pink fondant. This meaning, I was getting close to Julie Bahsore's standard of 1/32 of an inch. Probably too thin for a beginner like myself. Right? HA! Thanks for throwing your opinion in there, I can use all the help I can get. :)

 

@ CJ Clark, I think this humidity thing is definately soemthing I need to try to work with. I will have to also see about the cake not being so cold beofre covering. Maybe the cold cake was cooling the fondant so quickly that it was causing the issue from the inside out. I will also look into the Mat. Just wish I would have seen it sooner before I made the purchase of the Blue Mat.

 

@ Heather Hascall, I tried powdered sugar last year on our glass table, and unfortunately it started to dry out very quickly. Of course I didn't have a sock or something to put the PS in, so I just sprinkled it on the table. Made a mess, and my wife was not happy about it either. :) Not to mention that me wearing socks in the tiled kitchen with PS on the floor made for one slippery floor. I must a have fell at leats 3 times right into the push-up position. HA!! This is why I decided to go with the mat and try without the PS, but I still ended up with some dry issues when peeling off the mat. I also believe you are right with the pin. I think the PVC pipe I had was the wrong kind, but overseas here we don't have a big choice on PVC, and it is not so thick like the white ones stateside.  I think I will try like you said with a thicker amount next time to prevent the issue with it getting too thin. Maybe after I have a little more experience under my belt, then I could test the thinner way, but for now, to save on the nerves department, I think 1/8 like you said should be the farthest I should go. Thanks again!!

 

@ Kimberly Eskine, Us problem children with fondant gotta stick together right? HA!! Maybe we will be better next time, until then good luck to you too, and hopefully our next attempt, with the help of this website,  will end up looking much better. ;)

 

One last thing I wanted to say is that I noticed I have a tendency to write a lot, so sorry if it becomes a pain to read through everything, but I like to be throrough. Oh BTW, I also noticed I have a lot of military jargon in my writing as well. Please excuse that, but it happens when you are in the Army, so if something is not fully understandable, then just ask, and I will correct myself.

 

Thanks again to everyone!!!

 

- J.D.

 

This is the recipe for cream cheese frosting I use, and it has worked really well under fondant.

Crusting Cream Cheese frosting

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

1 pound cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract

3 1/2 pounds powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream- butter, shortening, cream cheese and extracts. Gradually add powdered sugar and salt. Beat on low speed until nice and creamy.

 

This is a stiff frosting that will be slightly ivory (from the butter). 

JD, I use a silicone mat and I do add shortening to it - tiny amount though.  I rub some on my hands, just enough to coat and then rub the mat.  You shouldn't be able to see the shortening on the mat.  You may not need to add the shortening every time depending on how you maintain your mat.  I don't scrub mine everytime. 

 

One thing I do is begin to roll out my fondant, when I get it half the size I need I pick it up and reposition it on the mat.  If it sticks then I know I will have a problem later so I fix it at that point instead of finding out when my fondant won't release to the cake.

 

J.D.       I think you may want to try (MMF) marshmallow fondant. It is sooooo much tastier than any of the pre-made fondant you can purchase. It's easy to make, easy to color, flavor,  and work with. Like you I haven't been decorating cakes that long and am self-taught, but I have to say the MMF saved my sanity!!! Don't give up and just keep trying. Good luck!!!!

J.D.  first of all thanks for your service to our country!

I had all the same problems that you did, am also a perfectionist.  I was determined to get this right.  It is a matter of practice and trying different things.  I vote for The Mat.  Since it has a top and bottom the fondant does not dry out and you have lots of time to roll it our just right.  They have a great video which has tips about fondant that you can use even if you don't get The Mat.  It is on youtube.com, by sweetwise.  Just search for The Mat.  I always use MM fondant, great taste and you can put it in microwave BRIEFLY to soften it up.  It will then roll out like a dream.  Take heart, my last cake was my best.  Good luck! 

Thanks Karen!! I will try this out. I do have another cake from one of the guys here, who asked if I would make a red velvet with cream cheese frosting for their wedding anniversary. Thanks again for all the help!

 

- J.D.

Karen Underdahl said:

This is the recipe for cream cheese frosting I use, and it has worked really well under fondant.

Crusting Cream Cheese frosting

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

1 pound cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract

3 1/2 pounds powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream- butter, shortening, cream cheese and extracts. Gradually add powdered sugar and salt. Beat on low speed until nice and creamy.

 

This is a stiff frosting that will be slightly ivory (from the butter). 

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