Cake Decorating Blog

Oh Humidity, Why Do You Hate Fondant So?

You love working with fondant to create fantastic feats of cake decoration, from a simple yet elegant allover covering to complex shapes, figurines and fondant flowers. However, if you live in a hot and humid climate, chances are you don't love how fondant reacts to the heat. Far from thriving, fondant can become a hard-to-handle, sticky and too-soft medium for cake decorating in balmy climates.

Thankfully, this does not mean that you have to avoid fondant when the weather is hot, especially considering that the summer is prime wedding cake season. Fondant can be used in the heat, provided you follow certain precautions to keep it in perfect working condition.

Rollded Fondant Flower Cake on Craftsy.com

Rolled fondant flower cake via Craftsy member TashasTastyTreats

For inspiration on the many ways to work with fondant, start with the online Craftsy class The Wilton Method: Decorating With Fondant. This class will provide you with the building blocks of fondant success, from rolling and molding to creating delicate bouquets.

To help you beat the heat, here are some easy tips for working with fondant in humid climates.

Baroque Fondant Cake by Craftsy instructor Beth Somers

Baroque beauty cake via Craftsy instructor Beth Somers

1. Condition the air

Regardless of what the weather is like outside, you can control the quality of the air in your kitchen. If you're going to be decorating cakes with fondant frequently, an air conditioned kitchen is very important. Many bakers will also invest in a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air, making the perfect climate for cake decorating.

2. The fridge is a foe...mostly

You may find yourself thinking "instead of air conditioning, I'll just finish the cake quick and store it in the fridge." Bad idea. Not only can the fridge dry out cakes and make cracks in fondant, but removing the cake from the refrigerator and re-introducing it to the heat and humidity can have adverse affects on the cake. As it warms, the humidity can cause the fondant to form condensation, which can cause irregular drips down the sides, or worse, bleeding colors. If refrigeration is necessary for whatever reason, use the same tips for storing fondant flowers and return to heat gradually.

Sometimes, however, the fridge can be your friend. If your fondant is too soft to work with, the fridge can be your friend for short-term cooling. Pop it in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes; this should help it firm up. Don't leave it in the refrigerator for too long, though, because this can cause it to dry out.

Gift Box Fondant Cake

Gift box cake via Craftsy instructor Beth Somers

3. Cool your hands

Your hands are what you use to create cake art, so you have to take care of them. If you have hot hands, it may affect your fondant. Keeping your hands cool and your tools, too, can be a simple way to maintain your fondant flow when you're working on a cake. Running your hands briefly under cold water under the tap and then drying thoroughly before working with fondant can make a difference.

4. Starch it up

When rolling your fondant, use cornstarch instead of confectioners' sugar to dust the surface. If your fondant is tending toward sticky, the confectioners' sugar will be absorbed more rapidly than you might like; cornstarch won't absorb in the same way, and will be more effective in keeping the fondant from sticking too much.

Springtime Cake Decorated with Fondant Daisies, Bees and Ladybugs

Daisy cake via Craftsy member cakeartisan

5. Break out the booze

Totally not joking: Alcohol can improve your cake decorating. Since it evaporates quicker than water, it won't add excess moisture, making it an ideal adhesive to attach fondant cutouts to a fondant topped cake. Vodka is favored as it is colorless and doesn't impart much of a flavor, but any clear spirit can be used.

You might also enjoy our tips on hot weather cake decoration.

Do you have any tips for working with fondant in hot weather?

9 Comments

carolyn castleman

I love all the helpful tips and tutorials you share.

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Tina Simmons

I’m having problems with my fondant coming away from my cake , sagging with bumps all over. I have tried making a denser buttercream to put on cake , I have tried keeping cake at room temperature , I have tried keeping it cool . Nothing has helped. I don’t know if it’s because my cakes are to moist . I bake them the appropriate time as calls for. About an hour after the fondant is on the cake it starts sagging drooping bad ! I have a 3 tier red velvet ewe didn’t cake to do in March and I’m panicking . I want my fondant to stick to the cake without coming away from cake , I want it to look professional . Please help !!!

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Tina Simmons

Also I need to know what’s the recipe to make a 3 tier red velvet wedding cake that won’t stay moist on the outside and my fondant will not sag and stretch , it’s like the fondant swells up and droops bad !!!! Please help, thank you

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Dawn

It sound so easy to do when you teach us ,understand everything but is it better to use Royal icing on a cake in the carribean or fondant?

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Anne gatt

Where I live we do not have cornstarch, so what is the alternative?

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Cheryl

Where do you live? In Australia we call cornstarch corn flour.

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Lourdes

Rather helpful. Thank you. I do have some questions… If the finished cake (w fondant) shouldn’t go in the fridge, then where can it be stored over night? Would I have to make it the same day that I would be serving it?

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Lotta

A bit late reply maybe but use chocolate ganache under your fondant. You can easily adjust how hard you want it to set and it holds up under the fondant. I live in southern Thailand and make wedding cakes (without access to an air conditioned kitchen) so I am used both to heat and high humidity

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Cristiane

Hello Lotta! your experience is very helpful for me.. I live in Italy, but I’ll be making a wedding cake for a friend in Brazil and I’m afraid of it as I know there is pretty humid and hot. What kind of paste do you use for flowers with this kind of weather conditions? fondant with cmc, flower paste, pastillage or chocolate modelling paste or something else? thank you!

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