Hey y’all! It’s time for some colorful language! 🌈
Like red, yellow, complimentary colors, color wheel, contrast… Why? What did you think I meant? (🤬 LOL! Get your mind out of the gutter! 🤣)
One of the best things about fondant is how easily it takes color. And once you’ve dye it the color you want, you can turn that fondant into any shape that you’d like. But let’s not get too far down the infinite rabbit hole of making shapes just yet. 🐇🕳 First, let’s talk color.
There are three ways you can color your fondant.
You can add dye to the entire thing. You can paint it with an edible quality paint brush. (Do NOT use just any old paint brush you find in your arts and crafts drawer!) Or you can spray it with edible spray paint. All three are super awesome in their own way. And we’re going to take an in-depth look at each one.
One quick thing before we get started: don’t forget you need to knead!
As I mentioned back in the lesson, the first thing you need to do with your fondant is knead it. You need to warm it up so it gets stretchy and will be easy to work with. Then, once it’s the consistency of taffy, you can start having some real fun. 😁👏
A good day to dye it all. You know, just like Bruce Willis did in that movie.
Wait, what? It was the other type of dye? So he wasn’t like an artist, then? A cop. Oh. Ok then. And he killed Professor Snape?! Wow! Well that’s disappointing. Here I thought he really knew his way around food coloring!
(Guys, sometimes I just crack myself up! 🤣😂)
Anyways… Back to the matter at hand: Turning fondant pretty colors.
To dye your fondant a single, solid color, you want to add the dye before you start rolling it out. This won’t be true for all of the coloring techniques. But for a single color of fondant, you add your color right in the beginning.
You’re going to want to use gel food coloring to tint your fondant. This is because it adds less moisture to the fondant, therefore it doesn’t alter the consistency as much. I know that the liquid dyes are cheaper, but it’s worth the extra money to get a dye that won’t leave you frustrated.
Then, using a toothpick or the tip of a spoon, add the food coloring to your fondant.
If you’re want a pastel shade, start off by adding juuust a little coloring. Knead the color into the fondant until the color is evenly distributed. You might want to wear some plastic gloves, because kneading by hand will get some color on your fingers. ✋ And once your food gel has been fully worked into the fondant, reassess the color.
Are you happy with it? If the answer is no, just add a little more dye and repeat until you are happy with the color.
Now, naturally, you have options. You can either make your color like a soldier in the army: uniform. Or you can get a little crazy and make it not uniform. If you want, you can actually work the dye into the fondant and stop kneading it before it’s fully integrated. By leaving it with some of those imperfect veins of color, you will get a marbled looking fondant.
Which, depending on your aesthetic, could be super cool.
Paint it like one of your French fondants 🖌🎨
If you’re feeling artistic, then go ahead and reach for your paint brush! Just like acrylics on canvas, you can use a food safe paintbrush to paint food coloring onto your fondant!
Now, I know that I mentioned earlier, but it’s worth saying again: Please don’t use the same brushes you use when you paint with Bob Ross! 🌲 (👈 Look guys! It’s a happy little tree!) To paint on your food, you want to use a brand new, never before used brush. In fact, I’ve even seen Wilton brand paint brushes in the cake decorating section at Walmart. And you know that those are made specifically to be food safe.
Alright. With that PSA out of the way, we can start to have some fun! 🤘😝 With art! 🖼
First things first. Before you start painting, you need to prepare your canvas. In this case, that means you need two things. One, you need to decide on a decoration plan for your cake. And two, you need your fondant in the right shapes to execute that design. Step one is all on you.
But when it comes to step two, you have options- because fondant is so easy to mold and shape.
You can do it with just your hands or you can get fancy with it and use utensils. Or, if you need to flatten your fondant for your design, you’re going to want to roll it out. Which is something that I’ll explain in great detail in the next topic. Once flat, you can actually use cookie cutters to cut your fondant into different shapes. Or, if you need to make a lot of thin circles (like you would to make a ruffle cake), you could even substitute the rim of a cup to make your circles. 🥤
Once your fondant is in the proper shape for your cake, it’s time to mix your paints.
Dilute the color of food dye you’re using with a small amount of clear flavor extract. This could be lemon extract, clear vanilla, or almond extract, etc. But be sure to pick a flavor that pairs well with your cake! Or you can just use water. Now, the more liquid you add, the less intense the color will be. Meaning if you only add a drop, your colors will be very vibrant. Whereas if you add a lot of extra liquid, your painting will resemble a watercolor.
Both are beautiful in radically different ways.
If you aren’t sure how much liquid to add for your cake, you can do a test piece on a small piece of fondant to compare them. Or, if you’re still unsure, reference back to your cake decoration plan from earlier. Ask yourself which look matches your aesthetic goal.
And then you paint! Unleash your inner artist and paint whatever design you’d like onto your fondant.
However, after you’re done painting, you need to be careful that dries completely. You don’t want to be handling a wet piece of art- it could get smudged! 😫 And this is especially true if you’re painting on a fondant cutout that still needs to be attached to your dessert. Because I don’t know how to pick something up without touching it. I’m just a baker, not a magician- so I know cakes, not levitation.
So let’s talk about how to glue a cutout onto your cake for a minute.
If your fondant isn’t dried out too much, you can use water to attach it. Simply paint the back of the cutout and the spot on your cake that you want it to go with water. Then press the cutout tight to the fondant to attach it.
However, I like to cheat and use light corn syrup.
It’s super sticky and pretty much guarantees that wherever I put my cutout is exactly where that cutout is going to stay. The only downside is that corn syrup dries shiny. So if there’s any corn syrup visible from behind your fondant cutout, it will be noticeable. This means that any wayward drips or adjustments “after the fact,” can create an aesthetics issue. And, unlike with water, it won’t evaporate. But all that means is you have to be careful.
You also need to be aware of gravity.
Gravity will be a factor regardless of how you adhere your cutout. So if you put a cutout on the side of your cake, just be sure to check it periodically to make sure it stays put. If it’s askew, adjust it back into place. Or, you can go even further and actually prop it in place until it’s fully stuck to the cake. I’d recommend something like a mason jar to pin it in place. It has tall, straight edges and, if need be, you can add weight to the inside of the jar to keep it from falling over.
Or, if you want to celebrate living in the 21st century, you can use edible spray paint.
Edible spray paint is a really cool product that can have a huge impact on your dessert. Plus, it’s remarkably affordable and easy to find- I just buy it at Walmart. It works exactly like real spray paint- the can even makes that sharp rattling sound when you shake it- but it’s 100% edible! It’s sold in a wide variety of colors and even comes in glittery metallics.
And this works on more than just on fondant. Anything your heart desires can be spray painted. But, for this discussion, we’re going to focus strictly on fondant.
Now, do you remember how the painted fondant needed to be in its finished shape before you broke out the colors? Well, it works exactly the same when you’re using edible spray paint. Only after your fondant has been shaped can you start spray painting.
Additionally, before you start spraying, you need to prep your work surface.
First, you need something to protect your countertops while you’re decorating. I recommend setting a sheet of parchment paper underneath your fondant. But even a clean piece of cardboard will do. Anything that’s both foodsafe and will keep your countertop from getting colored. Once your workstation has been prepped, it’s time to spray paint.
But how do you use it?
Again, just like regular spray paint. Hold it 6-8 inches away from the surface of your fondant and spray until it’s entirely covered. This distance will give you a very heavy, bold amount of coverage. But if you hold it farther away, like 12 inches, it makes for a lighter, more classic airbrushed look.
I hope you got all that, cause it’s time to move on- to more fondant!
Now I think it’s high time we get to working with cake! So click the Next Lesson button to see how to cover a cake with fondant… Or, as I think of it, learn how to blow everyone away with your mad professional decorating skills! 🤯