“Why does my sugarpaste crack when I’m covering cakes” is a question I often hear when I’m teaching, even from people that have been decorating cakes for a while. Usually the simple answer is that either, the paste hasn’t been kneaded enough or the consistency of the paste isn’t correct i.e. it is too soft and stretchy or it is too hard and dry.
The first thing you must always do when using sugarpaste aka rolled fondant is to knead the paste to warm it and allow it to stretch. As you knead, you should see a change in the consistency of the paste, it should become smooth and have some stretch.
TIP: If your paste is particularly cold or hard, you can help this process along by popping the sugarpaste into a microwave for 10-20 seconds.
Consistency of the paste too soft and stretchy
This tends to happen when you colour your own sugarpaste and have added a lot of paste colour. However I also find this sometimes when I buy in ready made coloured sugarpaste. The solution is to knead some CMC (also known as Tylo powder and Tylose etc) into the sugarpaste and keep adding small amounts until the icing feels firmer – but of course don’t over do it!
Consistency of the paste too hard and dry
This tends to be true of certain brands of sugarpaste at any particular time. Don’t despair! Firstly try kneading in some white vegetable fat. White vegetable fat (shortening) is often known by a brand name: in the UK, White Flora or Trex; in South Africa, Holsum; in Australia, Copha; and in America, Crisco. These products are more or less interchangeable in cake making. If the paste is still too dry try add a little water – don’t over do this and only add when all else fails!
NOTE: These tips also apply to Pettin Ice, Regalice, Australian Pasta, Satin Ice, RTR and Ready to Roll.
I hope you find these tips useful and answer the age old question – Why does my sugarpaste crack when covering cakes?
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