You all have been asking for Disney themed fondant cake. I hope this is worth the wait! Stained glass hand painting is so beautiful, and I loved creating this for you while challenging myself with my sometimes messy royal icing piping. I wanted to create a cake that was simple and practical for any kitchen, per usual, and of course with a touch of Disney love.


Now I know homemade baking can be a scary thing for many people. This recipe ideally skips all of the typical fuss and stress around baking a dessert. A simplified cake base with a perfectly smooth buttercream is all you need. Now for this cake, you’ll also need royal icing, white fondant, and piping gel so be sure to check out the recipe below so you can make your own Beauty & the Beast stained glass cake.

Be sure to grab the full recipe & check out the full video tutorial in the recipe card below. And if you try this recipe (I mean you totally should be), tag me on Instagram @imancake and use the hashtag #BakingWithMANCAKE.

TIPS FOR THE PERFECT BAKE

HOW DO YOU MAKE A SIMPLE CHOCOLATE CAKE?

  1. Sift and whisk dry ingredients together.
  2. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
  3. Add wet to dry mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Bake in prepared pans until centers are springy to the touch.

Use Room Temperature Ingredients

Cold ingredients do not mix well with room temperature ingredients. As with any recipe that calls for dairy products, always be sure to take the time to bring ingredients to room temperature because it will result in a lighter, fluffier bake. 

Proper Measurements

Proper measuring of ingredients is key to perfectly baked cakes & cupcakes, especially when you are making them from scratch. Take a moment to kneel down, get face to face with your measuring cup, and measure liquids at eye level in standard liquid measuring cups.

Edible markers/cake writers will be your best friend when piping thin lines

When it comes to dry ingredients, measure by spooning the ingredient into a measuring cup or spoon, then leveling off the top with a knife or straight edge spatula.

Don’t Overmix the Batter

No matter what you will be placing into your oven, over-mixing the batter can lead to over-developing the gluten, which means your cake or cupcakes will come out dense and heavy.

Bake Immediately

Bake your desserts immediately after mixing the batter. Letting batter stand for too long can cause some of the air you’ve beaten in to escape, making for a denser bake.

No Peeking!

While it can be tempting, resist the urge to peek in the oven on your dessert’s progress. Opening or closing the oven door before the baking time is complete can cause fragile air bubbles in the batter to burst, preventing the bakes from rising. Even if you are gentle with the oven door, a rush of cold air can affect the bake while it is trying to set up, resulting in dense, deflated bake. Try to resist the urge to peek until your bakes are at least 2/3 through their baking time.

How to Test if Your Baked Treats are Done

Test your bakes for doneness while they’re still in the oven by inserting a cake tester or wooden toothpick into the center. Your bakes are done when the tester or toothpick comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs clinging to it; you should see no wet batter. You can also gently press down on the bake and, if it bounces back leaving no dent, then it is done. If removed too early, the bake will sink in the center as it cools and, if over baked, it will be dry.

SOME TIPS TO MAKE THE PERFECT CAKE

WHAT MAKES THE CAKE MOIST AND FLUFFY?

  • Adding the right amount of fat gives chocolate cake a moist crumb. Fluffiness comes from using the right amount of leavening agent; too much and the cake will collapse, too little and it will be dense.
  • Another way to get a moist and fluffy crumb? Creaming the butter and sugar coupled with whipping egg whites until they reach the soft peak stage then folding them into the batter.

HOW DO YOU MAKE A CHOCOLATE CAKE MOIST FROM SCRATCH? 

Use a nice quality cocoa powder, fresh ingredients and remember to balance the sweetness with a bit of salt. Follow the recipe below for the most moist and fluffy chocolate cake imaginable.

Don’t over bake your layers! Watch the batter and remove from oven when the centers spring back when pressed lightly and the edge starts pulling away from the pan.

Be sure to enter the MANCAKE KitchenAid giveaway.

I have 20 KitchenAid Stand Mixers to giveaway & one of them could be yours!

WHY DO PEOPLE PUT COFFEE IN CHOCOLATE CAKE?

Coffee brings out and amplifies the chocolate flavor in baked goods like cake and cupcakes. Adding a little bit will make things taste more “chocolatey” without giving a coffee flavor. Adding a LOT of coffee will create a mocha flavor. If you would like to omit the coffee from this recipe just substitute for warm water or milk. I’ve done this and the cake still tastes great! Just a little toned down in my opinion.

WHAT’S THE BEST FROSTING FOR CHOCOLATE CAKE?

  • I love a chocolate American buttercream. The cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate along with a nice dose of salt really balances out the sugar and creates a decadent flavor explosion! 
  • If you like things less sweet and maybe a bit more subtle then you should try a meringue-based frosting like Swiss or Italian buttercream. The consistency is VERY light and creamy with not too much sugar. 

HOW DO YOU MAKE A CHOCOLATE CAKE MOIST FROM SCRATCH? 

Use a nice quality cocoa powder, fresh ingredients and remember to balance the sweetness with a bit of salt. Follow the recipe below for the most moist and fluffy chocolate cake imaginable.

Don’t over bake your layers! Watch the batter and remove from oven when the centers spring back when pressed lightly and the edge starts pulling away from the pan.

INGREDIENT SUBSTITUTIONS

  • If you are not a coffee fan then sub in milk, or water. The coffee, which you really don’t taste, helps bring the chocolate taste out but I know lots of people either can’t stand it or have dietary restrictions.
  • If you don’t have sour cream handy then plain whole milk yogurt will work just fine!
  • Buttermilk can be annoying to keep on hand as it expires quickly and most recipes use very little. I often use powdered buttermilk reconstituted with water or add a tablespoon of lemon juice into some whole milk to curdle it.
  • I’m OBSESSED with cacao nibs, they’re pure, unprocessed chocolate aka they’re very crunchy and chocolatey but not sweet! They contrast the buttercream nicely and prevent the cake from cloying. DOn’t worry if you can’t find them, you can totally skip them, or sub in chopped nuts. Use your favorite nut and never forget to toast them!!
  • If you don’t like coffee just use water or milk instead. Both will still make a tasty cake

Cake Troubleshooting

Why are the Baking Pans Sticking to the Cake?

While spring form pans make it easy to get the cakes out of the pan with minimal cleanup, they can sometimes stick to the cake. A high sugar content recipe can cause the batter to caramelize against the baking pan, and a lower fat recipe tends to stick more than a batter higher in fat.

If you notice your cakes are sticking to the baking pans, try placing a deep baking pan filled with water on the bottom rack of your oven. This added moisture my help prevent sticking.  A cake is also more likely to stick to the baking pan if it has not cooled completely before trying to unwrap it.

How to Store Cakes

Cakes are at their best within the first 2 days of baking. While they can last up to 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container, they will start to dry out after 3-4 days.

Be sure to let the cakes cool completely. Packing un-iced cakes while still warm can create sticky tops, making it more difficult to get the icing to stick when you are ready to frost them.

Choose an airtight container that is tall enough, so the container lid doesn’t touch the icing.

Typically, the container can be left out at room temperature; however, if you are experiencing hot and humid weather that is causing the icing to melt or if the cakes are filled or decorated with something that requires refrigeration (like lemon curd or a meringue buttercream), you can store them in the refrigerator.

If you must refrigerate your cakes, bring them back to room temperature before serving.

Freezing Baked Cakes

Un-iced cakes can be frozen for up to 3 months. Be sure the cakes are completely cooled to room temperature before freezing to avoid condensation forming, which can result in soggy cakes when it’s time to defrost them.

While simply placing the cakes in an airtight container is enough, individually wrapping each cake before placing them in the airtight container will better help preserve the freshness and taste.

After removing them from the freezer, let them defrost uncovered to prevent the tops from getting sticky.

What I Use To Make Cakes

Buttercream 4-1-1

WHAT’S THE BEST BUTTER TO USE?

  • For a whiter buttercream it’s really important to use a pale butter. Almost every recipe will call for using unsalted butter but then have you add salt back in. This is done because various brands of butter have different amounts of salt in their product.
  • Using unsalted butter helps to ensure a consistent result. You can however use salted butter, omit additional salt and have a delicious frosting. 
  • The most important thing to do when whipping up a batch of buttercream is that it’s room temperature!

HOW CAN YOU MAKE COLD BUTTER ROOM TEMPERATURE?

If you need to warm some cold butter up just slice it into some smaller pieces and microwave them on a plate at 50% power for 10 second bursts. Flip them after each burst and they’re be nice and room temperature in no time!

IS BUTTERCREAM OR WHIPPED FROSTING BETTER?

The main difference between buttercream and whipped frosting is butter. Whipped frosting does not contain butter and is a lighter and fluffier icing.

Buttercream contains a good amount of butter and has more of a rich flavor; so you be the judge! 🙂

WILL THIS RECIPE MELT AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?

When buttercream is left out at room temperature, it will form sort of a crust on the outer layer while the inside will stay fairly smooth. If it is very warm or humid, the buttercream can loose structure.

This will affect decorations you’ve pipes and may even destabilize layer cakes, causing them to sag or collapse.

HOW LONG CAN YOU LEAVE IT OUT?

You can leave out buttercream frosting for overnight if covered. If the buttercream contains cream cheese, then it should always be refrigerated for it to remain safe to eat.

Buttercream that contains dairy will spoil more quickly so should be refrigerated after a few hours.

HOW DO I THIN IT OUT?

If you want to thin out buttercream frosting, you’ll want to add in some extra cream or milk. I recommend mixing in a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

More Helpful Buttercream Tips

  • To color: Use Icing Colors or food coloring to tint frosting to any color without disturbing the consistency of the frosting.
  • Air bubbles troubleshooting: If your frosting has air bubbles, let it rest for a few minutes to allow it to deflate. To avoid creating air bubbles, make sure to use the paddle attachment rather than the whisk attachment on your electric stand mixer.
  • Grainy/gritty consistency: Make sure your ingredients are all room temperature to avoid a grainy consistency.
  • To preserve while in use: Depending on the weather and humidity, your buttercream may start to crust over. To avoid this, cover your frosting bowl with plastic wrap.
  • To store: Frosting should be stored in an airtight container and can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.

Buttercream Ingredients 101

Like all the best recipes, the perfect buttercream frosting comes down to using the right ingredients. Fat, sugar, liquid and salt are key to making the best frosting – but why?

To understand how buttercream works, it’s helpful to know how these ingredients work together and how they affect the outcome.

Learning more about what each of these ingredients do will also better give you the ability to make tweaks and substitutions to fit your needs.

The buttercream frosting ingredients that make up any buttercream are pretty standard.

Also known as “American buttercream” or “crusting buttercream”, this type of frosting is known to be sturdy and sweet, compared to some European style frostings (some of which require additional cooking, which this buttercream does not).

What sets this cake’s buttercream apart from the rest is its ability to “crust”. This means the outer surface of the buttercream sets and becomes dry to the touch, creating a stable texture for decorating and smoothing techniques.

This is especially useful for spatula painting your cakes, image transfers and piping decorations with crisp detail (like flower petals or borders).

But to get that perfect crust on your frosting, you need the right ingredients, starting with one of the most important of the group – the fats.

Fats

Pure white vegetable shortening, butter of margarine

It’s no surprise that the basis of buttercream frosting is butter. Rich and delicious, butter adds great flavor to your frosting and when used with a little pure vegetable shortening, can create a frosting that will stand up to all kinds of decorating tasks.

While you certainly can make an all-butter or all-shortening frosting, I will always suggest using a little of each ingredient to get the best of both worlds.

For a rich and creamy flavor in your frosting, butter is key. For those who want to use margarine instead, go for regular margarine rather than low-fat. Low-fat margarine tends to have a higher water content than regular margarine or butter and that extra water will affect the consistency of your buttercream.

What butter does for flavor, shortening does for texture and stability.

Shortening helps create a light and fluffy frosting while also providing a neutral flavor to help cut the richness of the butter.

Frosting made with shortening also tends to hold up better to time and temperature, so be sure to add shortening if you’re planning to pipe buttercream flowers or borders or if your cake will be sitting out at room temperature for an extended amount of time.

If you’d rather use one or the other, that’s fine, too. An all-butter frosting will be flavorful, but a bit heavy and prone to melting and drooping. Keep cakes iced with an all-butter frosting refrigerated for as long as possible to prevent melting.

An all-shortening recipe (also known as “pure white frosting” or “snow white frosting”) will be very sturdy and fluffy, even in warm climates. This type of recipe is great for piping buttercream roses, flowers and borders. If using an all-shortening recipe, keep in mind that flavoring will need to be added, as shortening has no taste (see more on flavor below).

Sugar

Confectioners’ sugar (also known as powdered sugar, 10x sugar or frosting sugar)

Confectioners’ sugar – otherwise known as that powdery white sugar that gets everywhere – is essential for keeping the consistency of your buttercream nice and smooth.

Also known as powdered or frosting sugar, confectioners’ sugar contains a small amount of cornstarch, which prevents caking. The cornstarch, when mixed with a liquid ingredient, also helps to thicken your buttercream.

Unfortunately, not all sugars are created equal. The powder-like consistency of this ingredient is what makes it essential to buttercream, so granulated sugar or even superfine sugar cannot be used as substitutes.

If you cannot find confectioners’ sugar in your area, try grinding granulated sugar in a food processor until it turns into powder, then sift it to remove any large granules.

Flavor

Pure vanilla extract (or any extract of your choice!)

While I use vanilla extract to flavor my buttercream, you can use any extract, flavor paste or emulsion to add a depth of flavor to your frosting.

Try peppermint extract around the holidays or a tasty fruit-flavored extract for a spring or summer treat. For a more natural taste, use emulsified blueberries or strawberries for a delicious frosting that would taste great on any cake!

If you’re using a liquid flavoring such as extracts, keep in mind that it may thin down the consistency of your buttercream.

If your frosting becomes too thin, add confectioners’ sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.

Traditional vanilla extract may also add a slight tint to your buttercream, especially if you’re making an all-shortening recipe. To maintain a bright white buttercream, go for a clear vanilla instead.

Liquid

Milk, water, heavy whipping cream, half-and-half

In order to get the perfect consistency for your buttercream, a liquid ingredient may need to be added. While you can use water, I will always suggest using milk, heavy whipping cream or half-and-half to add extra flavor and creaminess to your frosting. Nut-based milks will also work, but may add a light flavor as well.

When it comes to liquid, a little goes a long way. To ensure that you get the right consistency without ruining your buttercream, add half the amount of liquid called for in the recipe (especially if you’re also using a liquid flavoring).

Check for consistency, then add more liquid if needed. For filling, crumb-coating and frosting cakes, we suggest a medium-consistency frosting. For piping decorations like flowers and borders, stick with a stiff-consistency buttercream.

Salt

Table salt, kosher salt or superfine salt

You may think salt is a strange ingredient to add to buttercream, but it does wonders for enhancing flavor and cutting through the sweetness of this frosting.

If you’re using table salt or kosher salt, let it dissolve in your liquid ingredient for a few minutes to prevent granules in your frosting. If you’re using superfine salt (or popcorn salt), you can add it to your mixture along with the confectioners’ sugar.

Superfine salt is also good for adjusting taste after your buttercream has been made. If your frosting is done and you think it’s too sweet, superfine salt will easily dissolve into the buttercream more evenly than table salt, so you can better balance the sweetness.

However, if you’ve got a sweet tooth and love nothing more than a yummy, sweet frosting, you can omit the salt altogether!

A delicious, versatile frosting is a must for any baker or decorator, and with the right ingredients you can create a buttercream that’s literally the frosting on every cake!

Buttercream Substitutes & Modifications

  • Shortening substitute: 1/2 cup butter can be substituted for the ½ cup of shortening, although the buttercream will appear more yellow.
  • Liquid substitute: Water can be used as the liquid ingredient, although the fat from milk and heavy cream make for creamier and more flavorful buttercream.
  • Butter substitute for pure white buttercream: To make pure white buttercream, substitute out the 1/2 cup of butter for additional white vegetable shortening and opt for clear vanilla extract. To add the butter flavor to the shortening frosting, add 1/2 teaspoon of clear butter flavor.
  • Using a hand mixer: If using a hand mixer, add your milk or water a little earlier in the process to avoid exhausting your hand mixer. Start gradually adding the liquid if the hand mixer starts to slow down while mixing in the powdered sugar.
  • To cut sweetness: If your buttercream is too sweet, add a pinch of salt. Popcorn salt is optimal for adding to buttercream because it’s more granular than other salts. Make sure it dissolves completely once mixed in. You can also opt for ½ cup salted butter rather than ½ cup unsalted butter to avoid overly sweet buttercream.
  • To add flavor: This recipe can be easily flavored in a variety of ways using extracts and other flavorings, like almond extract or cocoa powder. Liquid flavoring may water down the frosting, so substitute out some of the milk or water with liquid flavoring.

Buttercream Consistencies

This buttercream recipe is for medium consistency, which is excellent for piping decorations like rosettes and dots. However, it will need to be thinned for frosting birthday cakes and borders.

Stiff Consistency: Gradually add additional confectioners’ sugar for a stiffer consistency. Best for dimensional decorations that need to retain their shape when piped. This consistency is generally used for piping upright petals for flowers.

Medium Consistency: Add 1 teaspoon of liquid (light corn syrup, milk or water) for each cup of stiff frosting. For pure white frosting, add up to 2 tablespoons of clear liquid. Medium consistency is used for borders such as stars, dots, rosettes and shells, as well as other decorations that will remain relatively flat.

Thin Consistency: Add 2 teaspoons of liquid (light corn syrup, milk or water) for each cup of buttercream frosting. For pure white frosting, add up to 4 tablespoons of liquid. Thin consistency is best for cake frosting, as well as piping lines and letters. If you are making a buttercream intended for writing, use light corn syrup as your liquid. Writing will flow easily and won’t break.

Royal Icing: All You Need to Know

Royal Icing Consistencies

Stiffer consistency: Use 1 tablespoon less water. Stiff royal icing is preferred for making 3-D decorations. With stiffer royal icing, opt for larger piping tips to relieve the pressure on the piping bag. Medium consistency for icing outlining: Add ⅛ teaspoons of water for every cup of stiff icing. Use a flat utensil like a small angled or straight silicone spatula to mix in a figure 8 motion. Avoid beating or mixing vigorously.

Thin consistency for flooding: To thin for pouring, add 1 teaspoon water per cup of royal icing. Use a grease-free spoon or spatula to stir slowly. Add 1/2 teaspoon water at a time until you reach proper consistency. Use a flat utensil like a small angled or straight silicone spatula to mix in a figure 8 motion. Avoid beating or mixing vigorously.

  • 10 Second Test: To check for correct thin consistency for flooding, take some icing on a spatula and drop it back down into the bowl. If it sinks after a full count of 10, then the consistency is thin enough for flooding. Storage: Store royal icing in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. Before reusing, re-whip using a paddle attachment on low speed until it’s back to the correct consistency.
How to Store Royal Icing

Store royal icing made with meringue powder in an airtight container and keep it at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Before using, beat well in a mixing bowl at low speed. If you don’t have plans to use the icing within 2 weeks, another option is to pipe out your decorations and let them harden. Hardened royal icing decorations can be stored in a covered, NON-airtight container (like a cake bow) for years! They’re great to have on hand for future cakes.

Fondant: Myth vs Fact

Many people claim that store-bought fondant is easier to work with. While others say that homemade fondant is easy to work with. The truth? It’s just a myth. Working with fondant gets better with practice. And of course, knowing a few tips for working with fondant.

1. PREPARE YOUR WORK SURFACE

  • First of all, clean your work surface making sure you have no cake crumbs, water puddles, or wet spots anywhere. A great way to get lint or tiny particles of dust off your surface is to use a small ball of fondant (about a golf ball size) and rub it over the surface. All the tiny particles stick to it, and voila, your surface is now ready for fondant.
  • Next, clear the space so you can roll your fondant large, as well as keep your cake within reach without nicking into it while rolling.
  • Also, have the immediate things you need handy so you don’t go looking for them last minute. Such as dusting pouch, knife or cutting wheel, acupuncture needles to pop air bubbles, cake smoothers, acetate smoothers. Nothing is worse than to go hunting these down while your fondant dries.

2. PREPARE FONDANT FIRST

  • Bring your fondant to room temperature before you use it. If necessary, microwave it for no more than 10 sec. or it will become sticky and too soft.
  • If possible, color your fondant a day or two ahead of time – so the colors will deepen.
    Additionally, letting the fondant sit, after you added all that color, will help restore some of its composition. And you will find it’s not as goofy the next day.
  • Knead your fondant well before you start to roll it or it will not roll evenly. That is the reason for tearing and cracking. Kneading also helps with a smooth finish.

3. ROLLING FONDANT

  • Roll the fondant on a lightly dusted and smooth surface.
    • In most places, a mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch works best.
    • While in dry places, vegetable shortening works best to roll fondant.
    • And in places with high humidity, using only cornstarch works best. Since powdered sugar can cause the fondant to become sticky with condensation.
  • Make sure your cake is smooth with buttercream or ganache before you cover it with fondant. Because fondant will show all the uneven bumps and gaps.
  • Do not roll your fondant much larger than you need it. The excess will only make it heavy to lift and difficult to move. For example, if you are covering an 8” cake roll a disc of about 20 inches not 40. In addition, you won’t waste so much fondant by exposing it to air and cornstarch.
  • To transfer fondant over the cake – do not use fingers as it can tear, instead:
    • Use a rolling pin to lift the whole piece of fondant. Thus, distributing the weight evenly and avoiding any tears.
    • You can also use both of your arms.

4. SMOOTHING FONDANT

  • The palms of your hands are the best tool for smoothing fondant. Since the friction caused by your hands rubbing on the sugar paste makes the fondant smooth.
  • For those with sweaty palms, fondant smoothers are available in the market at very affordable prices. They are one of the best cake decorating tools to keep handy and they do more than just smooth cakes.

5. CUTTING FONDANT

  • A pizza wheel works better than a knife to cut around the cake. Also, a scalpel or an exact-o knife is much better than a pizza wheel. And yet, a scalpel is really sharp and can cause serious damage if not used carefully (don’t ask me how I know that).
  • And if you have small kids watch out for those exact-o knives or scalpels as kids seem to be very attracted to them. I almost avoid using them because my kids always seem to find a way to be around them.

6. CAKE DRUMS

  • Fondant is heavy, thus making the cake heavy – so ensure you always have a sturdy cake board. A cake board that flexes or bends results in fondant tearing when the cake is moved. Especially during transportation.
  • Cake drums are best for fondant covered cakes. I have shown you how to make your own cake boards here on the blog by simply using foam core and contact paper you can buy from your local craft store.

7. FIND YOUR STRENGTH

Are you better at covering round cakes, square cakes, or novelty cakes? Practice on a dummy – a great way to learn is to practice on a dummy cake. Use leftover fondant you don’t mind wasting. Cover it once but before it dries remove it, knead it with damp hand and practice again. Until your fondant become useless.

8. KNOW YOUR FONDANT

If you have a bad batch of fondant, perhaps using it to cover a round cake with sharp edges is not the way to go. Instead, save it for novelty cakes when you can use it to your advantage. And make a batch or find a brand that you know works better for you when covering round cakes with sharp edges.

9. COLOR FONDANT AHEAD OF TIME

One of the advantages of coloring fondant ahead of time is that the fondant has time to settle back into its original composition. Always use food color gels when coloring fondant as these are more concentrated. So they don’t affect the consistency of the fondant much. Another advantage of coloring the fondant ahead of time is the colors have time to deepen. Below is a great example. As you can see, this is a cake before decorating with brush embroidery and after. Some colors deepen more than others. And some get even better over time, while some may need a little more tweaking.

10. FONDANT IS ALSO GREATLY AFFECTED BY CLIMATE

Cool temperatures work better as it keeps the fondant pliable and not too soft. So, work in a cool place. And if necessary, work in an air-conditioned environment. If you do not have air-conditioning, work in the cool hours of the day like the evenings or later.

11. WORKING WITH SEAMS

If you are working on novelty cakes and find that you have many seams to work worth with, avoid using vegetable shortening while kneading the fondant. Rather, use a damp finger over the seem then smooth it with your palm and you will see the seams just disappear like magic. Because veg shortening tends to prevent the sugar from blending (no clue why – it just does).

12. NOVELTY CAKES

Another great way to prevent your fondant drying quickly when working with novelty cakes is to add some modeling chocolate to the fondant. I like adding modeling chocolate to my fondant when working on novelty cakes. This works great for me in winter but in summer I prefer to use just fondant as modeling chocolate tends to make the fondant softer.

FREQUENTLY ASKED FONDANT QUESTIONS

WHAT IS THE EASIEST WAY TO COVER A CAKE WITH FONDANT? 

There are two most commonly used methods.

  1. The drape method, which involves rolling fondant larger than the size of your cake and then covering the whole cake with fondant.
  2. The panel method – here you roll two pieces of fondant. One for the top of the cake (using a cake pan as a guide) and then rolling a long strip of fondant for the sides. This method has seams which can easily be masked with decorations if you plan your cake design in advance.

HOW TO PREVENT CRACKING FONDANT? 

Knead your fondant well before you start to roll it or it will not roll evenly. This is the reason for tearing and cracking. Kneading also helps with a smooth finish. As I explained above (tip #2).

HOW TO MAKE FONDANT EASY TO WORK WITH? 

As I explained above, fondant is not hard to work with. Use these 14 tips for working with fondant for your next project. Know your fondant, use the right fondant for the right job, prepare accordingly and you will have success every single time. 

HOW TO STRENGTHEN FONDANT?

The simplest and easiest way to strengthening your fondant is with CMC (as I explained above in tip #14).

HOW TO PREVENT FONDANT FROM STICKING? HOW DO YOU KEEP THE FONDANT FROM STICKING TO THE COUNTER?

Fondant is sugar, so any moisture or warmth can cause it to stick. So, always dust your work surface well (explained above in detail in bullet 3). In addition, knead your fondant well (explained more in tip #2).

HOW TO FIX DRY FONDANT? 

Fondant can go from wet to too dry very quickly. The same goes for too soft, too wet etc. So, if the fondant is not rolled yet, and looks dry – use damp hands to knead it first. Yes, just use a little water on your hands to help knead. Once you’ve done that, use vegetable shortening to knead it until it’s soft and pliable.  

And, if the fondant is on the cake – rubbing the cake with vegetable shortening gently can prevent it from drying out further. Also, gently steaming the cake helps. And yet, most people don’t usually have a hand steamer at home. I have a hand steamer that I use to steam my sugar flowers, which works for this purpose very well. 

HOW TO FIX WET FONDANT? STICKY FONDANT? SOFT FONDANT?

If fondant is sticky due to adding gel color, the best way to fix it is to add a little bit of powdered sugar. When rolling fondant for a cake you can use any one of the three – vegetable shortening, powdered sugar or cornstarch.

Vegetable shortening works great because it enhances the elasticity. However, it does not work well if the fondant is too wet. So, use it if the fondant is already pliable but stiff.  Powdered sugar is used best when the fondant is wet and sticky but not pliable.  And cornstarch is best used in hot humid places where powdered sugar can cause more sickness rather than fixing it. 

HOW THICK SHOULD FONDANT BE? 

The thinner the fondant the better. That is what’s usually advertised. My students are usually always debating this. And yet, you need to find that sweet spot that works best for you. I’d say between 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick, leaning more towards 1/8 rather than 1/4 inch thick.

1/4 inch is way too thick. Because it will be heavy on the cake and cause the edges to crack. It will also make the cake look bulky and prevent you from getting sharp edges. A 1/8 inch is good, and yet often difficult if you are new. Sharpening the edges can cause it to tear if you’re not careful. Often, newbies tend to tear if the fondant is too thin. 

WHAT CAUSES THE FONDANT TO TEAR?

When fondant is rolled too thin it can cause the fondant to tear. This applies to both when placing it on the cake and smoothing the sides. In addition, when trying to achieve sharp edges. That is why it is important to roll fondant no thinner than 1/8 inch thick. 

WHY DOES MY FONDANT KEEP RIPPING?

If fondant is rolled too thin it can rip when draping a cake. Similarly, fondant, when rolled too thick, can rip because of the excess weight. That is why finding that sweet spot that works best for you is really important. 

CAN I REMOVE THE FONDANT FROM A CAKE ONCE COVERED IN FONDANT? 

Yes, you can. This is not recommended because it’s a waste of expensive fondant and a re-do of a lot of steps in the cake decorating process. And yet, often as a cake decorator, you have to put the customer first and that’s when you have no choice but to re-do the fondant covering from scratch.
Here is what you can do:

  1. Chill the cake covered in fondant in the fridge until firm. You want the cake and the fondant both to be well chilled. If not you will end up with a big mess and more waste.
  2. When chilled, gently peel the top layer of fondant. Usually, the fondant should just peel off the cake leaving the buttercream or ganache behind.
  3. If your ganache or buttercream is in the right consistency this can be a clean peal. Sometimes, you may get some parts of buttercream or ganache break and stick to the fondant and that’s ok. 
  4. Once all the fondant is off – put it away. 
  5. Now, tidy up the frosting on the cake again with ganache or buttercream. 
  6. Chill it well. 
  7. Cover it with fresh new fondant.

HOW TO STICK FONDANT TO THE CAKE? 

Use water or vegetable shortening. Sugar sticks to sugar so water are the first most appropriate answer. Always use a damp, not wet brush. Remember too much moisture can cause the fondant to melt and become sticky. 

HOW LONG CAN A FONDANT CAKE SIT OUT? 

Fondant cakes can be kept out at room temperature for 3 to 4 days and do not need to be kept in the fridge or frozen. You can also put fondant cakes with perishable fillings in the fridge. Of course, always bring the cake to room temperature before serving. Since room temperature cakes taste better than cold chilled cakes. 

CAN YOU PUT A CAKE WITH FONDANT IN THE REFRIGERATOR? 

Absolutely, those who enjoy good weather can put fondant covered cakes in and out of the refrigerator without a second thought. This also allows us to use perishable fillings in fondant cakes.

And yet, those of us that live in hot humid climate need to be careful. Because bringing the cake out from the fridge usually causes condensation. You don’t need to do anything. Just leave the cake alone until the temperature in the cake equalizes and the fondant automatically dries. It’s often when people try to fix fondant with condensation that causes issues. Depending on the weather, it can take from a few minutes to a few hours for the cake to dry out. 

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE CAN I COVER A CAKE WITH FONDANT? 

Fondant covered cakes can stay out on the counter for a good 3 to 4 days. Fondant on a cake helps seal in the moisture and prevent the cake from becoming dry. Always use a good frosting on the cake before covering it with fondant. Buttercream or ganache are the two most popular frostings used.

WHY SHOULD YOU SIMPLE SYRUP THE CAKE BEFORE COVERING WITH FONDANT? 

Unlike dessert cakes, working on custom decorated cakes can be time-consuming which is why we usually bake these cakes in advance. Often these cakes have a gap of 4 to 5 days from the time they are baked to the time they are consumed. To ensure these cakes stay moist when cut we moisten these cakes with additional sugar syrup. 

How to Cover a Cake with Fondant

1. Bake the Cake

For starters, make sure your cake is leveled and filled evenly. 

The type of cake you make is also an important factor to keep in mind. Light texture cakes, like angel food or chiffon cakes, will have a hard time holding up to the weight of fondant. Cakes with heavy mix-ins, like carrot cake, may also create an uneven surface and can show through your fondant.

For best results, use a standard white, vanilla, yellow or chocolate cake recipe or, for even more stability, a pound cake recipe. Assemble the layers on a board that’s the same size as your cake.

2. Prepare the Cake

Before you can cover your cake with fondant, you need to crumb coat your cake. This thin layer of frosting traps any cake crumbs and acts as an adhesive so your fondant doesn’t fall off or move around.

Don’t use too much buttercream when crumb coating, just enough so the sides and top are smooth with little to no spatula marks.

3. Prepare the Fondant

You can use store-bought or homemade fondant to cover your cake.

Before kneading, rub your hands with a little vegetable shortening to prevent sticking. Knead the fondant until it’s pliable. Add and work in food coloring at this point if you’re planning to tint your fondant.

For best results, I suggest using fresh fondant to cover your cake. Old fondant can dry out and crack, especially along the edges of your cake. If this does happen, you can rub a little vegetable shortening along the dry area until the crack disappears.

4. Measure the Fondant

Finding out how much fondant you need to cover your cake does require a little math…but don’t worry! I’ll walk you through it step-by-step!

First, measure the diameter of the cake. To do this, place the ruler on the center of the cake and measure from end to end.

Secondly, measure the height of the cake.

Now comes the fun part! Plug those numbers into this formula:

DIAMETER + HEIGHT (x 2) = Diameter of fondant

For example, if you’re working with an 8 inch round cake that’s 4 inches tall, your formula would look like this:

8 inches + 4 inches (x2) = 16 inches

5. How to Roll Your Fondant Evenly

To get a nice, even roll on your fondant, make sure you start with a well-prepared surface. To prevent sticking, dust the surface with cornstarch (for high-humidity climates) or confectioners’ sugar (for drier climates).

It’s also important that your surface is clean, as fondant will pick up any surface texture, crumbs, hair or dirt (it may sound silly, but make sure you’re wearing clothes that don’t shed hairs or fibers either, as those can also work their way into your fondant!).

Start with the fondant in the shape of the cake you’re covering. For example, start with a rounded shape of fondant to cover a round cake. Using a plastic fondant roller (we have one for smaller projects and one for larger projects), roll out your fondant to the desired size. While you can certainly use a wooden rolling pin, it will probably leave some texture in your fondant so you won’t get that nice, smooth finish that these plastic rollers offer.

The perfect thickness for covering a cake is about 1/8 inches in size. To get the right thickness, you can use fondant guide rings, which slide on to the end of the fondant rollers, or a ruler. Always roll from the center outwards, turning and lifting the fondant as you go to keep the shape consistent.

If your fondant loses its shape as you roll, just use your hands to reshape it. Continue rolling and turning your fondant until all the edges line up with the markings on the measuring mat (or the correct diameter is reached).

Now here’s a common beginner’s mistake – even though you may only need 16 inches of fondant to cover your cake, you might be tempted to roll the fondant to 18 inches for insurance. There’s no need to do that, as your fondant will naturally stretch as you drape it. In fact, excess rolling might add weight to the edges of your fondant and cause it to tear. No good!

6. Cover the Cake

This part requires some quick movement so make sure your cake is frosted and ready to go before preparing your fondant. Fondant will dry out if left out for too long, so it will need to be placed on the cake immediately while it’s still fresh and pliable. If your crumb coat has crusted or the frosting on your cake is dry, lightly mist your cake with water before covering. You’ll need your frosting to be tacky so the fondant can stick to it.

Now comes the fun part, covering the cake! This part may seem intimidating, but the trick is letting the tools do all the work for you. Make sure your cake is close by before proceeding.

To start, place your fondant roller in the middle of your rolled out fondant. Using both hands, fold one side of the fondant over the roller.

Pick up the fondant roller by both ends. Working from the back of the cake to the front, touch the edge of the fondant to the cake board and start draping the fondant towards you, trying to keep it as centered as possible.

Gently roll out the fondant, guiding it as it drapes over the rest of the cake.

If the fondant doesn’t fully cover the bottom edges of the cake, don’t worry! As you smooth the fondant, it will stretch to better cover the edges.

If the fondant is not centered, you should be able to gently remove the fondant and re-center it. If the cake gets damaged once the fondant is removed, simply re-frost the cake and chill it until it’s firm. Re-knead the fondant, buttercream and all, and re-roll it and try again. You got this!

7. Smooth the Fondant

OK, the hard part is done! Now it’s time to smooth the top and sides. Use a fondant smoother to smooth the top first. This will prevent the fondant from moving around as you work the sides.

To smooth the sides, pick up a section of the fondant. Gently pull and stretch the fondant away from the cake, using the edge of your hand (the pinky finger side) to smooth the sides and remove any creases. Using the edge of your hand also helps prevent fingerprints and ridges from forming.

Once the section is smooth, lightly press the fondant to the side of the cake. As you smooth the sides, move the creases to the lower edges of the cake.

As you work your way around, you may find that you have one last section where your excess fondant will converge. Loosen the fondant on either side, continue pulling and push the draping fondant to the bottom edge of your cake.

If you find the sides of your fondant are not sticking to the cake, dip the fingers of one hand in a small amount of water and rub your fingers over the inside of the fondant as you lift the sides. Gently press to the cake with your dry hand.

Use the smoother to help ensure the fondant has adhered to the top and sides of the cake. Push any air bubbles to the sides, then work down and push them out of the bottom of the cake.

Trim the bottom excess fondant with a fondant trimmer (a pizza cutter or paring knife works great, too), staying a tiny bit outside the edge of the cake. Remove the excess fondant.

Now let’s make that nice, crisp edge. Press the flat edge of the fondant smoother against the bottom of the fondant. Working section by section, smooth the fondant by moving the smoother up and down. This will push down any excess and create an outline for one final trim.

Run your knife around one more time to remove that excess fondant. For a cleaner cut, place your cake on a smaller cake pan so it’s elevated and you can get your trimmer under the overhang. Cut off the excess and you’re good to go!

Still having a few issues covering your cake with fondant? Here are a few troubleshooting tips:

  • Even if you’re careful about smoothing, the last section of your fondant might still form a seam. If you need to hide it, gently rub the fondant seam with your finger. It won’t disappear completely, but it will minimize the look.
  • Due to the stretching and pulling, fondant can crack or tear. To fix this, you can make a “fondant adhesive”, made by soaking a small amount of fondant in water. Use a spatula or a decorating bag to apply the adhesive to your fondant. The shine will disappear when the water evaporates.
  • While rolling fondant, you might notice some air bubbles on the surface. You can easily remove these using a clean pin. Angle the pin to go in from the side of the bubble rather than the top so that the mark is less noticeable. Push the air out and smooth with your finger. It’s better to address air bubbles while rolling rather than when the cake is already covered.

And there you have it! Now on to decorating!

If you’ve tried this tasty treat then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you!

Stained Glass Cake

Stained Glass Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ sticks butter at room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup warm water or fresh brewed coffee
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream at room temperature
  • 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Lemon juice
  • White fondant
  • Red piping gel
  • Green piping gel
  • Edible cake write/food marker

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Chocolate Cake

  1. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy on a medium speed for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla.
  3. Beat butter mixture at a medium speed for about 1 minute.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture while alternating with water. Be sure to start and end with the dry ingredient mix.
  6. On a low speed, mix until creamy. You should not need to mix longer than a minute at most. With that said, be sure not to over mix.
  7. Pour cake batter into a prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan. After, invert onto cooling rack and let cook entirely.

Chocolate Buttercream

  1. Sift 4 cups of powdered sugar & set bowl aside.
  2. Cream butter & shortening.
  3. Add cocoa powder & vanilla.
  4. Scrape down the sides.
  5. Place your mixer on the lowest speed & slowly add in your powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
  6. Do not worry if your buttercream looks crumbly & dry because we will fix that next.
  7. Scrape down the sides one last time.
  8. With your mixer on, slowly add in heavy cream.
  9. Turn mixer up to a medium speed until you have light & fluffy consistency you are looking for (about a minute or so).

Royal Icing

  1. Sift 4 cups of powdered sugar & set bowl aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and vanilla until frothy.
  3. Add the powdered sugar a 1/4 cup at a time, mixing after each addition, to reach the desired consistency. I like to toss in an extra cup to stiffen my royal icing when I'm using it to outline a design.
    Add in a few drops of black food gel color.
  4. Once at the right consistency, place into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.

Decorating

  1. After your cakes have cooled, level your cakes. If you'd like to make this a 4-layer cake, half each cake.
  2. Place your first layer onto your cake turntable.
  3. Spread a generous amount of chocolate buttercream on top and spread evenly with your straight or offset spatula.
  4. Place your next layer of cake, top with more chocolate buttercream, and spread evenly. Continue these steps for all of your layers.
  5. To cover your cake in the remaining chocolate buttercream, start from the bottom, and while rotating your cake turntable, pipe on your chocolate buttercream in an upward motion.
  6. Using a cake frosting scraper, straight spatula, or offset spatula you will want to smooth over your chocolate buttercream. The best way is to hold your smoothing tool upright and gently pressed against your cake while rotating your cake turntable.
  7. You'll want to continue this until you have a smooth coating. When you’re doing the final smoothing and you notice the texture of the buttercream become a bit ragged there’s an easy fix! Get a bowl of HOT water and dip your tools into the bowl to warm them up. pat dry and smooth. The warm metal will melt the buttercream and give you a nice SMOOTH finish.
  8. Smooth the top of your cake with an offset spatula.
  9. Set in the fridge and allow to chill for 5 minutes.
  10. Remove you cake from the fridge and begin to roll out your fondant.
  11. This part requires some quick movement so make sure your cake is frosted and ready to go before preparing your fondant. Fondant will dry out if left out for too long, so it will need to be placed on the cake immediately while it’s still fresh and pliable. If your crumb coat has crusted or the frosting on your cake is dry, lightly mist your cake with water before covering. You’ll need your frosting to be tacky so the fondant can stick to it.
  12. Now comes the fun part, covering the cake! This part may seem intimidating, but the trick is letting the tools do all the work for you. Make sure your cake is close by before proceeding.
  13. To start, place your fondant roller in the middle of your rolled out fondant. Using both hands, fold one side of the fondant over the roller. Pick up the fondant roller by both ends. Working from the back of the cake to the front, touch the edge of the fondant to the cake board and start draping the fondant towards you, trying to keep it as centered as possible.
  14. Gently roll out the fondant, guiding it as it drapes over the rest of the cake. If the fondant doesn’t fully cover the bottom edges of the cake, don’t worry! As you smooth the fondant, it will stretch to better cover the edges.
  15. If the fondant is not centered, you should be able to gently remove the fondant and re-center it. If the cake gets damaged once the fondant is removed, simply re-frost the cake and chill it until it’s firm. Re-knead the fondant, buttercream and all, and re-roll it and try again. You got this!
  16. OK, the hard part is done! Now it’s time to smooth the top and sides. Use a fondant smoother to smooth the top first. This will prevent the fondant from moving around as you work the sides.To smooth the sides, pick up a section of the fondant. Gently pull and stretch the fondant away from the cake, using the edge of your hand (the pinky finger side) to smooth the sides and remove any creases. Using the edge of your hand also helps prevent fingerprints and ridges from forming.
  17. Once the section is smooth, lightly press the fondant to the side of the cake. As you smooth the sides, move the creases to the lower edges of the cake.
  18. Trim the bottom excess fondant with a fondant trimmer (a pizza cutter or paring knife works great, too), staying a tiny bit outside the edge of the cake. Remove the excess fondant.
  19. Using your cake marker, begin to lightly sketch your stained glass window design.
  20. With your piping bag of royal icing, trace your design with thin lines of royal icing.
  21. Grab your piping gel and start to fill in your sections. Green for the rose stem and leaves and of course red for the rose bud.

Notes

  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Be sure to allow your dairy ingredients to reach room temperature. Room temperature ingredients not only combine more effortlessly (no over-mixing needed) but they also trap air so much better. This trap air will expand and produce a fluffy texture during your baking process.
  • Prepared Pan: There will always be the "next best way to prepare your pan" article. Simply put however, the most effective way i find in my kitchen is a light rub of shortening around the sides, parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, & a very light dusting of flour (cocoa powder for chocolate baked goods) all throughout.
  • You can use this buttercream right away or place it in an airtight container in your fridge until ready to use. Just be sure to whip before using.
  • If you’d prefer to skip the shortening, simply swap it out with 1 additional stick of room temperature butter.
  • If you’d prefer a more white, stiffer, buttercream then simply omit the butter & replace with 1 additional cup of shortening. Also be sure to swap out the vanilla extract for clear vanilla extract.
  • Make sure you sift your powdered sugar. This will help the sugar mix into the butter & shortening smoothly.
  • When all your powdered sugar has been added in, the buttercream will appear dry. Don’t raise the alarms. When adding in your milk or heavy cream, your buttercream will start to have the fluffy texture it‘s known for.
  • Keep in mind that your heavy cream should be added in 1 tablespoon at a time. I do this way to make sure I am not drowning my buttercream to the point of a soupy mess.
  • Also worth mentioning, if desired, you can easily swap out the heavy cream for equal parts of your preferred milk such as whole milk or buttermilk.

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More Cake Theme Tutorials👉 https://bit.ly/2NN3s39Let’s have a Llama Party! I had so much fun working with fondant though more practice will definitely be needed😅 Also been enjoying learning new techniques to share with everyone here so keep sending those comments over on the MANCAKE channel with what you'd like to see make next. I'll see you all very soon with another yummy tutorial so be sure to ring the bell when you subscribe 👉 https://bit.ly/30otZW3

Posted by Man Cake on Wednesday, July 10, 2019

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