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)

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

103 Comments View Comments

  1. hi ann what I wanted to make bmo from adventure time his colour is teal should I use wiltion colour or the liquid to make the teal colour thank u ann

  2. hi
    just got inspired to make a barbie cake want to know can i use whipped cream to decorate i m anxious will it come well

    • hi malini, I wouldn’t use whipped cream for piped designs as it doesn’t tend to hold its shape as well as the buttercream.

  3. Hi, I want to make fondant for the first time today. I wanted to know if I could use black food coloring to make the flesh color for a person? Would that work or would it be too dark? I don’t have time to go to Michael’s, and any fast replies would be great. Thanks.

    • Hi annick adding black will make grey, for a darker skin tone use less white in the mix

    • Hi Annick, Ann has good instructions for making skin colour fondant on the blog page https://www.howtocookthat.net/public_html/wp-admin/post.php?post=35&action=edit about half way down. To make a darker skin tone, you need the same basic colours but in a brighter tone. Adding black will just give you a grey tone.

  4. hi,,love this video super helpfull,,,thnaks so much
    wish one yellow are you using?

  5. Can you freeze fondant to make it last longer?

    • Yes you can I do that with colours that I only use a little of like the black, double wrap in thick plastic

      • Okay great. Thanks a bunch.

        I’m going to try and make some. I hope it goes well

      • Can you use black food coloring to color for a caucasian person topper?

  6. Hello,
    Love your cakes

    do you have fondant recipe without gelatine?

    Also can you give me measurements in grams

    thanks,
    Sabira

  7. hi ann, i love to watch your videos and even if i have not tried yet any of your recipe i bet it super delicious and would be a lot of help for me since i’m a beginner but baking is really my passion. i would just like to ask what is the best or maybe you can suggest to frost the cake before covering it a fondant icing? Thank you and i hope i can hear your reply soon.

  8. Hi I have question. I used orchard white icing for my cake. I have so much this icing left. How can I store it? Like in fridge or in air tight container outside fridge? For how long it will it stay?

    • Hi Riddhi, if you are not using it for a month then wrapped in plastic in an airtight container in the cupboard is fine, if longer double wrap it in thick plastic (e.g. inside 2 ziplock bags) and store in the freezer.

  9. hi,
    thanks for posting all these great tutorials, you’re really good at decorating!!
    btw, i covered cake with fondant, at the beginning the cover was fine, but later, there was a bulge on the side of the cake (the fondant). Idk why this happened. I buy my fondant, is there anyway to make it dry faster or slower? because it’s difficult to find gumpaste here in my city. and if my fondant is hard to dry out, thus it’s pretty hard to make 3d shape, can i add something so it can dry out better? and the humidity here’s pretty high….
    so what’s your favorite fondant? homemade, marshmallow, or store?
    Thanks a lot, I really appreciate your help!

    Stella

  10. Hi ann just wanted to know how do i get the pink from the doll dress of barbie i went to the shop to have a look thay have bright pink can i use wilion colour if so can i have the number of the pink thank u ann

    • Hi beth, I used red, mixed with the white fondant it comes out pink.

  11. Hi Ann!!!

    Big fan, I’m a beginner with the fondant making. This is my question??? Do I refrigerate the fondant?

    Thanks,
    Vivi

    • Hi vivi, commercial fondant does not need to be stored in the fridge, store double wrapped in plastic and in an airtight container in the pantry cupboard.
      Once a cake has been decorated you can place in the fridge or leave at room temp depending on the cake.

  12. I used regular powdered sugar, not regular sugar.. Sorry! This iPad is making his on words haha

    • Hi Nina, use pure icing sugar (check the ingredients it should just be sugar no cornstarch)

    • Also, try microwaving it in shorter intervals.

  13. Hi there, so i used regular sugar to make marshmellow fondant Because i can’t get sugar icing here. I live in the jungle :p and it went wrong, it was hard and it broke.. I also used THE normal liquid coloring that you can Guy in THE supermarket.. Do you have and tips for me? Cause i realy want to make it 🙁 thnx,
    Nina

    • Hi nina, you could try this recipe i have never used it so can’t vouch for it … http://candy.about.com/od/fondantcandyrecipes/r/basic_fondant.htm

    • Hi Nina,

      Try blending your regular sugar in a food processor or strong blender. If you do it long enough it should turn into sugar icing (also called powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar). You can order gel colors online through a cake decorating supply website like Americolor or even Wilton. Not sure how much delivery cost would be, but it is possible.

      Hope this helps!
      Laura

  14. Is it rally impossible to use waterpassend colorist for marshmallow fondant? Because i can’t get anything else where i live in Costa rica in THE middel of no where ..

    • There schold say waterbased coloring.. Not waterpassend colorist Sorry, im using à iPad, kittel new with it.

      • water based colors just add a lot of liquid to the mix, if you can’t get anything else you can boil them to get rid of some of the water – giving you concentrated colour.

  15. Hi. I have a couple of questions: 1. Can i make fondant flower decorations, can i make them like 10-12 days ahead of time, also would u recommend 3d flower decorations with fondant 2. how do i store them 3. can i bake the cake 4-5 days ahead and freeze it…how..cover it with something or not. 4. should i cover the butterfrosted caked with fondant the night before the birthday or the day of the party…if yes, do i put the cake with the fondant in the fridge….5. do u recommend that i put the final decorations on the day of the party and where should the cake be stored after that, room temp outside or fridge 6. the doll should be put right at the end i suppose??. i am sorry, i know so many questions….but i have never worked with fondant and really need your help. thanks in advance

    • 1. Yes you can make fondant flower decorations, some people prefer working with gum paste though, which is just fondant with an additive added to make it dry out quicker. If using fondant you will have to use tissues or similar to support it in shape while it is drying out.
      2.once dried out store in an airtight container 3. Cover you cakes with buttercream and then freeze, watch the princess cake tutorial to see how to use sugar syrup to keep the cake moist if making ahead this is a great tip. You can cover with fondant the day before the party. If you add fondant to a very cold cake it will ‘sweat’ and can be hard to work with so you may find it easier to defrost. You may need to lightly spray with water before applying fondant to make sure it sticks to the buttercream. 5. you can put all the decorations on the day before completely finish your cake and leave at room temp (unless it is really hot where you live in that case put in the fridge.)

  16. hii 🙂
    i was wondering if u did end up using liquid food colouring to colour fondant could you use icing powder or cornstarch to stop the stickyness??
    by the way love your work its very informative and easy to follow 🙂
    thanks

    • Hi Jess, Yes you could give that a try – I’d go with icing sugar and mix it with you liquid colour separately until you get a thick almost dry paste so that you know how much extra icing sugar you’d need.

  17. Hi, I like your blog. It is very informative. It inspired me to make a cake on my sons forthcoming birthday. I have never used fondent icing before. Wanna try this time but I don’t know any place to get gel food coloring. As I live in Sydney can u tell me where I can buy those food color.

    • Hi Farah, Happy Birthday to your son. Yes you can get it at cake decorating stores, do a google search for “cake decorating store sydney” to find one near you. Otherwise there are plenty of cake decorating stores online too that will post to you. : )

  18. May I know how should I store the fondant during summer and do I have to bake it after making the character that I want and how long and what temperature should I bake it?

    • Hi Jolly, I do hope that this comment gets to you on time – I have visions of you baking your carefully constructed fondant figure and it melting before your eyes. No, please do not bake it. Once you have made your creation you can leave it to harden – I put mine on a tray on top of the fridge so they do not get bumped. Do not put them in an airtight container until the have already dried out. If you have fondant left over that you want to store put it in ziplock bags in the fridge if using soon or freezer for longer storage.

      • thank you for your advise. I love your creations a lot.

        • I have once made so many cherry blossom flowers and roses.. to my stupidity i have left them in the oven on the lowest temp. to my horror everything have melt down!

          • Oh vani, that would be so disappointing, as you now know air dry 😀

  19. Hi ya

    Your info is fab thank you. I am quite new to using fondant and I am making my daughter a Disney princess Ariel cake. I have just noticed you have said to make models etc in advance. I am using a stencil to cut out the mermaid shape, would you recommend made these in advance and how do you need to store them?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Rebecca, You do not have to make any in advance, I like to make some details ahead to save time on the day that you are making the cake. I look at the cake design and decide what I I can make ahead – it needs to be a detail or part that can set hard and be put in place, not something that you need to be able to bend around the cake. I store them on a board on top of the fridge to dry out – if you put them in an airtight container they will not dry out. Once dried you can put them in a container. If you are using a stencil to cut it out are you making a flat design? If so you could make the whole design ahead and then place it on the cake.

  20. This is incredible!!!

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