One of the many, many reasons why people enjoy baking is because the possibilities are nearly endless with what you can do. From cooking savory breads to sweet cakes, from decorating treats with all different kinds of toppings, to simply making a meal for yourself to eat, there are plenty of reasons why people choose to take up baking.
Of course, there are going to be some aspects of baking that are more troublesome than others. Particularly, the confectionary category of baking is where recipes become more complex and difficult for beginners to handle. One example of this is working with fondant.
While there are plenty of ways to make sure that your fondant looks good and tastes good, an important part of successful baking is making sure that your food also looks the way you want it to.
Depending on why you are using fondant, you might find yourself trying to figure out how to add a shine to the fondant.
Thankfully, there are several different ways you can go about adding a shine to your fondant. Depending on what materials you have, what kind of shine you need, and basic preferences, you will be able to find the method that creates the perfect shine for your fondant.
Things to Note
Before you begin working on making your fondant shiny in appearance, there are a few things that you will need to keep in mind first. Being fully aware of any unwanted results is important before you do anything that you are not used to doing.
Because there is some degree of variation in all fondants, you should always try out the shining method on a scrap piece of fondant before applying it to your cake. This will not only help you ensure that you are getting the right amount of shine from the method, but that nothing unwanted happens to the fondant itself.
You will also need to keep in mind that some methods of making your fondant shinier will “dull” over the course of time. This means that if you are baking a cake in advance, you should make sure that you shine the fondant up closer to the time when the cake will be presented to ensure that it looks as good as possible.
If you are going to eat the cake as soon as you are done applying the finishing touches, then you won’t have to worry about this aspect as much.
Getting the Materials
First things first, before you can go about adding any amount of shine to your fondant, you are going to need to make sure that you have the right materials to get the job done.
It should go without saying that the materials you will need will depend entirely on the method you are using to shine your fondant.
There are three methods that you can choose from, with each one having considerably different results. For some methods, you will also need to purchase a paintbrush to apply the glaze with.
There is the high-gloss glaze, which will provide a highly glossy appearance. For this method, you will need to purchase light corn syrup and at least 50% alcohol.
Keep in mind that because of the content of this shine, for larger cakes, you might want to consider a specialized shining spray instead. Most shining sprays will provide a similar glossy appearance.
If you do not need a permanent glossy shine, or you do not want to work with alcohol, you can consider the gum Arabic variant of the glaze. As the name might suggest, you are going to require one-part gum Arabic and two parts water to make this recipe work out.
For example, if you are going to be using one tablespoon of gum Arabic, you will need to use two tablespoons of water alongside it. This glaze lasts for approximately 24 hours before dulling slightly.
Finally, there is the easiest method of shining fondant: adding shortening. This will not provide a glossy appearance, but it will add some degree of shine to your fondant. As you can imagine, all you will really need to make this work is shortening and nothing else.
How to Make Fondant Shiny
Understandably, the methods you will be using to add shine to your fondant will differ, depending on which solution you are using. Some require minimal effort, such as adding shortening.
Other methods require a bit of mixing to make sure that everything will work as it should.
1 – A High-Gloss Glaze
If you are planning to use the high-gloss glaze, there is one thing that you will need to know beforehand. Just about any fats that are on the surface of the fondant, such as shortening, will cause this particular glaze to blister and bubble.
To prevent this, you will need to make sure that you are not kneading or rolling the fondant in any oil or fat, nor putting any oil or fat on the parts of the fondant that you intend to put this glaze on if you want a smooth and glossy appearance. Always allow the fondant to dry first.
From here, you will first want to mix the light corn syrup and the alcohol. You will want to aim for a 50/50 ratio, although if it looks a little bit too watery, you can always reduce the amount of alcohol that you are using. You will then want to stir this mixture thoroughly before applying it.
To apply it, all you will need to do is take a decent-quality, soft paintbrush and paint the glaze onto the fondant. This glaze is considered to have a permanent shine to it, meaning that it shouldn’t dull or lose its shine if you need to store your cake for a little bit before presenting it.
2 – A Gum Arabic Glaze
For the gum Arabic method, you will want to mix one-part gum Arabic and two parts water in a cup or bowl. Once these ingredients are added, you will need to stir vigorously to ensure that everything is blended as thoroughly as possible.
After doing so, you should let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes before stirring it vigorously again one more time to make sure that everything is mixed up.
As soon as you are done with the mixing, you will want to immediately apply the glaze to the fondant using a decent-quality, soft paintbrush. While this will offer a glossy appearance at first, keep in mind that in about 24 hours, the gloss will dry partially, leaving your fondant with something closer to a semi-gloss finish.
If this works for your cake, then you will not need to worry about it, but this is something you will need to keep in mind.
3 – Shortening
Finally, there is the shortening. While the shortening will not offer a glossy finish, it is an incredibly quick and easy way to brighten your fondant and make it stand out from the crowd.
For shortening, all you will really need to do is gently rub the shortening over the fondant until the shortening is thin and smooth. One can describe the finish as a smooth satin finish.
With these different methods of making your fondant shine, you will surely be able to make your cake stand out from the rest of the crowd.
No matter what ingredients you might have in your pantry, and regardless of the type of shine that you are going for, you can rest assured knowing that you will be able to make your cake look exactly the way you want it to look.
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.