Cake decorators are like artists that use fondant and other edible accessories to design cakes to have an appearance that gives meaning to the people who ordered the design or theme of the cake.
But this fondant usually gives the decorators trouble when they become too soft or too hard to use. So, if you are baking and using fondant but do not know how to soften or harden fondant to the right toughness, then we can help you by teaching you some ways to fix your overly softened or hardened fondant.
How to Soften or Harden Fondant?
Fondant is usually used for decorative reasons on pastry or cake items. It is more popularly used to make complex designs on cakes. The impressive cakes you see at weddings, birthdays, or other celebrations are usually the cakes that have designs resembling different objects like animals, buildings, people, etc.
When you are making this fondant, you need to be very careful with the number of ingredients you add for the amount of fondant you want to be making. If not, it will soften or harden, and you will have a hard time using the fondant when making the designs for the cake.
There could be numerous other reasons why this has happened to your fondant, so being careful with everything from the making of the fondant to the storage of it is important.
We are going to start talking about how to soften your fondant when it has become too hard to work with:
Method 1: Heating
An effective way to soften fondant when it is too hard is by carefully heating it a little bit. You can use your microwave oven for this method. Put the fondant on a dish that is microwave oven proof and put that in the microwave oven.
You do not need to heat it for hours or even minutes. Running the oven heat for about 5 seconds should be enough to soften the fondant. You should never let it stay in your oven for more than 5 seconds because this will ruin the sugar or glucose levels in the fondant and burn the fondant or make it turn into toffee.
Fondant should be flexible and easy to cut into. If it becomes chewy, then it won’t even be considered fondant anymore. You will have to throw out and start over with new fondant.
But if you think 5 seconds is not enough, then you can heat it in the oven in intervals of these 5 seconds if you want. The way to do this is by letting it heat for 5 seconds on the first round and then take the fondant out immediately. Let it cool outside because it will be too hot and too sticky to touch it, and you might get hurt.
Knead it a bit and check the toughness. If you want to soften it more, then give it another round of a 5-second microwave oven heating. Repeat this cycle safely until it is soft enough to work with.
And in cases, you don’t have a microwave oven around to use; there are other ways to heat your fondant. You can try heating the fondant by rubbing a bit of white fat on your palms as you knead the fondant. The white fat makes your hands warmer and thus creates a way to transfer heat to the fondant.
You can use this same technique with a teaspoon of edible glycerin as well since it also warms up your hand and transfers the heat to the fondant and softens it.
Method 2: Roller
Using a roller to soften your fondant is a little time consuming since it is a continuous process, but it still gets the job done. Usually, you will have a roller on your kitchen counter since cutting out designs on fondant can only be done when you roll it flat. But using a manual roller will tire you out faster.
The roller you will need for this technique is a pasta roller. It speeds up the process more, and you can take way more turns on the pasta roller with ease compared to the manual hand roller.
If you have a lot of fondants, then you should cut it into smaller pieces. Set the pasta roller machine to a wider gap compared to what setting you use for rolling pasta dough.
Make your fondant pieces go through a few rounds in the pasta roller till it gets soft. When they are all equally soft, you can knead them all together and then use it.
Fondant being too hard isn’t the only problem. Sometimes fondant can also be too soft. Below we discussed ways to harden your fondant when it has become too soft:
Method 1: Heating
The usual reason for wanting to harden fondant is when you are preparing it. You might want it to harden quickly so you can use it immediately for cutting it out into artistic pieces to add on your cake.
You can definitely use a microwave oven for this one too. However, the only thing different about this technique here is to keep it in for a longer time. The longer the fondant stays inside the oven the more of the liquid inside it evaporates and lets it become harder and stretch more easily.
If you possibly have an oven that has a convection fan in it, then that’s even better because the airflow will help dry it faster and help it get harder. The same process applies when you use a hairdryer to dry your fondant.
So, you can also use a hairdryer to heat it if you want. The heated air that is blowing hard on the fondant’s body will work just as well as a microwave oven’s heat.
This heat from a hairdryer or a microwave oven must continue for about 5 minutes before you take the heat off and let it cool. Knead it and check the toughness again. Make it go through another round of this heat for 5 minutes again to get the hardness you require.
If you want to harden up pieces of fondant flowers, leaves, or other items you have made, then you should leave those pieces in the oven for around 10 minutes to harden them before you decorate your cake with them. The time increases, depending on the increase in the size of the fondant pieces.
Method 2: Additives
A way to let the fondant harden up from the inside is by adding an ingredient called tylose powder or tylo powder. It is also known as CMC. This is an additive that helps the fondant harden faster when you are kneading it during preparation. The powder is good at making your fondant become like gum glue or toffee.
However, it takes a bit of time to set in with the other ingredients in the fondant. It is best to let the fondant dough set overnight. By morning the tylose powder will have taken effect and hardened the fondant.
The amount of powder you put in the fondant is something to be careful with because too much will make the fondant rock solid to the point you won’t be able to stretch or flatten it.
When you are making the fondant, the ingredients make an impact on the texture of the fondant.
Bakers add special additives to make the fondant properties perfect. But using heat is also a great solution to making the fondant texture right.
To avoid your fondant from being too soft or too hard also relies on how you store it before you are about to use it. All these methods are good enough to follow, to get the right feeling from the fondant when you are kneading it or cutting into it.
Nevertheless, now that you know how to soften or harden fondant, you shouldn’t have any problem.