It is much easier (and far more forgiving) if you apply fondant to a cold cake.
When you put the fondant on a room temperature cake, you cannot use too much pressure when smoothing it out on the top and sides because the cake will want to shift and the filling will tend to bulge. If you need to peel off the fondant for some reason or another, you will take off far more buttercream undercoat then you would if the cake was cold and you will need to crumb coat, etc all over again which adds time (as well as stress!) to your schedule.
Chilling the cake after the fondant is applied is a definite “your mileage WILL vary” kind of thing. There are some who say that you should never refrigerate a fondant covered cake because of the condensation that forms on the fondant once you bring the cake out of refrigeration. There are some who say if you are careful, you can refrigerate a fondant covered cake. Both are right, depending on the circumstances: type of refrigeration (commercial or home, humid or dry), weather (are you in a dry climate or warm, humid climate), and how you wrap/store the cake. I’ve done it (and in fact, right now in New England, I can get away with covering a cake, then just putting it in a huge bun-bag and putting it in the walk in. Once the weather gets warmer, say around May/June, I will have to put the fondant covered cake in a box, then put that inside the bun bag and then hope that not too much condensation forms but I know that by the time the cake arrives at its destination, the condensation will have evaporated and the cake will be fine.)
Thank you for the reply. Baking is such an exact science…up to a point! Then it’s all, “if this then that.” I hadn’t expected that.
I’m going to go home and ice my cakes and stick them in the fridge. I’ll put on the fondant and tomorrow and leave them out on the counter under cover until the party on Saturday. I made the milk chocolate buttercream for one of the tiers and mousselines for the others. Since I’m in New England too, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the coolness in my house will be enough to keep everything fresh.
I am also interested in the logistics of fondant application and storage. I have successfully done quite a few cakes covered in it - some very large - but they have always been frosted with good old reliable “Decorator’s Buttercream Frosting” - a mixture of very stiff Royal Icing and icing sugar buttercream made with combo of shortening and butter, with lots of extract and some salt for flavour. This is quite sweet and not everyone’s taste but I have always stayed with this as the fondant adheres well to this frosting, it can be left at room temp or even warmer for ever and not suffer aesthetically. I am planning to do a very large “Dalek” (robot) cake for my son in the next two weeks - it will be about 21 inches in total height (three 6” tiers of different flavours, stacked, set on a 2” styrofoam dummy base). As I have no freezer to store it before and likely not much fridge space either I am forced to do SMBC fillings flavoured with fruit concentrates/powder or citrus curd for safety sake right? My question is - would I be able to also use plain SMBC on the outsides as a base for the fondant - or will it get too soft and not hold up the fondant? The shape of the thing will be roughly a big “cone” and with it being that tall I am afraid the fondant might tear or slide off buttercream. But I hate to use the lovely European type SMBC inside and then have the overly sugarey sweet Decor Icing on the outside. Also - could I use White or dark chocolate Ganache filling and if so - how long can that be safely left out at room temp? The big cake feast is out on the Canadian west coast - so warm and humid. Any input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
I am opening this thread back up b/c I have a related question/concern. When I left the Mousseline buttercream out on the counter to warm up again after having had been in the fridge overnight, it separated and became quite soft when it reached 70 degrees. I re-beat it again and it came together nicely. However, now I am concerned that this Mousseline is too soft to put under fondant after seeing what happened to it once I left it out of the fridge. I don’t want the fondant to slide off nor do I want to put my fondant covered cake in my fridge.
Does anyone have any advice on this? Must I resort to a more traditional buttercream under fondant and/or non-refrigerated cakes?
Thanks for your response. Yes, separated meaning the buttercream curdled - maybe it got too warm if this has never happened to you? I am using the Mousseline recipe from the Heavenly Cakes book which I assume is the same as in the Cake Bible (but I could be wrong since I don’t have the Cake Bible). Good to know it’s fine to use with fondant from the Cake Bible. Anyone have experience with this?
Just to fill you in - for the Dalek Cake I ended up filling the layers with a SMB but opted to stay with the tried-and-true Decorator’s under the fondant. The sheets of fondant were very large to begin with and I was afraid they’d start to tear, esp. the white chocolate fondant. They were quite the challenge to apply as it was, with having to roll them on vertically around the thing. All in all it took three full days of work to finish - one to sculpt, fill, and construct. One to frost the outside and apply the fondant, and one to airbrush and add finishing touches. It may be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/44733706@N02/. I would imagine one would have to keep the cake continuously chilled if you used Mouselline, as letting it get warm would cause condensation, and this may cause the fondant to slide off. Let me know if it works for you.
Thanks Everyone! Wow! Julie - you’re impressive. Yes, you’re right on, in that I used the Mousseline recipe from Miette’s Tomboy cake. Sorry, I should have specified this earlier but I didn’t realize it was different from the Cake Bible version. Does anyone know if the Miette Mousseline stable enough to go under Fondant since you have now confirmed it doesn’t have as much butter (it sure is tasty though)? On a side note, I think the almond cake (Golden Dream Wedding Cake) needs to be served at room temperature since the cake itself has butter (as opposed to oil) in it. Is this correct?
Hmmm…as far as the Miette Mousseline curdling, I doubt my kitchen was over 90 degrees when I had the frosting sitting out for several hours, esp. in November. But maybe I didn’t make it correctly although it “looks” about right and tastes lovely.
Arrgh! I feel as though I am surely putting way too much thought into all this. Honestly, this cake took me DAYS to make and prepare the fondant decorations, so if it’s ruined by having the white fondant cover slide off, I am going to be super disappointed…I guess I didn’t think too hard in deciding to use the Miette Mousseline buttercream (and maybe I should have). The flavor and the way it melts in your mouth was too heavenly NOT to use and I thought it would go well with the flavor of the almond cake. (Btw - I am using Rose’ Classic Fondant recipe from her Cake Bible book).
And finally, kuchenbaaker, your cakes look great! Thanks for the information on the Dalek Cake. That cake looks very difficult. I am impressed that it only took you 3 days to make. Looks like at least a 4 - 5 day project for me (plus a lot more confidence then I have).
I think the formula of the Miette’s Tomboy mousseline would be equally stable temperature-wise (or maybe even more stable, with less butter) than the Cake Bible version. I do think there are lots of bakers who have used mousseline, or some variation of Italian meringue buttercream, under fondant, but I haven’t done it myself.
If the mousseline is creamy and well-emulsified now, it should be OK. It always curdles a little when you add the meringue to the butter, but if you keep beating it smooths out and emulsifies beautifully. After it’s made, curdling can happen when it is beaten at too cool a temp- for instance, if the center of the bowl of buttercream is cooler than 65F. A wedding cake-sized bowl of mousseline will take more than 8 hours to come to room temp in the middle.
The Golden Dream Wedding cake is a lemon cake, with hints of toasted almond and vanilla in the background- or are you altering it? Either way, it should definitely be served at room temp. The lemon and sugar syrup helps it remain fresh and moist at room temp for a number of days. If you are using the lemon version as written, you could consider flavoring the fondant with lemon to cut the sweetness.
Good luck, it sounds like it will be a beautiful cake!
Thanks for your reply and reassurance. Good to know that a wedding cake-sized bowl of mousseline will take more than 8 hours to come to room temp in the middle…I really had no idea. My cake is 9” X 3” inches.
I followed the recipe using the lemon oil instead of zest. I can’t wait to taste it.