How to Cover a Cake in Fondant

Fondant is a type of icing that’s used to decorate cakes. It forms a matte-like finish that’s smooth, clean, and beautiful. Fondant can also be used to make other cake decorations, from intricate to basic. How do you cover a cake in fondant, though?

If you’re considering using fondant for your upcoming cake, you’ve come to the right place. My name’s Michelle, and I’ve been baking cakes for the past ten years. I love working with fondant, and I’m here to explain how to cover a cake in this top-notch fondant.

To cover a cake in fondant, start by baking, layering, and crumb-coating your cake. Then, knead and roll the fondant. Cover the cake in fondant. Use a fondant smoother to smooth the top. Then, tug and smooth out the sides. Trim the excess and smooth it out once more.

Want a more detailed explanation? Keep reading!

How to Cover Cake in Fondant: 8 Steps

Cakes covered in a layer of fondant might look like they’ve taken hours to complete. Luckily, covering a cake in fondant isn’t that tricky. (Don’t get me wrong, some decorations people create with fondant are complex and not for newbies.)

Here’s how to cover a cake in fondant in eight simple steps.

Step 1: Bake the Cake

You can’t cover a cake in fondant if you don’t have one.

The first step is to bake a cake. Lighter cakes, like angel food cake, might not be able to accommodate the hefty weight of the fondant. Stick to slightly denser and stronger cakes, like vanilla and chocolate cake.

Step 2: Layer the Cake

Your next step is to cut and layer your cake. 

Layering simply means taking a long serrated knife and cutting off the dome of your cake, creating an entirely flat surface. This is essential for covering a cake in fondant.

Step 3: Crumb Coat the Cake

Whether you use fondant or regular icing, you must crumb coat your cake.

A crumb coat will seal all those pesky crumbs that may otherwise fall off your cake and get entangled with your fondant/icing.

Crumb coating is a cinch. All you need to do is apply a thin layer of buttercream to the tops and sides of your cake. Then, smooth it out. It’s ok if some of the cake is playing peek-a-boo. Remember, you’re going to cover it in fondant anyhow. The crumb coat is for structure, not looks.

Cover your cake with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare your fondant.

Step 4: Knead the Fondant

Now that your cake’s ready to roll, you can start working on your fondant.

You have two options. You can buy pre-made fondant or make your own.

Regardless of whether you make it yourself or purchase a store-bought option, you’ll need to knead it out until it’s pliable. This will activate the gums and ensure no hassling air bubbles can ruin the fondant’s appearance on your cake.

Tip: Add a dab of shortening to your hands before kneading. This will prevent sticking and make it easier for you to knead the fondant. Make sure you make enough fondant! The best way to know how much to make is to measure the height and length of your cake, then times it by two. For instance, a 9-inch cake that’s two inches high will need 9 + 2 x 2 = 22 inches of fondant.

Step 5: Roll the Fondant Out

A big pile of fondant isn’t going to do you any good.

That said, the next step is to roll the fondant out until it’s ⅛-inch thick.

To do this, you’ll need to mold the fondant into the shape of your cake – square or circle, for example. Then, use a fondant rolling pin to roll it out flat.

Tip: Make sure your work area is entirely clean! Fondant will pick up just about anything it comes into contact with and hold onto it like glue, ruining the final look of your cake. To ensure the fondant does not stick to your workstation, you can dust your area with cornstarch.

Step 6: Cover the Cake

This will be the trickiest part, but don’t worry – you can do it!

Begin by dusting your rolled-out fondant with a bit of cornstarch. This will ensure it doesn’t stick to your rolling pin when covering your precious cake.

Place the roller on one side of your fondant. Then, roll up the fondant so that it’s wrapped around the rolling pin. Then, unroll it on top of your cake. Do this by starting on one side of the cake. Allow a single side to drape to the bottom of your cake before rolling the rest on top.

If your fondant isn’t precisely where you want it to be, you can use your hands to maneuver it gently. It should be easy to wiggle around until you’re happy with the placement.

I know this sounds a little complicated, so I’ve included this handy video to help you:

Tip: Work quickly! Fondant dries out very fast. So, once it’s kneaded and rolled, cover your cake and get to work smoothing it out ASAP.

Step 7: Smooth It Out

Your fondant will look more like a set of drapes hovering over your cake than a perfectly-decorated fondant cake. And that’s OK. This step will get rid of the kinks and make it smooth.

To smooth the fondant, start by immediately smoothing the top with a fondant smoother.

Then, work around the cake. Gently tug on the drapes and smooth out the top portion of the fondant. Continue going around the cake, pulling with one hand and smoothing with the other. 

Tip: A cake turntable makes this job so much simpler. Consider investing in one if you want to decorate cakes regularly.

Step 8: Trim the Excess and Finish Smoothing

Now that your cake is almost perfectly covered and smoothed, it’s time to eliminate the excess fondant straggling around below. You can use any tool you’d like, but a pizza cutter will provide a very clean cut.

Simply roll your pizza cutter around the bottom of the cake to get rid of the extra fondant. 

Then, use the fondant smoother to smooth out any leftover tiny bumps. Smooth the entire cake in a gentle circular motion until you’re satisfied with the appearance.

Here’s an excellent video showing how to smooth your cake for a lovely final look:


Doesn’t your cake look incredible? Who knew that covering a cake in fondant was such a cinch? And you’ll only get better each time you do it, so don’t stop now. Oh, and by the way, here are a few frequently asked questions you might want to know the answer to!

Can you put fondant directly on a cake?

You can put fondant directly on a cake. However, applying a crumb coat to your cake first is best. This will trap and seal any crumbs that may otherwise ruin the appearance of your fondant.

Should I refrigerate cake before covering it with fondant?

You should refrigerate the cake before covering it with fondant. This will ensure you can maneuver and smooth the fondant without the cake succumbing to the pressure. Make sure you wrap your cake in plastic wrap before placing it in the refrigerator. 

What is best to cover a cake before fondant?

Before covering your cake with fondant, it’s recommended to cover it with a layer of buttercream frosting. This is known as a crumb coat. It should not be thick. In fact, it should be relatively thin, and you should be able to see parts of the cake.

Covering Cake with Fondant isn’t Too Complex!

Fondant creates a gorgeous-looking cake, so it’s easy to understand why you might want to try this lovely decorating method. It’s not too complicated. The key is to work quickly so the fondant doesn’t dry out. With the simple steps listed above, you should have zero problems with covering your cake in fondant.

Do you like fondant? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Comment below, we love to hear from our readers!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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