How much fondant do I need to cover a cake?
Fondant Covering Chart
Use the chart below to determine how much fondant icing you will need to use or buy for your cake projects. The amounts listed below should also leave you with some left over for peace of mind and additional decorations.
Whenever I start a cake project one of the first questions that needs to be answered is: How much fondant do I need?
The chat below is from my cake decorating books, and it’s a guide that I still use my self constantly.
Please note: This chart assumes your cake is 4 inches high and your fondant is rolled to around 3 – 5mm (1/8 – 1/5 inch) thick.
|Cake Size (inches)||Round (kg)||Round (oz)||Square (kg)||Square (oz)|
Tips for using fondant
Knowing how much fondant to use is important to save yourself time and avoid waste. Here are my top tips on how to use fondant.
Tip 1: Use the right brand or recipe
Having taught around the world and trying many different brands of fondant, I prefer working with Bakels Pettinice whenever I can. It works best for me and helps me get consistent results every time. Using one brand consistently for my classes and projects also makes it easier to observe and fix common issues.
Here are some things you should take into account when deciding what brand to use.
Do you make your own, or buy it in bulk?
Making your own fondant can be time consuming when you use a lot. It can also be inconsistent if you don’t have the right recipe or ingredient quality. Therefore, using a commercial brand can be a lot more predictable, which is what I prefer to do. Although, one benefit of making your own though is that you can adjust the recipe to suit your flavour or other needs.
Is your weather hot and humid, or cold and dry? Do you have climate control? Will it change throughout the year?
You might like that a softer fondant can be more pliable and easy to work with. However, it can also quickly fall apart in hot or humid weather. Whereas a firmer fondant can take a lot of work to become usable in a cold winter. Therefore, climate controlling your environment helps this a lot. It ensures the same result year round. But, you will also need to consider if your cake will spend any time outside (such as a wedding in a park). In this case, you might want to change your mixture or introduce some additives like Tylose or CMC to help. Some fondant brands use different formulations for specific climates, so buying locally is also something you should think about instead of importing.
Do you have hot hands?
It sounds a bit silly but some people have super hot hands compared to others. This is really noticeable in class when one person is struggling to mix their fondant and the person next to them has theirs nearly falling apart.
Tip 2: Know when to mix your own colours
When it comes to coloured fondant, I usually prefer to mix my own colours from a white fondant base. In some cases though you have to put so much colour (like black or dark red) that it’s best to buy some pre-mixed if that’s an option. Adding too much colour can change the consistency of the fondant, especially when using gel or liquid colours.
In case you’re not sure how to colour fondant I prefer using gel colours for fondant, dipping in the tip of a knife since it’s easy to slice into the fondant to wipe it all off. Then I fold and knead the fondant until it mixes evenly. Mix only as much as you can handle at once. If it’s too hard to work with your hands, then putting it in a microwave for a very short time (VERY short – like a couple of seconds for a few hundred grams) can soften it a little.
Once you think it’s mixed, cut through it to check it’s all even. Unless you want a marble effect, because then you can just stop earlier 🙂
Another option for larger batches is to mix a small piece of fondant a few shades darker. Then after you’ve done that, mix the smaller piece into a larger piece. When you do it this way. it helps the colour blend better. As a result, you don’t get any big splotches of concentrated colour paste. For example, watch the below video to see how I coloured a 7kg batch of fondant.
I also like using a colour swatch to match colours. For example, you can buy a book like this online or pick up some paint colour samples from a hardware store. It’s especially useful when discussing cake colours with clients in person, because people often have very different ideas about what various colours are called.
Tip 3: Know how to use additives when necessary
Even with a good fondant mixture you might need to adjust it from time to time. For example, you might need it to set harder for certain decorations, or maybe you’ve had a few weeks of rain and your fondant is just a bit too sticky.
When your fondant gets sticky, adding icing sugar can help firm it up a little. In this case, adding Tylose or CMC powder should help with that. If you need help with sticky or sweating fondant, you can read our blog post “Help! Why is my fondant sweating :(“
On the other hand if your fondant becomes too dry, you can mix in a little glucose or glycerine. When doing that, start small and mix thoroughly, you’ll need to do this mostly by feel. If you’d like a more in depth understanding of this problem, you can read our blog post “Why is my fondant dry and cracking?”
Tip 4: Less is more!
When using fondant, consider that there are some people who just love how fondant tastes, and others who hate it. If I’m going to be honest most people care more about the cake under it, so it’s best to use it sparingly. In other words, as a decorator you use less which is a big win for your bottom line.
As a general rule I try to roll fondant out to 3-5mm thick when covering tiered cakes, and always have it at 5mm thick or more for 3D structural cakes so it can stretch and bend around the shape of the cake more easily.