How to use ready to roll icing

Thursday 9th February 2017

How to use ready to roll icing

When handling ready to roll icing the first thing to tackle is what to call it. In the US it’s referred to as fondant and in the UK as sugarpaste, but essentially ready to roll is exactly the same pliable cake covering, which can also be molded into decorative shapes. Beware though, in the UK fondant icing sometimes refers to the kind of icing that can be drizzled, dipped and poured. For our purposes we’ll stick to ready to roll icing.

Why is ready to roll icing so useful?

Ready to roll is very simple to work with and can be stored easily. It’s supple too, which means you can cut into it without the icing crumbling when slicing your cake. You can make your own and colour it yourself, or you can buy in a variety of different colours. It lends itself readily to being sculpted and crafted into inspiring and imaginative shapes.Part of what makes ready to roll icing look impressive is its immaculate smoothness when rolled. The risk is if your cake is a little bumpy then it can make the icing look bobbly too. One trick you can try is to smooth out the surface of your cake with some buttercream icing, or you can carefully shave away the surface of your cake if it’s going to be concealed by a complete icing covering anyway. A layer of buttercream can help the icing adhere to the surface quite effectively whether or not the surface of your cake is uneven.

How to roll ready to roll icing and cover a cake

If you want to cover your cake completely then take just a few simple steps to get an even covering.

  1. When you take the icing out of the pack, at first it can feel a little tough, which is why kneading it first will give you the desired consistency.
  2. Prepare the surface of the cake and use jam or buttercream as an adhesive so that your icing will sit evenly on it.
  3. Lightly dust your work surface and rolling pin with icing sugar so that the ready to roll icing doesn’t stick. Don’t dust icing sugar onto the top of the icing!
  4. Keep the icing moving and rotate it between rolls, being cautious that it doesn’t stick to the table.
  5. To make sure you’ve rolled your icing out enough to cover your cake, you can roughly measure the size by holding your rolling pin vertically against the cake, horizontally across the top, and vertically again at the other side for a basic measurement – then compare this to your icing.
  6. Once it’s the right size, roll your icing back over your rolling pin so that you can lift it, then drape it gently over the cake so you don’t get any accidental air bubbles.
  7. Smooth over the top of the cake with the palm of your hand, then gently around the top edges of the cake.
  8. A cake turntable may help in smoothing the icing around the side of the cake. If you have any pleats, gently pull these out and smooth down with the palm of your hand, one at a time.
  9. Cut off the excess with a sharp knife to give it a clean and crisp finish. Hold the blade straight against the side of the cake for a smoother finish.

We’ve put together some of our favourite ready to roll icing approaches for you to experiment with. Remember that there’s a great spectrum of ready to roll icing colours to explore.

Bunting birthday cake

Any celebration can be enhanced with a string or two of bunting, so a bunting-covered birthday cake is a simple way to capture the fun of a festive occasion. All you need do is follow the above cake covering instructions and choose your colours to cut into cheerful rows of triangles. You might decide to cut the bunting triangles by hand, or if you want them to look crisp and consistent, you could use a cutter. Follow our step-by-step instructions to discover how to put a little motion into your bunting flags.

Mismatch cake recipe

This square celebration cake is enhanced by the multiple coloured squares that overlap and hang in rows. Be sure to choose a different cutter size for each different colour icing to create a haphazard effect to their otherwise orderly arrangement. You can choose your favourite colour icing, but here we’ve used Celebration, Atlantic Blue, Ruby Red and Emerald.

Duck egg quilt cake recipe

This quilt effect cake showcases the different textures you can achieve with ready to roll icing. Use a patchwork cutter quilting embosser on the icing only once you have smoothed it onto the cake, otherwise you risk the texture becoming distorted. Use two differently sized daisy plunger cutters to shape the blooms that embroider the cake. Pipe a little royal icing to create the stud effect that punctuate the blossoms.

Football cake

What’s most impressive about this football cake is how effectively the black and white pentagons fit together with perfect mathematical precision. Use buttercream to help the icing stick to the cake and smooth out any lumps and bumps. Cover your cake board with Lincoln Green ready to roll icing to simulate a playing field.

How to model a horse

While there are many textures and icing colour combinations you can experiment with to cover your cake, part of the fun of ready to roll icing is in shaping the models and figures to top your cakes with. Have a look at our how to model a horse video guide for an example of some of the techniques you can use to create your charming characters.

For more baking and decorating inspiration as well as decorating techniques visit our blog and recipe archives.