Ann Reardon

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 in 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 water-based 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 mini-figures 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 ganache, covered in fondant.  The stars and mask are also made out of fondant.

How much fondant will you need to cover your cake?

round cakes: 6″ – 500g (17.64 ounces), 7″ – 500g (17.64 ounces), 8″ – 750g (26.46 ounces), 9″ – 1kg (2.2 pounds), 10″ – 1.25kg (2.76 pounds), 11″ – 1.5kg (3.31 pounds), 12″ – 1.75kg (3.86 pounds)

square cakes: 6″ – 500g (17.64 ounces), 7″ – 750g (26.46 ounces), 8″ – 1kg (2.2 pounds), 9″ – 1.25kg (2.76 pounds), 10″ – 1.5kg (3.31 pounds), 11″ – 1.75kg (3.86 pounds), 12″ – 2kg (4.41 pounds)

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

I have been busy over the last year planning, writing and overseeing the photography and layout for my first ever cookbook! There are heaps of my favourite dessert recipes in there with a chapter on pastries, ice-cream, yummy cakes, artistic desserts and of course chocolate desserts. Each chapter has its own intro explaining the food science that you'll need to know for success every time. Booksellers where you can pre-order your very own copy: http://bit.ly/ARcookbook


All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

101 Comments View Comments

  1. Rating: 4

    can i download the chart

  2. I don’t understand how to read the numbers next to the colors on the chart. Can you offer some help with that? It would be greatly appreciated. TIA

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Hi Richard. The top number represents Magenta Blue, the second is Magenta re/Pink, the third is the yellow and bottom one is black. You will one or more of these colours to mix the colour you are after. Each row is a score out of 100 which indicates the amount of that colour you would need. You could call it points of color out of a total of 400- but you most likely never need a big quantity of any single color and the amount required will vary depending on how much fondant you are working with. So it is better to use the numbers as simply a guide on proportions or ratios of color. Ann mixes flesh colored fondant by having some fondant in each of the base colors in the rough proportions indicated by the chart.

  3. Hi Ann, we are just starting out. I saw you mentioned using gel colours for fondant and oil based for chocolate. Is there a type of food colouring that can be used for fondant and chocolate or do we need 2 different types? Many thanks for your detailed explanations and “beautiful nature” that shows through in your videos.

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Hi Giveitago. Some foods cope better with something that is water based and others oil based. For example if you had a water based color to chocolate it will make the chocolate seize. So it is best to use an oil based product. If you are making something using egg whites that is meant to be light and crisp if you add oil it tends to flatten the batter so a gel or powder will work better. No one product will work well for all.

  4. i have made fondant one time before and it was kinda crumbly.

  5. hey Ann, how should i make fondant ?!

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Hi Ingrid, Ann links to 2 types of fondant you can make at home in the recipe above. It is easier and more reliable to buy a commercial fondant if you can.

  6. I have done it.

  7. Super

  8. Hi Ann, I was wondering if i could also use powdered colours (i remember e.g squires kitchen had those) to colour fondant. I know people use it to just dust their finished decorations with to add shading, but can i use the powdered colours to colour the fondant too? Would i have to dissolve them in water or anything in that case?

    Also, would using the powdered colours be as economical as using the gel ones? Or would i have to use much much more of the powder to achive the same colour i would get with just a bit of the gel colour? Thanks, have a great day!

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Hi Ally, Ann recommends using the gel colours as they are easier to work with and adjust to get the desired shade. Powdered colours are great too but Ann tends to use them for things that you really can’t add moisture to such as decorating chocolate or for subtle shade changes on fondant decorations and she literally paints the colour on. This is great for blending colours as you can see that here in the Lightning McQueen cake: http://www.howtocookthat.net/public_html/3d-lightning-mcqueen-cars-cake-tutorial/ .

      • This helped a lot! Thanks so much!

  9. mine is just too sticky and its nothing close to a dough. what’s gone wrong?

    • Admin HowToCookThat

      Hi Chanpreet, I’m not sure what the problem is. Double check your ingredient quantities. You could try adding more icing sugar.

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