Covering a cake with sugarpaste
Before going into detail about covering a cake with sugarpaste; let’s first talk about the different names given to sugarpaste, depending on where in the world you live.
Is sugarpaste the same as fondant paste?
The simple answer is YES!
Sugarpaste vs fondant paste
Sugarpaste and fondant paste are the soft/pliable, edible paste that we use to cover cakes before decorating.
The only difference is the name:
- in the UK, we mostly call it sugarpaste
- in USA, Australia (and some other countries) it is referred to as fondant
Another name you may find is ‘ready to roll fondant icing’ (for example Renshaw call their sugarpaste ‘ready to roll’).
Prepare your cake for covering in sugarpaste
Before covering a cake with sugarpaste, it will need a ‘crumb coat’. This provides a smooth surface to apply the sugarpaste to (plus it tastes yummy)! A crumb coat is normally buttercream or chocolate ganache.
I prefer to use chocolate ganache personally, as I find it gives a firmer surface for covering. When using buttercream (especially in warmer weather), it will soften whilst covering, so I don’t always get as good a finish.
To learn more about crumb coating a cake, take a look at my blog “How to crumb coat a cake“
How do you stick sugarpaste to a cake?
This will vary, depending on personal preference (and what you used for your crumb coat).
I personally use Trex (white vegetable fat) on my ganached cakes, as it enables you to move the sugarpaste around a bit on the cake.
Trex is not suitable for use on buttercream covered cakes.
Once my chocoalte ganache has set, I apply a very thin layer of Trex to the cake with my fingers.
Other ways to stick sugarpaste to a cake….
1. You can also use cooled boiled water to stick sugarpaste to either chocolate ganache or buttercream crumb coats.
I use a small, clean spray bottle (like the empty travel bottles you can buy at the chemists). I hold it approx 10cm away from the cake and spray lightly with water.
2. For chocolate ganache crumb coats, use a large flat brush to apply hot boiled water to the surface. This also helps to smooth any small imperfections on the surface of the crumb coat. I tend to use this method for carved cakes, where is it harder to smooth the ganache.
How to roll out sugarpaste
Below are the answers to the most common questions I get asked about rolling out sugarpaste for covering a cake:
How thin should you roll out sugarpaste?
This depends on the sugarpaste (or fondant) that you are using. Good quality brands can be rolled much thinner than the cheaper supermarket style brands.
I would personally recommned using the best quality sugarpaste that you can, as this will make your life much easier!
As they can be rolled thinner, they don’t really work out much more expensive, as you use less paste to cover your cake.
They also handle so much easier, preventing ‘elephant skin’ or tearing/ripping your paste.
My personal favourite, that I use for most of my cakes is ‘The Sugarpaste‘.
How to roll out sugarpaste without it sticking?
I use a large non-stick workboard to roll out my sugarpaste. However, if you do not have one, you can roll out the paste on your kitchen worktop, using these tips below:
- lightly dust your work surface with icing sugar or cornflour (use the least amount that you possibly can, as it can dry your paste)
- rub Trex (white vegetable fat) lightly onto the surface instead of icing sugar/cornflour
- roll your paste out on a large silicone mat or a large piece of greaseproof paper
Covering a cake with sugarpaste (fondant)
Once you have your paste rolled out evenly, drape it gently over your cake (you can pick it up over a rolling pin to do this).
Using your hand, secure the paste on the top of the cake, and down over the top edge gently with your hand. Rub your hand over the paste lightl (using the flat of your hand) to prevent marking the paste.
This will help to stop the paste from tearing or ripping around the top edge of the cake!
Then work gently around the cake, securing the paste to the top half of the cake. Pull the paste out gently to remove any pleats or creases before smoothing onto the cake.
Continue to work down towards the bottom of the cake, until the whole cake is covered.
Trim the excess paste away with a sharp knife or pizza cutter.
How do I make my cake smooth?
Once you have applied your sugarpaste, it may look a bit bumpy and rough.
Do not worry!
Simply use cake smoothers to polish away any imperfections.
There are various different types of cake smoothers, so it depends on personal preference.
I use flexible acrylic smoothers, to give me sharp edges and beautifuly smooth sides on my cakes.
Just be careful not to press too hard with the smoothers, or you may end up with a ridge around the top edge of your cake!
And remember – practise makes perfect.
It make take a few attempts to perfect your techniques for covering a cake, so don’t give up!
Want to learn to cover your cakes like a pro?
Decorate a cake like a professional
Would you love to learn how to prepare, crumb coat and cover your cake like a professional?
In my online course, I teach you step by step, the techniques I use to cover ALL of my cakes.
You will learn everything you need to know, to create this beautifully smooth, stacked 2 tiered cake.
Giving you the perfect base, ready to add the decorations of your choice.
A very enjoyable and helpful course. Julie teaches at a good pace, with thorough explanations and useful tips along the way.
Interested in cake decorating and sugarcraft?
I have a fabulous FREE FB community group, full of like-minded, supportive people.
It is a safe space for learning and sharing, so please come on over and join us.
You will be made very welcome.
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