Do you ever get rips, tears, gouges, or holes in your fondant covered cakes? ME TOO!!
But I no longer yank out my hair when my fondant starts misbehaving because I recently discovered the power of GUNGE. Have you ever seen home repair shows where they patch holes in the walls with spackle? Well gunge is like that. It is sugar spackle for your cake. You just smooth it on, scrape it off, and the flaws (almost) disappear!!!
So why am I talking about gunge? Well it once again saved a cake, and my pride from total humiliation. Here is my latest problem cake. Doesn't it make you cringe? It is by far my worst attempt at covering a cake with fondant.
And the problems continue on the other side of the cake...
I'm not sure what happened. The rolling of the fondant and the cake prep went fine...
The cake is an 8" double barrel, but I have successfully covered cakes this high and narrow before. I was also using a new fondant, so maybe that was the problem?? (Note: The fondant was Fondx Salted Carmel, and I bought it on the spur of the moment because the flavor description had me intrigued. Well I'm sorry to say that it tasted neither Salted, or Carmel; it just tasted like marshmallow fondant.)
But back to the problem... So possibly the fondant was the problem. Or could it have been the temperature of the cake? The cake was very cold, so maybe that dried out the fondant?? I'm not sure, but you can see that I had problems from the beginning...
I tried covering the cake three times, and each time the fondant stretched and split at the top edge of the cake. By the third unsuccessful attempt, I just accepted the tear at the top and moved on. I figured I could conceal the flaws with my secret decorating weapon: GUNGE.
So gunge is just a mixture of fondant and liquid. Some people say to use water, but I have found that using water causes the gunge patch to look shiny after it dries. Kaysie Lackey from Innovative Sugar Works suggest using a mixture of half whole milk and half vodka, and this works great. If you use just water or just vodka it will dry shiny but if you add some milk, the milk fats will cause it to dry with a matte look.
To make the gunge you just whip 200 grams of fondant with 15 grams of whole milk and 15 grams of vodka. (See Kaysie Lackey's full recipe with directions and notes at bottom of post.) You can also make a smaller batch with 100 g fondant, 7 g whole milk, 8 g of vodka or even 50 g or an even smaller batch with 50 g of fondant, 4 g whole milk, 4 g of vodka.
First start out mixing 100 grams of the fondant with the liquid...
...and when the fondant gets incorporated into the liquid slowing start adding pieces of the remaining 100 grams of fondant until the mixture starts to look like stiff peak royal icing. You don't need to add all the remaining fondant; just add enough till the consistency look right. And FYI, it takes a long time to mix, so just be patient.
You can also make a smaller batch if you don't don't have that many flaws to cover. And you can also use colored fondant so your gunge will be the exact same shade as the fondant covering your cake. How cool it that.
Next start filling all the holes and imperfections on the cake. Just goop it on...
And then scrape it off...
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You may have to do it a few times to get it smooth. To scrape off the excess gunge I use these little scrapers called Sugar Smoothers. They work great, and can be used for many different things, like smoothing the fondant, or protecting the fondant from hand prints as you move it, or cutting away the excess fondant from the bottom of the cake.
So back to gunging. You dollop it on, and scrape it off, filling the holes in the process.
And after a little gunge, and a few scrapes, the flaws are almost invisible. Yes, if you look close enough you can still see the flaws. But to me THIS version looks so much better....
... than THIS version ...
The gunge is also great for filling the the gap between two stacked cakes, or for filling the gap between the cake and the cake drum or board. Just put the gunge in a piping bag with a size 2 tip, and pipe the gunge into the seam. Use the damp tip of your finger to push the gunge into the seam and wipe away the excess. Or if you are into nifty tools you can use these soft tipped, food safe shaping tools to push the gunge into the seam and clear away the excess. The food safe shaping tools are identical to the much cheaper (but not food safe) clay sculpting & shaping tools I use when playing with Fimo and Sculpey III clays.
So with the gunge the gap between tiers will go from this....
Again, my "after" fix is not perfect, but it masked the worst of the problems.
And here is the finished cake. I thought it look kind of pretty till someone said it looked like a hat! Actually more than one person said it looked like a hat. Oh well, I guess I should have used a square cake board.
But my mom like it, and that is really all that matters.
Gunge (recipe from Kaysie Lackey at Innovative Sugar Works)
200 grams Fondant
15 grams Whole Milk (Soy Milk works too)
15 grams Vodka
- Start out mixing 100 grams of the fondant will all of the liquid. I use an electric hand mixer fitted with a whisk. Be patient, this takes a while.
- When the original 100 g of fondant gets incorporated into the liquid, slowing start adding pieces of the remaining 100 grams of fondant until the mixture starts to look like stiff peak royal icing. You don't need to add all the remaining fondant; just add enough till the consistency look right.
- Sugar Smoother/Scraper by Innovative Sugar Works - This tool is great for scraping the gunge from the cake. It is light and thin, but super strong. The scrapper has other uses, but it is the go-to tool for gunge repairs. You can get Smoothers with a ruler inked on the side or Ink Free.
- Sugar Shapers are another great tool to use with gunging. If you have a gap between your stacked tiers, you can pip the gunge in the gap and smooth it out using the Sugar Shapers.
- An the best tool of all the the TurnTable Expander. When draping the fondant over the cake, my regular turntable is not large enough to hold all the extra fondant that pools at the base. The TurnTable Expander gives you an extra 8 inches of working space. The Expander fits my Cake Boss Turntable perfectly, but Innovative Sugar Works now sells their own turntable.
- And, No, I don't work-for or have any relationship with Innovative Sugar Works. As a hobby baker I just love their products.
Note 1: You can also half or quarter this recipe.
Note 2: If you use just water or just vodka as the liquid, the gunge patch will have a shiny appearance and stand out from the fondant around it. The milk is used because the fat in the milk gives the gunge patch a matte finish that will make the repaired area blend seamlessly into the surrounding fondant. I have also used Soy Milk and it works just as well as the whole milk.
Note 3: The vodka is used because it quickly evaporates when exposed to air so it helps the repaired area dry quickly and lose its stickiness. If you use water, the gunge will stay sticky for a much longer period.
So if your fondant isn't perfect, don't despair --- just GUNGE IT!