Panel A Square Cake In Fondant And Keep Those Sharp Edges And Corners
Have you ever spent forever getting the perfect buttercream edges on your square cake only to cover it in fondant and lose all that hard work? Sometimes a soft corner on a square cake is just fine but if you're making buildings or just need SUPER sharp edges, maybe you should try paneling!
Paneling is also a great way to cover your cake in fondant without the stress of the fondant tearing on the corners. Some beginners prefer paneling over covering with one piece of fondant. You can also panel with modeling chocolate! Yum!
What is paneling?
Paneling is simply covering your frosted cake and chilled cake in multiple pieces of fondant or modeling chocolate instead of one. You can also panel round cakes in fondant. I also like to panel double barrel cakes that are super tall.
How do you panel a square cake in fondant?
What You Need
- Square cake frosted and chilled until the buttercream (or ganache) is very hard
- Fondant or modeling chocolate
- Brand new razor blade or x-acto blade
- Rolling pin
- Fondant smoother
- Cake cardboards
- X-acto blade
- Parchment Paper
First, we need to roll out our fondant to about ⅛" thick. Try to keep your fondant in the shape of a square. I am paneling an 8" square cake. We're going to panel the top of the cake first to reduce the visible seams from the front of the cake. Trim your fondant into a square about 9"x9" so you have a little excess to work with. Place the fondant in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.
Roll out another piece of fondant in the same way. I measured my cake and it's about 5" tall and 8" wide so I cut my fondant to be 6" tall and 9" wide. Make sure the bottom is trimmed nice and straight so that it lines up with the bottom of the cake easily. Place the fondant onto a cake board and into the freezer. Make three more of these panels for the other sides of the cake until you have a total of four fondant panels.
Take your top panel out of the freezer and lay it on top of the cake. It should be very firm and not bend. Work quickly because the cold fondant can start to sweat. Make sure your room is as cold as possible when doing this technique to reduce sweating.
Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the cake and then a cardboard round. Flip the whole cake over so that you can trim the fondant to the exact size of the cake (see video for demonstration). Don't worry, flipping a chilled cake does not harm it in any way. I have flipped cakes up to 16" in size. After that, they get a little too heavy to flip.
After trimming away the excess fondant, flip the cake back over.
Take your next fondant panel and place it against the side of the cake. Use your fondant smoother to press the fondant to the buttercream and make a good connection. If you are using American buttercream or ganache, you may need to mist the surface with water before attaching the fondant to get it to stick.
Now use your sharp razor blade to trim the excess fondant off. The trick is to keep the blade flat against the side of the fondant as a guide as you cut.
After trimming your fondant, you may notice a gap between the side panel and top panel. To close this gap, use your fondant smoothers to push the two edges together. If your fondant is getting too sweaty, you can dust it with a cornstarch poof to help soak up some of the moisture.
Repeat this process with the remaining three panels and you're done!
Paneling a square cake this way is a bit more time-consuming than covering a square cake in one piece of fondant but it does result in super sharp and clean corners so the extra time is worth it.
Visual learner? Watch my video tutorial on how to panel a square cake using fondant