How to ice a cake

Once or twice a year I’ll have a sudden burst of enthusiasm and decide I’m going to do a ‘proper’ celebration cake, iced with fondant icing.

I made this cake yesterday for a friend’s 3 year old who desperately wanted a Tinkerbell cake for her birthday. She couldn’t find one in a shop, so we got a light-up Tinkerbell doll from a toy shop and I got baking!

Icing a cake with fondant icing (that’s the kind of icing which rolls out) is very easy – it’s kind of like playing with plasticine. If things go wrong you can just roll and start all over again!

Here’s my step by step guide to icing a cake if you haven’t done this before:

You will need:

  • 1 cake
  • 500g fondant icing (in this case pink)
  • 250g fondant icing for decoration (green)
  • Jam – strawberry or apricot smooth, with no chunks of fruit
  • A splash of vodka
  • Edible glitter
  • Ribbon
  • A dusting of icing / powdered sugar

Get yourself a cake – this can be a sponge cake, fruit cake, home baked or shop bought – whatever you have the time or budget for! Mine is a homemade 8″ (20cm) vanilla sponge sandwiched with strawberry jam.

sponge cake

Dust a board and your rolling pin with icing sugar and roll out your fondant icing to a size which will easily cover your cake.rolling out icing

Heat a few spoonfuls of jam in the microwave until it’s boiling, then brush your cake all over with the liquid jam. This makes the icing stick to your cake.

cake with jam

To pick your icing up, roll it around your rolling pin to stop it splitting or breaking.

fondant icing

Drape the icing over your cake and gently press around the sides – think of it like wrapping a present.

drape icing over cake

If your icing cracks a little don’t panic, you can fix this by just dipping your finger in a little vodka and smoothing over the cracks. You can always cover any imperfections with decorations too. Cut around the bottom of your cake and remove any excess icing. Don’t throw this away – you can use it to make decorations or wrap in cling film and freeze to use as decorations another time.

press icing around cake and trim

Roll out your icing and cut out decorations – in this case I cut out green and pink hearts and little flowers. I froze the rest of the icing to re-use another time.

cut out cake decorations

Use a (clean) finger dipped in vodka to stick your decorations to the cake.

cake decorations

Once your decorations are attached add a sprinkling of edible glitter – this automatically makes a cake look a million times better. Add a satin ribbon around the base to hide the join between your cake and the board, fix the ribbon in place with a pin.decorate a birthday cake

Then, you can add other bits and pieces, in this case a flashing Tinkerbell doll and some paper cut-outs of Disney fairies. Don’t forget, you can add icing and decorations to the board too!

Tinkerbell cake

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