Sugar Paste / Fondant Basics for Cake Decorating

fondant basics how to colour fondant

Where to get fondant / sugar paste

Sugar Paste or Fondant can be purchased from most cake decorating stores, if you don’t have one near you then buy ‘orchard white icing’ from supermarkets if you are Australia.  Alternatively you can make marshmallow fondant or normal fondant at home.

For a review of eight different types of fondants with video and photo comparisons click here.

Colouring sugar paste

To colour the fondant you will need concentrated gel food colouring, the waterbased colours from the supermarket are not suitable as they will make the fondant too wet.  Put some colour on a knife or skewer and poke it into the fondant and then massage it through until it is evenly coloured.  Repeat if a darker shade is needed.  See the video below for a demonstration.

Tip: if you are unsure about what colours to mix to get the required tone use the chart below as a rough guide.  The top value is cyan (blue), next is magenta then yellow and finally black.  Each value is out of 100.  So to make the first light grey colour add a small

amount of black.  To make the first green on the bottom row you would need to add a lot of yellow and some blue and black.  This is not an exact science as the chart below is for web colour but it gives you a rough guide of where to start.  Note – you can always add more colour so start with a small amount particularly with dark colours.

If you require black or bright red I advise buying pre-coloured fondant from a cake decorating store, otherwise you tend to end up with pink or grey.  Spare fondant can be double wrapped in plastic and stored in the cupboard or freezer.

For skin coloured fondant follow the video below:

Place some greaseproof paper on you bench top to protect the bench and make it easy to move your creations without destroying them.  Find a picture of what you want to make and start creating.

How to train your dragon cake – yes I have boys!  I made the wings, eyes, nostrils and horns ahead of time so they could harden.  Then the day before made the cake, covered it in butter cream and then in fondant.

Batman Gotham City Cake – I made all the details of the city including the windows and gutters a few weeks before the party.  The cake is covered in coloured butter cream and the the fondant details added.  Note – the batman figurines are minifigures that i purchased.

Thomas the tank engine cake – the face and the number 3 are fondant, the rest is butter cream and licorice.

This is a huge black forrest cake with chocolate gnache, covered in fondant.  The stars and mask are also made out of fondant.


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Ann

About Ann

Hi I'm Ann, food scientist, dietitian, wife, mum to 3 boys. Join me each week for desserts, chocolate and cakes.
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82 Responses to Sugar Paste / Fondant Basics for Cake Decorating

  1. FATOOM says:

    HELLO

    WHICH COLOR EXACTLY IS magenta
    GREEN OR PURPLE

  2. jo says:

    I am trying to make royal icing the color of the new model of the CH47 Chinook helicopter. Please help!!!

  3. Zaneblane says:

    I love your work!! I don’t understand your color chart.. Please explain it to me.. I’m a self taught newbie

  4. Lyta says:

    Hi Ann. I am new to fondant and my youngest brother wants me to make his birthday cake and the design for his cake requires fondant. Do you have any tips for beginners?

  5. Janat says:

    Dear Ann,
    Im far from you, Kazakhstan, Almaty. One week ago my wife showed me one cake and from that time I’m still bewitched of such art cake design and today I found you. I like your videos. Even I m not rich of cooking terms even though I m good at Englsh nevertheless I have always to apply to google translation. I saw video of gingerbread house and I didnt catch precisely how did you manage to make brown dough that is used for walls and roofs. Could you tell what ingredients need?
    One more what ingresients need for cake for 3Dminion. thanks much.

  6. Amanda says:

    Hi Ann!
    I just love watching your video of the princess barbie doll cake. I am going to be making my very first doll cake for my nieces birthday, a monster high one! I’ll be doing the layers of buttercream frosting between the cakes and using marshmallow fondant. I plan to put it all together the night before her party, what is the best way to store the cake until her party?

  7. loretta says:

    Hi Ann I am making a minecraft cake could you post some figures (piggy and creeper)
    Thank-You
    Loretta
    xx

  8. Shannon says:

    Hey Ann, could you possible tell me what sites you get your gel colours? I live in the country and my local super value only gets liquid colouring

  9. Sheila Stevens says:

    Hi ~ I just found your website, and am very interested in your icing coloring chart. I’m trying to understand the #’s along each side… I think they each add up to 100, but I’m not sure which % of which color?

    Your website is AWESOME!!

    Thank you,
    Sheila aka Gammaw

    • Ann Ann says:

      c= cyan
      m= magenta
      y= yellow
      k= black
      If ou made the above colours the numbers are the percent of each you’d need to add to mix the colour shown.

  10. Steph says:

    Hi Ann – love that you share and answer everyone’s questions. Good on you. I am attempting a two tiered Naming Celebration cake. I am doing a blue toned rainbow style cake but am undecided in square or round at this stage. I like working with the marshmelllow fondant but I’m stuck with what to use to create the letters of my sons name which will be standing out of the cake on wire? Or maybe I should just sit them upright in the cake? Also what’s the difference between gum and sugar pastes? I’m a tad nervous!

    • Ann Ann says:

      Hi Steph gum paste is sugar paste (also known as fondant) with tylose powder mixed in. It make is set hard fast which is great if you need it hard the same day, but also makes it harder to work with because it will be starting to ‘set’ quickly.
      You could use either for the letter, but if using fondant you’ll need at least a couple of days for it to firm up, leave the letters lying flat with the cake wire in them while they dry out.

  11. Vani Keerthi says:

    Hi Ann, Am a big fan of yours!

    Please can you let me know if there is any veg. version. I’ve tried using agar agar but it did not turn out well.

    Hope you’ll reply!

    Cheers! :)

  12. Zum says:

    Hey, I know I am going to sound pretty dumb but I dont get the chart.. I have never worked with fondant and i want to bake a minion cake for my sons birthday. I am looking for the yellow, black and the bluish color that you used in your minion cake. I would really appreciate if you help me out with it. Thank you..

    • Ann Ann says:

      Hi Zum, for black, buy black fondant it si really hard to make black, you’ll get grey. Like wise with the dark blue, either buy blue or use heaps of blue gel colour and some black. yellow, just a little yellow gel colour mixed into white fondant

  13. Joel says:

    Hello Ann,
    just want to share a trick I tried with success today; I was doing a cake (a ladybug), but forgot to do the antennas in advance but needed them to dry fast so they would hold; I put them in my food dehydrator at the lowest heat setting for about 8 hours, and it did the job! So maybe it can help someone who is at the last minute like me ! Here’s a pic of the cake

    • Ann Ann says:

      Hi Joel, that is a cute cake, well done and thanks for sharing your tip. you can also add Gum-Tex, tylose or Gum Tragacanth but most people do not have those on hand.

  14. Sandra Wagner says:

    Dear Ann,
    I would just simply like to say “THANK YOU”! Your homepage is great! My sister was always the baker in the family and I was the one cooking! Since I found your page I can keep up with her and she starts asking me for advice :-) I told her about your page and she is more than impressed!!!! Thanks heaps again for all the tips and especially for the fondant one! So easy and soooooo good! Love making theme cakes these days and can’t wait to surprise my partner with an Inspector Gadget cake for his birthday next week!!!!
    All the best
    Sandra

  15. Chrissie says:

    \thanks for sharing the colour chart. as you mentioned, there are four colours needed which are Cyan(blue) , yellow, black and magenta. What colour is magenta in food gel paste?

    Many thanks

  16. Joel says:

    Here is a picture of my first cake using fondant; couldn’t have done it without your help! The cake weight 6.6 kg! Inside is the vanilla cake you used in the princess cake, with a filling of milk chocolate truffle paste, coated with vanilla buttercream and finally fondant! Very nice experience! I learned a lot, as mentioned in my previous post!

  17. Joel says:

    Hi,
    Thank you so much for all those nice things you show us!
    This weekend was my first try at using fondant; it was hard but I learned a lot ! (I’m making a semi 3D minion for my oldest girl birthday).
    I used the marshmallow fondant recipe you give and, at first, found it very hard to work with because it was so sticky! I couldn’t get it off my cooking paper; then I try using “lots” of icing sugar, et voilà! What I do, if for example I want to roll it, I make sure to spread a thin coat of icing sugar on top of the fondant before rolling (dispersing it evenly with my hands), I roll 2 or 3 times, put some icing sugar back on it, flip it over, put agiain icing sugar over it, and start the process over again until I get the tickness I want.
    At first, I was scared to add icing sugar because I thought it would change the color, but I realised that once the fondant settles for a bit of time, it kind of sweat, and the icing thin coat of icing sugar dissolve.
    The one thing that is still a big challenge for me is the coloring part; since the fondant is so sticky (especially when I worked it for a while, which is what I need to do for coloring it), if I stop moving it in my hands for more then about 2 secondes, it sticks like crazy to my hand and it quite a challenge to get all of it together again…
    So, I was wondering is my way of working with the fondant is ok, and is it normal that it is sticky ? (I followed your recipe precisely).
    How do I color it without it sticking so much to my hands (should I do the same thing as I do when rolling it, which is using lots of icing sugar?).
    Do you also have a trick to make it dry fast ?
    Thank you from Quebec, Canada!

    • Ann Ann says:

      Hi Joel, if the fondant is sticking to my hands or the rolling pin but it is the right consistency then I spray my hands and the rolling pin with cooking oil spray. Adding more icing sugar is also fine, knead it through, or letting it cool if it is warm it will be more sticky.

  18. DeJanay says:

    Hi! I saw your video on the minion cake, and I want to make it for my daughter’s birthday. did you color the yellow and blue fondant or did you buy it like that already? Also, how long should I let everything dry before putting everything together and can I bake the cake the day before her birthday?

  19. lisa says:

    hi ann sorry this colour on fondant I need ,,thank u ann

    • Ann Ann says:

      Hi lisa, I usually just mix primary colours to get the colour i need. If you are making buttercream like on this cake then put 1/4 cup of it in a seperate bowl and add measured amounts of colouring until you get the right colour, in this case blue with a tiny bit of green, you wont need much green because the yellow of the butter will also effect it. Once you are happy with it use those proportions of colour on a grander scale in the bigger bowl of frosting. If making fondant colour most of it a pale blue and colour a small ball pale green, then add bits of the green ball until you are happy with it – this makes it easy to add small amounts of colour. Hope that helps :D oh and you need gel colour for fondant

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