How to cover a cake with fondant icing

Learn how to cover a stacked, filled sponge cake with buttercream icing before rolling over fondant icing and polishing for a smooth, neat finish.

Points to remember

  • Prepare your cake by stacking your layers and filling with jam and buttercream icing, then place on a cake turntable.
  • Measure across the top and sides of the cake using a piece of string. This will act as a guide for when you roll the icing out later.
  • Cover the cake generously with buttercream icing by piling it on top of the cake and easing it across the top and sides. Be sure to fill all the gaps when smoothing it down the sides.
  • Create smooth edges and sharp corners by turning the cake on the turntable and simultaneously using a palette knife to smooth the buttercream on the sides and top, scraping off any excess as you go. Leave it in the fridge to firm for 30 mins.
  • Make sure your work surface is clean and free of any crumbs. Dust liberally with cornflour or icing sugar. Knead fondant icing for a couple of minutes to soften, or pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds.
  • Flip the smooth side to the top, then roll it out to fit the cake, using the string for guidance. Lift the icing using a rolling pin or your hands; drape it over the top of the cake. Smooth the fondant using cake smoothers, pushing out any air bubbles and creases, starting on the top then working down the sides.
  • Use a small knife to cut away the excess icing – don’t cut too close to the cake. Save the offcuts for decoration. Polish using two smoothers together for a perfect finish.