In this blog post I will explain how you can bake a cake that you can cover with fondant and use for weddings, christenings or other festivities.
If you’ve never tried to make a cake with fondant before don’t worry but just read this and the next couple of posts which will contain step by step directions on how to:
Bake a cake (this post)
Make mousse filling (or buttercream filling if you prefer that)
Cut cake layers
Fill the cake and assemble it
Make chocolate ganache or buttercream for covering the cake
Cover the cake with ganache/buttercream
Roll out fondant
Cover the cake with fondant
In order to make a fondant cake, you need to bake a sponge cake, allow it to cool off and then cut it into layers. Some people only cut it in half and fill it with buttercream (I’ve seen Cake Boss do that), but I prefer more layers and using a mousse filling instead of buttercream. The final cake will typically have a height of about 8 cm / 3.1 inches.
You can use many different cake recipes for fondant cakes but I prefer using sponge cakes which has a solid structure that does not crumble too much when cutting it into layers.
I can recommend the recipe for chocolate cake (explained below) which I have used for making fondant cakes several times. It’s easy and pretty fool-proof – I should know 😉
The recipe is for a cake which is 28 cm / 11 inches or you can get 2 cakes which you can bake in 2 smaller pans, e.g. 23 cm and 15 cm (9 and 6 inches).
How to make the cake:
You start by preheating the oven to 180 C or approx. 355 F.
Put soft butter, sugar and vanilla extract into a mixing bowl and mix until creamy and lighter in colour. You can use a spoon, a hand held mixer or a freestanding mixer. I use a mixer from Kitchenaid which I think works really well for this purpose.
Stirring all the time, add the eggs one at a time. At the end you should have a smooth batter. It looks like this:
Mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder in a separate bowl with a spoon.
Now, carefully mix the dry ingredients together with the wet ingredients little by little. In between adding the dry ingredients to the batter, you add the buttermilk. It may be too heavy to mix with a spoon so I have to admit that I used my Kithenaid to mix it – but very carefully!
At the end, mix the chopped chocolate into the batter.
When making fondant cakes, it is super-important that the cake does not stick to the pan because it can ruin the cake completely.
I therefore use a double-method for avoiding this:
Start by greasing the baking pan with butter (grease both the bottom, the corners and the sides)
Then, cut a piece of parchment paper into a round shape with the same diameter as the pan. I will simply draw the circle on the parchment paper with a marker, while I trace the shape of the baking pan.
I cut out the circle with scissors and place the paper on the bottom of the pan. (The paper will stick to the pan due to the grease).
Then, I cut out some long strips of parchment paper and I place them along the sides of the baking pan (again they will stick due the grease). Try to avoid any folds in the paper.
Now, I have both greased the pan AND lined it with parchment paper – this can’t go wrong!
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and knock the pan into the table once or twice or shake the pan to release any air bubbles.
A big cake needs at least 1 hour to bake, but it depends very much on the oven – check after 50 minutes. Smaller cakes would need at least 40-45 minutes.
Use a baking thermometer, the temperature needs to be 104-105 C / 220 F before the cake is done. For smaller cakes: 95-100 C / 203-212 F.
You can also check if the cake is ready by poking the cake with a cocktail stick, a skewer or a toothpick in the middle, if it comes up with some wet batter or crumbs on it, the cake needs to bake some more. When the cake is ready, remove it from the oven and let the cake cool off in the pan for 10-15 minutes before flipping the pan onto a wire rack. (You place the wire rack over the top of the cake and flip the cake and the pan)
Afterwards, very carefully lift the pan off the cake and remove the paper parchment from the cake.
When the cake has cooled completely, I wrap the cake in plastic film and place it in a plastic bag. I wait 24 hours before cutting it into layers otherwise you risk that it starts to crumble.
Enjoy! I hope you can use the recipe but please write if you have questions or you have an idea for a better way to do it. In the next lesson, you can read about how to make the mousse filling for the cake.
- 465 g. or 2 cups of butter, softened to room temperature
- 660 g. or 3 and ⅓ cup of white sugar
- 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 6 eggs (must have room temperature)
- 400 g. or 3⅕ cup of all-purpose flour
- 320 g. or 2 ¾ cup of cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 100 g. or ½ cup of chocolate chips
- 50 g. or ⅓ cup of finely chopped pecan nuts (optional)
- 6 dl. or 2 ½ cup of buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 180 C or approx. 355 F.
- Make sure that the ingredients all have room temperature before you begin.
- Chop the chocolate into fine pieces
- Put soft butter, sugar and vanilla extract into a mixing bowl and mix with a spoon, a hand held mixer or a freestanding mixer until creamy and lighter in color.
- Stirring all the time, add the eggs one at a time.
- Toss the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and baking powder together until thoroughly combined in a separate bowl.
- Carefully mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no lumps remain. Batter will be quite thick. Stir in the butter milk a little at a time in between mixing the dry ingredients into the batter.
- Add the chocolate chip to the batter.
- Grease the baking pan and line it with parchment paper.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and knock the pan into the table once or twice or shake the pan to release any air bubbles.
- Place the cake in oven.
- Bake for approx. 1 hour. Adjust the time if the cake is smaller - check after 45 minutes.
- You can check if the cake is ready by poking the cake with a cocktail stick, a skewer or a toothpick in the middle, if it comes up with some wet batter or crumbs on it, the cake needs to bake some more.