How to cover a cake board with fondant…
To give your cake the total professional look, set it on a cake board that is covered in matching fondant. This should be prepared well in advance so it is rock hard for when you are ready to place your cake on top without damaging the finish. It should be done at least 2 days before you are icing your cake but if you aren’t that organised you will just need to be really careful when you are placing the cake…
Step 1: Use some shortening to grease the working surface. I use So-Lite but you can also use cornflour to make sure your fondant does not stick.
Step 2: Knead the fondant to make it soft and easy to roll. There are some tips on this in my ‘rolling fondant tutorial.’ If you are using cornflour on the benchtop, do not knead the fondant on top of the cornflour as it will cause the fondant to dry out too fast and eventually crack.
Step 3: Form the kneaded fondant into a neat round ball. It doesn’t need to be completely round and smooth, but a neat shape to start will help the fondant stay round as it’s rolled out. Press down on the fondant ball with your palm. This will help eliminate any air bubbles that are already in the ball. It will also give you a flatter area to begin rolling.
Step 4: Take your rolling pin and roll back and forth no more than 2 times in each direction. It should look similar to the picture below.
Step 5: Gently lift the fondant up from one edge and rotate it in a 90° direction. Again, roll the pin back and forth no more than 2 times each way. Constantly moving the fondant means it won’t stick on the bench but it will also roll in a reasonably round shape rather than all wonky around the edges. The fondant from the centre will be distributed more evenly the more often you rotate it.
Step 6: Keep going with the rolling process until you have the fondant reasonably thin and even. Keep in mind that this layer of fondant is purely to decorate the cake board which will be hidden by the cake and all the decorations around the cake. It is not essential to have it 100% perfect but it is good practice for when you are working on your cake covering. Air bubbles can be pierced with a thin sewing needle or pin and rolled over again.
Step 7: Once you think you have enough rolled out to cover the entire board (either round or square), use your rolling pin to measure the diameter and make sure it is big enough. No tape measure or ruler required!
Step 8: Lightly wet your board with a spray bottle on mist or with a damp cloth or paper towel. It should not be wet, but just slightly damp. The water will mix with the sugar of the icing and form a sticky glue.
Step 9: Place your rolled fondant onto the board, either by folding it over your rolling pin, or you may be able to use your hands and arms to slide it over the top of the board.
Step 10: Smooth the fondant over the board with your hands or roll over it to push out any air bubbles or ripples. Then use a Cake Smoother or anything that is flat and smooth to press it firmly onto the board and thin it out. A cheap alternative to the proper smoother is using a disposable round thin cake board (made from cardboard). Keep in mind this covering is only decorative, it won’t be eaten and only needs to be 2 or 3mm thick to serve its purpose. Once you are happy with the thickness, push your smoother around the edge of the board slightly and you will begin to see the natural edge forming.
Step 11: Now make the board look pretty by cutting off the excess fondant from the edge. The best way to do this is with a sharp knife or a palate knife. Once you have pierced through the excess, work your way around in a circle with a sawing motion going up and down gently, with short movements. You don’t want the fondant to pull or tear off – it needs to cut leaving a clean edge. Having the cake board sitting off the bench is the easiest way to achieve this motion – so either holding the cake board up in front of your face at eye level with one hand, or having the cake board hanging halfway off the bench or having it raised up on a cake turntable or box or even an upside down cake tin are options. Get creative with whatever feels best for you!
Step 12: Use your finger to run around the edge of the cake board to remove any excess bits of fondant and clean off any rough edges. It should be nice and smooth now!
THE FOLLOWING STEPS ARE OPTIONAL!
Step 13: To add a little bit of a feature to your cake board (and also disguise any fingerprints you may make when carrying the board!) you can use one of your decorating tools to make a pattern on the edge. Select this tool shown below, and lightly press it onto the edge, only to where the lines stop and it will create a lovely shell pattern on the board edge. Don’t press it too hard so it distorts the edge or it becomes too thin, just enough to imprint a pattern and make it a bit more forgiving when you are transporting your cake (sometimes you can crack the edge when carrying the final cake because it is heavy and the fondant on the edge is thick and a bit brittle… very annoying!!!)
Step 14: If you would like to save some money on fondant and you are confident you know exactly how your cake will sit on the cake board, you can cut out the fondant from where you would like the cake to go. Simply place the cake tin you made your cake in or an exact size match cake board on top of the covered cake board, in the exact spot you want it to sit and trace around it with a knife.