How to Make Fondant

Learn how to make fondant, and your cakes and cupcakes will never look the same. Just like on your favorite cake-decorating show, fondant icing makes your treats look flawless. And this easy fondant recipe lets you decorate like a pro right in your kitchen.

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What is Fondant?

Traditional fondant is a simple powdered sugar-water mixture cooked to the soft-ball stage. After it's cooked, fondant can be beaten and kneaded until pliable, then formed into decorations or candy. Fondant has revolutionized cake and cupcake decorating, which is why it's often referred to as "cake fondant." This versatile mixture can be colored, flavored, rolled, imprinted, and cut into any shape. It can also cover an entire cake or cupcakes. Though you can purchase fondant, homemade is softer and easier to work with. Also, unlike commercial fondants, freshly made fondant usually has a better flavor. Traditional homemade fondant requires standing over a hot stove with a candy thermometer, but this easy fondant recipe is prepared in the microwave without need for a candy thermometer. It's made with marshmallows, white baking chocolate, and vanilla—and it tastes as sweet as it looks.

How to Make Marshmallow Fondant

In a medium microwave-safe bowl combine 3 cups tiny marshmallows; 1/2 ounce finely chopped white baking chocolate with cocoa butter; 1 tablespoon butter, cut up; and 1-1/2 teaspoons milk or whipping cream.

  1. Microwave on high about 1 minute or until marshmallows begin to melt and are puffy. Stir marshmallow mixture until smooth (if necessary, return to the microwave to continue melting).
  2. Stir 1 teaspoon clear vanilla* into the marshmallow mixture. Stir in 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar.
  3. Sprinkle a work surface with about 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Transfer the marshmallow mixture onto the prepared work surface and begin kneading. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar as needed, kneading until the fondant is smooth and no longer sticky (about 10 minutes). Use the fondant immediately; for storage, see tips, below.

*Tip: Clear vanilla can be found in the cake-decorating department of hobby and crafts stores.

Tips for Working with Fondant

  • Fondant can dry out quickly. If you need to store it for a short period of time, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in a resealable plastic bag.
  • For longer storage, roll fondant into a ball, then coat with a little vegetable shortening. Wrap in plastic wrap, then place the wrapped fondant in an airtight container. Store for up to 2 months. Do not refrigerate or freeze the fondant.
  • If fondant is too soft or sticky to roll, knead in a little additional powdered sugar.
  • You might want to invest in a silicone mat for rolling out fondant for a smooth surface and easy release.
  • Make sure your hands are clean when handling fondant, and avoid wearing clothing with fibers that might shed.
  • If you are covering a cake or cupcakes with fondant, first cover lightly with a glaze or buttercream frosting to create a smooth surface.

How to Color Fondant and Flavor Fondant

A spectrum of colors is available in paste-style food coloring. The advantage of using paste food coloring to color fondant is that the color will not be diluted when you mix it with the white fondant. Use the colors as packaged or combine them to create custom colors. Paste food colorings are available at hobby and crafts stores.

Tip: Wear plastic gloves to avoid discoloring your hands. If you are using different colors, you will want to use several pairs of gloves.

To customize the flavor of your fondant, simply replace the vanilla in the above recipe with a few drops of your favorite extract, such as almond, lemon, or orange.

How to Roll Out Fondant

To use fondant, roll it out with a rolling pin on a surface coated with additional powdered sugar. For large sheets to cover cakes and cupcakes and for cutting out decorations, roll out a sheet about 1/8 inch thick. If you are going to cover a cake, you might want to invest in a special wide rolling pin designed for fondant.

How to Decorate with Fondant

Get the recipe for Spring-Theme Fondant Flower Cupcakes

Now that your fondant is made, use these tools and techniques to decorate.

  • Pastry wheel or cutter-embosser: These tools are perfect for cutting decorative strips for edges or borders. You can also create interesting patterns directly on a sheet of fondant, such as a quilt pattern.
  • Cutters: Small shaped cutters designed just for fondant are available at stores that carry cake-decorating supplies. Use the same technique to cut out fondant shapes as you use cookie cutters for cutting out shaped cookies.
  • Sugar sprinkles or edible glitter: Sprinkle these onto fondant for high-impact accents. These work great on small accent pieces made of fondant, such as flowers, leaves, and alphabet letters.

Our Favorite Fondant Cakes

Sometimes called "cake fondant," this mixture was made for cake decorating. Get inspired by some of our favorite fondant cakes, then use our easy fondant recipe to make one yourself.

Follow our step-by-step instructions to bake and frost a party-worthy cake.

Fondant Cupcakes

Fondant isn't just for cakes. These adorable cupcakes get their extra flair from fondant icing.

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