Can be fiddly when first tried, but becomes easier with practise.
Fondant is a soft icing which gives a lovely flat, smooth finish and is softer than royal icing. This means that you do not risk the cake collapsing when cutting into a wedding cake (something I very nearly experienced). Sugarpaste is readily available in supermarkets under the name of Regalice (Supercook) or Ready to Roll Icing.
It does take a little practice to get a perfect finish, but it is much easier than trying to get a smooth finish with Royal Icing and don’t forget most imperfections can be covered by decoration.
In addition the leftover icing can be used to make decorations for the cake such as frills for the sides.
You will need:
Fruitcake covered in marzipan
Sufficient Ready to roll icing to cover the cake. For quantities (see Marzipan and Fondant Cake Coverage Quantities)
Icing sugar for dusting
Round Bladed knife
Brandy (or cold boiled water)
Smoothing tool (optional)
Cover the entire surface of the marzipan with brandy. This forms a bond for the icing to stick to. Cool boiled water can be used, but because it does not have the alcohol content can be prone to ‘going off’, therefore water should only be used if the cake is to be eaten shortly after being decorated.
Dust a clean working surface with icing sugar and knead the sugarpaste until it is soft and smooth. If it is particularly cold and hard, pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds only. Any longer and it will dry out and crack as you try to use it.
Roll out the icing to the desired size. This is carried out the same way as when you marzipaned the cake. (see Covering a Fruit Cake with Marzipan). Very carefully lift the icing onto the cake and smooth the top from the centre to the edges with the smoothing tool, or palms of the hands, to remove any air bubbles.
Once the top is smooth, start working down the sides and the corners until the entire cake is covered. Cut off excess at the bottom edge with a round bladed knife and keep in a sealed container to use as decoration.
Using the smoother or hands, smooth over the entire cake until it is flat and shiny. Any air bubbles that have been missed can be removed by inserting a clean needle into the icing and ‘smoothing’ the air out. Finally rub gently with the flat of the hand over the whole surface of the cake to smooth it out. This method of rubbing the surface of the icing will also eliminate any cracks that may appear around the top edge of the cake.
Leave cake in a cardboard cake box for at least a day before decorating to provide a stable surface to work on.