Fondant is a versatile type of icing that helps you make amazing cake decorations. Yet, it can be tricky to work with.
Sometimes, factors like air temperature can affect the texture and elasticity of the fondant you use. So, knowing the right way to store fondant and how to keep it from drying out is essential.
In this article, you find all the information you need to maintain the optimal fondant texture and keep it from drying out.
Fondant is fun to work with, but there are a few issues you may face when you use it. One of the top fondant problems is drying out.
Although sometimes you may want your fondant decorations to harden before you use them, other times you need the fondant to remain soft.
To understand how to keep your fondant dough from drying out, you need to know exactly why it happens.
Generally, fondant dries out and solidifies when left out in the air for a few hours, as it loses its moisture content.
Thus, you need to seal the moisture inside the fondant dough to maintain its pliable consistency.
Sometimes, you need to have a head start by creating fondant decorations to later use on a cake. Other times, you just need to keep a block of fondant soft to use later.
Luckily, there are a few ways to keep fondant flexible and soft for long. So, when the time comes, and you need to use them, they’re ready.
Here’s what you should do.
Prepare the fondant how you like, whether rolled out, cut into shapes, formed into figurines, or rolled into a log.
You can easily store fondant regardless of its shape or size. Luckily, this method works for mini figures just as effectively as it does for enormous fondant-covered cakes.
Before using the plastic wrap to cover your fondant pieces, you should spread a thin layer of vegetable shortening over it. You can also rub the grease directly onto your fondant decorations.
In all cases, make sure to seal the fondant tight into the plastic wrap.
For already-shaped decorations, be careful not to ruin their form while wrapping.
Once fully covered in plastic wrap, place your fondant in airtight containers (ziplock bags work perfectly too). Keep them at room temperature and store them in a cool dark area.
Tightly wrapped fondant can last up to three months without the need to stay inside a refrigerator or freezer.
As for a fondant-covered cake, it can stay fresh at room temperature for no more than three days after wrapping.
However, you may need to store it in the fridge if the filling requires it or the weather is too hot.
Once ready to use your stored fondant, unwrap it, knead it until it reaches the desired consistency, and roll it out.
That said, if you store fondant in the fridge, give it a couple of hours to come to room temperature and soften before use.
- Dust your workstation with powdered sugar or cornstarch to keep your fondant from sticking (especially if the weather is too hot and humid).
- Apply vegetable shortening to your work surface to keep the fondant soft (if the weather is too dry).
- Make sure the surface you work on is clean and free of any debris that may stick to the fondant (also avoid wearing clothes that produce lint, such as fuzzy sweaters).
- Apply vegetable shortening to your hands while working with fondant to keep it soft and pliable.
- Use vegetable shortening to fill in any cracks that appear while you work with fondant.
The perfect fondant has a play-dough-like consistency with a bit of extra stretch to it. Moreover, the more you knead it, the better its consistency becomes.
Yet, if your fondant is too dry, don’t be disappointed. There’s always a way to fix it.
Just keep in mind that extremely dried-out fondant may never go back to its original texture. Therefore, it’s better to know how to keep it from drying out rather than how to fix it after it dries.
In all cases, if your fondant is rock-hard or doesn’t budge when you press it between your hands, it’s better to get rid of it altogether.
Take a look at the following methods that may help you restore dried-out fondant. Before you start, make sure to remove any crusty parts of the dry fondant, as they may never melt.
One of the easiest ways to soften slightly hard fondant is by adding a few drops of water ( ⅛ teaspoon for every 24 ounces of fondant).
All you need to do is keep adding tiny amounts of water and knead until you reach the desired consistency.
Nevertheless, it’s vital to be careful because too much water can cause the fondant to become too soft.
Clearly, this doesn’t work for already-shaped fondant decorations. So, you may need to try brushing their surface with a bit of moisture and leave them for a while.
The microwave can slightly heat your fondant and bring it back to its soft consistency. To avoid it melting, use no more than ten-second intervals and knead the fondant in between.
If your fondant isn’t too hard, this method can be more than enough to revive it. Otherwise, you may need to try other ideas.
Kneading some butter into your fondant can help restore its softness.
That’s because butter has more water content than any other type of grease. So, it helps rehydrate your dried-out fondant.
If you don’t have butter at home, vegetable shortening may also work just fine.
Whatever you choose to use, you need to add a bit of grease and knead the fondant until it softens (repeat the process if necessary).
Having said that, another not-so-usual alternative to butter and vegetable shortening is glycerin.
Try adding a few drops of glycerin to your hard fondant and keep working it. Within a few minutes of kneading, your fondant should be soft enough to work with.
In some instances, you may get carried away trying to soften your fondant to the point it becomes too soft.
In this case, adding a bit of confectioner’s sugar to fix the consistency works greatly. You just have to knead it well until the sugar is completely incorporated.
Fondant is a fantastic material to use for decorating cakes, as it gives you plentiful space for creativity. Yet, using it comes with a set of challenges, such as being tough to handle.
Sometimes, it’s hard to maintain the fondant’s soft consistency. So, knowing how to keep fondant from drying out is essential.
Generally, fondant dries when left outside. Thus, the best way to maintain its softness is to wrap it tight and store it in sealable containers.
Whether you leave it at room temperature or store it in the fridge, this method can protect your fondant for a long time.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.