Covering your cakes in fondant using the panelling method

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If you’re new to covering your cakes in fondant or you’ve tried covering a cake in fondant and you’ve experienced tears, elephant skin or you just couldn’t get those sharp edges the panelling method might be something you want to try!

Have you tried draping your cake with one piece of fondant and smoothing down the sides. The panelling method is a little different. Instead of covering your cake in one piece of fondant I’m going to show you how to cover the top and sides separately.

How to cover your cakes in fondant using the panelling method

Covering your cakes in Fondant – The Panelling Method

This method of covering your cakes makes it so easy to get a sharp edge around the top as the fondant isn’t pulling, so it doesn’t tear. I will mention that the only downside to this method is there will always be a faint join around the top of your cake and a faint seam around the back, but you can minimise these by smoothing out your fondant.

Now if you’re new to covering your cakes, and you’re working with sugar paste or icing and wondering what the difference is to fondant. The answer is absolutely nothing. These are all the same thing. They are just called different things by different brands in different places. What we are working with is an edible covering for your cakes which can be rolled out and placed over the top.

Now we know what we’re working with, let’s jump into covering our cakes. Below you’ll find my step by step video where I go through everything from preparing your cake to covering your cake with the panelling method and smoothing out your fondant

Preparing your cake

When covering your cakes in fondant the most important stage starts way before we even get the fondant out of the packet. Preparing your cake the right way can make all the difference when it comes to the finish you’ll get.

When covering my cakes in fondant I much prefer using chocolate ganache around the outside rather than buttercream. Ganache sets a little firmer, which means you can apply more pressure and work a little longer smoothing out your cake. You’ll see in the video I also like to level my cakes before stacking them. Taking off any domes on the top gives you a flat surface which helps get those sharp edges. It also means you get an even amount of filling through each of your layers.

It’s also important to add a crumb coat to your cakes. This is a thin layer of buttercream or ganache which firstly locks in any loose crumbs. It also enables you to get straight sides to your cake and fill in any gaps before adding the final layer of ganache. The smoother the layer of ganache the less work you have to do to get out any imperfections in your fondant.

chocolate ganache covered cake

Covering your cake in fondant

When using the panelling method you first want to cover the top of your cake. Roll out a small amount of fondant, around 3mm thick and place on the top of your cake, trimming off any excess with a sharp knife.

Covering a cake in fondant

You then want to roll out your remaining fondant into a large strip. Large enough to wrap around the side of your cake. I always like to trim this down to roughly the right size so there’s not too much excess to lift. Cut a straight line along the bottom edge of your fondant, then carefully roll your fondant onto a rolling pin to help lift it onto the side of your cake.

TOP TIP When rolling your fondant you want to make sure the fondant is quite loose on the rolling pin, so it doesn’t stick to itself. If it’s quite warm or humid where you are, you can dust your fondant with a little cornflour to help stop it sticking.

This can then be unrolled onto your cake and the excess cut away. You’ll see in the tutorial how I cut through both ends of the fondant as they meet. Peel one side away, removing the excess piece, before joining the 2 edges together.

Covering the sides of your cake in fondant

Smoothing your cake

Now the cake is covered in fondant you’ll need to remove any excess from around the top and bottom of your cake. Don’t worry at this stage if it isn’t perfect, you can now smooth the edges to work on joining the 2 pieces of fondant together.

The fondant panelling method - smoothing out your fondant

To smooth around my cake I always like to start with my paddle smoothers. Working with both smoothers, keeping them together and going back and forth on a small area, before moving around the cake. By applying a small amount of pressure you’ll start to see the join come together as the fondant gets pushed into the right angle of your smoothers. It will never vanish completely but the more time spent smoothing the edges the fainter it will become.

Once I’m happy with how the edge and back of my cake is looking I always like to finish off with my flexi smoothers. These allow me to really focus on that edge.

The fondant panelling method

I know working with fondant can be quite daunting but this is such a great method to cover your cakes. If you haven’t yet tried and would also like to try covering your cakes in one piece of fondant I do have another tutorial showing you How to cover your cakes in fondant. You can then choose the method you prefer.

I really hope you enjoy the tutorial. If you haven’t already don’t forget you can subscribe to my YouTube channel for more Free cake decorating video tutorials.

Tools I used

Clear Prop Option work board: (CAKESBYLYNZ for 10% off)
Acrylic Smoother: (Lynz10 for 10% off)
Metal Smoother:
Paddle Smoother: (Lynz10 for 10% off)
Flexi Smoother:
Raspberry Colour Splash:
Wilton Ivory Gel Colour (Lynz10 for 10% off)

Plus if you’d like to see all my favourite cake decorating tools just click here:

~ Please note that the links above are affiliate links. If you click the link and purchase any item through that link, I will receive a small commission from the website but this does NOT add any additional costs to you. Thank you so much for supporting this blog x ~

Why not save this tutorial for later and pin it to Pinterest

Covering a cake in fondant using the panelling method

Thank you for reading!

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Hi, I’m Lynsey and welcome to Cakes by Lynz. I LOVE everything cake! Here you will find all my latest cake decorating video tutorials from my YouTube channel, reviews and general cake ramblings!

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