Baking Bothers: Perfect Cake Coverings

Q. I can’t seem to get my cake coverings to look smooth and professional. How do I stop it from breaking, cracking and looking uneven?

Juliet Sear says: Covering cakes in fondant: It’s like any hobby or skill, don't be disheartened, practice makes perfect. A great idea is to practice covering on cake dummies with your fondant icing, it can be re rolled over and over as long as you don't leave it out too long as it may start to dry.

A top tip if your sugar paste seems dry is to rub your hands with a tiny amount of pure vegetable oil, a tasteless one such as sunflower is a good option, then when you re knead the paste you'll be surprised how quickly it will come back to life. Don’t give up!

Edd Kimber says: Covering cakes with buttercream: The trick to great buttercream icing is to first beat it until is soft and easily spread, if it is too thick it will never spread neatly. The best way to ensure a neat finish is to use a cake turntable. You can get one for about £20 and if you make a lot of cakes they are a lifeline, being able to hold the spatula steady whilst turning the cake makes it so much easier to get a great finish.

Eric Lanlard says: First of all, you will need lots of practise to ice a cake, so please do not despair. You must make sure that your cake is very smooth to start off with.

If your cake is a little uneven, use a thin coating of buttercream to fill in any little gaps or smooth the bumps. Also you can turn your cake over so the bottom is facing upwards so you get a smooth top.

Try not to roll your icing too thin. It needs to be at least 3mm thick so you can stretch it a little as you smooth it over your cake. When rolling your icing, use cornflour instead of icing sugar. I find icing sugar dries the icing and makes it crack. Good luck!

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