Prefer rolled icing?
There are pros and cons to both methods - poured icing versus ready-made rolled fondant icing (also called ready-to-roll icing or sugarpaste). Note that with rolled icing, you are limited to a flat cake surface; so if you're hoping to decorate with soft peaks - stick with royal icing.
To ice your cake with rolled fondant:
• After the marzipan has dried, brush it with rum, brandy or cold water. This helps to affix the icing to the marzipan, and alcohol also acts as a preservative.
• Measure the top and sides of the cake. Roll out the fondant to a diameter slightly larger than the cake. If your cake tin is 23cm, for example, and your cake is 5cm high, you'll want to roll the icing out to larger than 33cm in diameter. You can dust the rolling pin and work surface with icing sugar to prevent sticking.
• Once the icing is rolled to approximately 5mm thick, carefully and loosely roll it round the rolling pin, then roll out over the top of the cake.
• Dust your hands with icing sugar if necessary, and smooth out the icing evenly over the cake. Starting in the centre, gently smooth the icing towards the sides, pushing out any air bubbles, and smooth the fondant down the sides of the cake.
• Use a sharp paring knife to trim the excess. If the bottom edge is ragged, you can decorate the bottom of the cake with a rope of fondant or piped icing.
You can use the excess fondant to cut out decorative shapes - holly leaves, Christmas trees, etc. Simply use your favourite Christmas-themed cutter, cut out the shapes, and then brush the underside with a bit of beaten egg white. You can then stick the shapes on your cake in any pattern you choose!
Fondant icing tips