Humidity ruins our hair, our makeup and — you guessed it — our fondant. If you’ve spent much time with fondant, you know it gets hard to handle, sticky and way too soft in balmy climates. And there’s something completely cruel about wedding cake season being right in the thick of the summer, when fondant is on its worst behavior. Luckily, there are a few ways around this, so your cake decorations, figurines and fondant flowers can live on and avoid looking like a melty midsummer’s mess.
1. Turn on the AC
You’re almost definitely decorating indoors, so go ahead and crank that air conditioning — your fondant will thank you. If you’re using fondant frequently, consider investing in a dehumidifier to rid the air of excess moisture. It’s all about climate control.
2. Avoid the Refrigerator
The fridge might seem like a good idea, but it can wreak real havoc on a fondant-covered cake. Not only can the fridge dry out cakes and make cracks in the fondant, but when you remove the cake from the refrigerator and re-introduce it to heat and humidity, you’re in for a world of trouble. The humidity in the air can cause condensation on the fondant, which can lead to weird, irregular drips down the sides or bleeding colors.
Here’s where we backpedal a bit: the fridge can be trusted under the right circumstances. If your fondant is too soft to work with, the fridge is a great option for short-term cooling. Pop it in for 10 to 15 minutes to help it firm up. Just don’t go much more than that or it’ll start to dry out and give you trouble.
3. Cool Your Hands
The temperature of your hands can definitely affect fondant. Be sure to keep them and your tools cool. Try running your hands briefly under cold tap water and then drying thoroughly before working with fondant.
4. Starch It Up
When rolling fondant, use cornstarch instead of confectioners’ sugar to dust the surface. If your fondant is on the sticky side, it will absorb the confectioners’ sugar faster than you might like. Cornstarch won’t absorb in the same way, and will keep the fondant from sticking too much.
5. Break Out the Booze
Not even joking: alcohol can improve your cake decorating. Since it evaporates quicker than water, it won’t add extra moisture, which is great for attaching fondant cutouts to a fondant-topped cake. Vodka is a favorite since it’s colorless and doesn’t impart much flavor, but any clear spirit will do the trick. (We recommend using the excess in a celebratory martini.)