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How to make fondant icing

Lynn Wright / 17 February 2016 ( 28 April 2020 )

Add the perfect finishing touch to your cakes with fondant icing. Try our easy recipe for rolled fondant icing.

Cupcakes with fondant icing
Roll out fondant icing to cover cakes or stamp out shapes for charming little cake toppers

Unlike its harder counterpart royal icing, fondant is a soft icing that’s used to cover and decorate cakes. There are different types of fondant icing. The most popular is rolled fondant – a soft sugar dough that can be rolled out like pastry to cover cakes giving a smooth, polished appearance. It can also be cut and formed into shapes and figures to create gorgeous cake decorations.

Used warm, poured fondant icing can be poured over cakes, sweets and fruit to make a perfectly smooth and glossy surface. Sculpting fondant is a thicker, heavier fondant used for making cake decorations, models and other figures that set rock hard.

You can find ready-to-use fondant icing in most supermarkets. But with just a few ingredients, you can make your own, high-quality fondant cheaply at home.

Fondant icing is traditionally made boiling together sugar, water and a little cream of tartar until the syrup reaches what is known as the soft-ball stage. The mixture is then kneaded into a smooth dough, and flavourings and colourings added.

However, if the idea of dealing with boiling sugar doesn’t appeal, try this easier recipe for making rolled fondant icing.

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Fondant icing recipe


Makes 1kg of fondant icing

  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • 1 sachet or 4 tsp powdered gelatine (or vegetarian version)
  • 125ml liquid glucose
  • 1 tbsp glycerine
  • 1kg icing sugar, sieved, plus extra for dusting

How to make rolled fondant icing

1. Place the water in a small heatproof bowl, sprinkle over the gelatine and leave it to soak until spongy.

2. Stand the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until the gelatine is dissolved.

3. Add the glucose and glycerine, stirring until well blended, and the mixture is runny.

4. Put the sifted icing sugar in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Carefully pour the liquid ingredients into the icing sugar, stirring constantly. Mix well to ensure all the icing sugar is combined.

5. Tip the fondant paste onto a work surface dusted with icing sugar and knead it until smooth and stiff. Sprinkle with extra icing sugar if the fondant becomes too sticky.

6. You can add a few drops or pinpricks of food colouring or flavourings at this point, and knead until fully incorporated throughout the fondant.

7. Use the fondant straightaway or wrap it tightly in cling-film and store somewhere cool and dry until needed.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.