A sugar paste, rolled fondant can be molded or cut into many shapes for decorating cupcakes. Though the taste of fondant is not for everyone, decorations made from it are completely edible. Similar to gum paste, but less brittle when it dries out, you can shape the decorative paste as you would child's modeling clay or roll it out to cut pieces. Whichever style of fondant decoration you choose to make, add them as garnishes to the top of cupcakes that you frosted with your favorite icing.
Options for shaping fondant flowers range from simple to complex. For an easy, modern flower, dust your work surface with confectioner's sugar and roll out fondant to 1/4 inch thick. Use a flower-shaped fondant or cookie cutter to cut out simple flower decorations. Allow them to dry, uncovered, for several hours before topping your cupcakes. Or, cut out a long strip of fondant. Fold it in half and roll it in on itself to make a rosette. Another option is to cut out individual petals with petal-shaped cutters or freehand, with a knife. Use a ball tool to thin out and shape each petal and a toothpick to curl the edges. Layer the petals over one another and press them together at the base to pull together a 3D flower.
On a flat surface lightly dusted with confectioner's sugar, roll out the fondant to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Use small cookie cutters to cut out fondant designs. Alternatively, sketch out a shape on the fondant using the tip of a toothpick and then cut it out with a sharp knife. Consider layering the fondant cutouts. Brush the back of one shape with a small amount of water and press it onto another shape. For example, try putting a letter or small star on top of a circle. Allow the pieces to dry, uncovered, for several hours before putting them on your cupcakes.
Break off small pieces of fondant and mold them into figurines as you would with kids' play clay. For example, roll a small chunk of fondant into a circle to create a head, then pull two small pieces up and pinch to create the ears for a bear. Cut out pieces for eyes, a nose and a mouth. Wet the back of each piece and press it into the face to complete the look.
Tips for Working With Fondant
You can buy various colors of fondant, or you can buy a large quantity of plain white fondant and mix your own colors. Paste food coloring works best with fondant, because it doesn't add too much moisture. Wearing disposable gloves, place a small amount of the food coloring on the fondant and knead it into the paste until evenly distributed. Though fondant does not get as brittle as gum paste, it will dry out and form a crust over the surface. Cover the fondant with plastic wrap when you're not working with it. Dust your work surface lightly with powdered sugar to prevent the fondant from sticking.
- Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft; The Culinary Institute of America
- The Professional Pastry Chef; Bo Friberg
Kathryn Roberts has worked in the culinary industry for nearly a decade in various roles, including pastry chef and bakery manager. After studying at the Culinary Institute of America, she earned her BFA from Goddard College and is pursing an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.