Recently, I had the pleasure of creating a three-tiered cake using two dummy cakes and one carved cake (read about it here). This was my first time subsituting real cakes with dummy cakes. Thanks to this helpful video on covering dummy cakes with fondant by GlobalSugarArt, I was able to cover my dummy cakes with ease.
Here are the top three tips I learned when working with a dummy cake:
- Sand down the top edges of the cakes under running water with sanding blocks. I was able to purchase these from the dollar store.
- Coat the dummy cakes in a light layer of corn syrup or piping gel with your hands before draping the fondant over. Use no more than a few teaspoons — you want the fondant to stick but not run.
- Lastly, because no one is going to eat this cake, it is perfectly acceptable to roll your fondant out a little bit thicker than normal.
I was a little worried about the weight of the top tier being too heavy for the dummy cakes, but they were able to hold up the weight of the barrel cake, as well as stay together with no adhesive between, and no dowels inserted anywhere.
I also wanted to share some tips on working with fondant. After working with it more than a couple of times, I realized that using fondant can be a little tricky. ALSO, do not be fooled, I’ve learned from past experiences that fondant doesn’t cover up your mistakes, it only makes it more visable, so be aware.
Here are my top 7 tips for working with fondant:
- Make sure the fondant isn’t dry or even slightly crumbly. It will most likely crack when youre draping it on. A good way to keep it from drying is by working in and kneading less than a teaspoon of shortening into it at a time until you feel that it is smooth and workable.
- You also don’t want to make it too soft. I noticed that when my fondant started to get too soft, it was because of the heat from my hands as well as the shortening. I fixed this by letting it sit aside for a few minutes uncovered and worked in a little icing sugar into the fondant at a time, until the fondant felt workable.
- When rolling out your fondant, you want to make sure you roll out a circle big enough to cover the diameter of your cake as well as the height of your cake x 2. For example, an 8″ round cake that is 3″ tall would need fondant at least 14″ wide in diameter, but it is also better to have excess around the edges, so aim for at least 16″ wide.
- When draping the fondant, I usually fold the fondant over my rolling pin in half and hover the fondant over half of the cake. I place it down, and then roll it away from me so the rest of the fondant drapes over the second half of the cake.
- Once the fondant is on the cake, I quickly take my hands and smooth the top first, and then the top edge of the cake, while holding the excess away from the cake to prevent creasing.Work your way from the top of the cake, downwards when smoothing.
- Use a fondant smoother only for final smoothing/finishing touches and sharpening the “shoulder” (AKA the top edge of the cake).
- When trimming the excess around the cake, it’s always better to trim too little than too much, so TRIM CAUTIOUSLY!! Smooth it out one last time and you are done!