Cake artist Aaron McInnis gives his pro tips on how to cover a cake in fondant and get trim edges with panels, AKA the reverse method.
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There are two basic options to apply fondant to a cake, and both have their pros and cons. Draping can be great for smooth and round edges.
To get sharp fondant edges on a cake, panels are the way to go!
Here is the reverse method used for sharp fondant edges:
- 1. For a round cake, first measure the circumference of the cake (all around). Then check the height (from top to bottom). Finally, get the diameter (width) of the top.
To make the side panel:
- 2. Drag the fondant into a sausage shape and work with a rolling pin into a long, flat rectangle. Make it bigger than your measurements, so you can cut a straight edge and overlap the ends.
- 3. Next, remove any air bubbles with a needle and smooth them lightly with your fingertip. Then, cut the bottom side of the panel to be as straight as possible.
To make the round top:
- 4. While the side panel is set, roll out a ball of fondant from the center until it is large enough to cover the top of the cake.
- 5. Go ahead and place the fondant round on the cake, working from the center with your smoother.
- 6. Using an acrylic or cardboard round, dust the top of the cake cornstarch and sandwich the cake between your two rounds.
- 7. Flip the cake! (It’s not as scary as it sounds, and you’ll have to do it again, so it’s best to do it now.)
- 8. Place the cake on your worktable upside down, use a knife or a pizza cutter to remove the excess fondant from the top of the cake.
To put it all together:
- 9. Using a clean brush, paint the edge of the fondant on the top of the cake with water to stick it on the side panel.
- 10. Slide the side panel onto a mini rolling pin for ease of use, and slide it onto the cake. Make sure the straight edge meets the top of the cake all the way around. To make sure, press the panel on the cake with your smooth.
- 11. Overlap the ends, and cut a straight line down the center of the overlap. Discard excess clippings. Paint the edges of the panel with water and join the ends for a perfect seam.
- 12. Using the round cake as a guide, trim the excess fondant from the side panel along the bottom of the cake.
Sandwich the cake between two rounds, turn over, and voila – perfectly sharp edges!
Tips and tricks from the Pro:
- 2 measuring tapes are better than 1. (Keep one taped to the work table – or a ruled cutting mat is also very useful!)
- Dab some shortening on your hands to prevent the fondant from sticking to them while you work with it.
- Dust your surface with a nylon sock filled with cornstarch (a new one, please!)
- While acupuncture needles are the nicest and won’t leave marks in the fondant, they are pretty easy to lose! Quilter’s Straight Pins with colorful heads are better for the clumsy or forgetful.
- As long as you keep the seam on the back of the cake somewhat straight and aligned with other tiers, a visible seam is perfectly acceptable.
- Most of the scraps from your precision cuts can be recycled into your fondant. Avoid those that have been contaminated by other ingredients.
Have you tried the upside down method before? Tell us in the comments section!