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Fondant, Dummy Cakes and Humidity (Oh My)

Summer heat and humidity can wreak havoc on wedding cakes, so some pastry chefs are opting to use dummy cakes for display purposes.

These “cakes,” usually made out of Styrofoam, can still pose challenges for even the most seasoned pastry chefs. For example, what is the best way to make fondant adhere to the dummy cake without becoming sticky?

Many experienced pastry chefs chimed in and came up with several viable options:


Because it has a high melting point, shortening would be a good option for an outside wedding. Even though it spreads on evenly, using a glove to apply it would make the job even easier.

Corn Syrup

Inexpensive and readily available, corn syrup is another option for attaching fondant. As with shortening, simply use a glove to apply a thin layer. Very little is needed to cover an entire cake.

Royal Icing or Piping Gel

While possibly not as assessable as the first two options, these two would also dry hard and allow the fondant to stick to the Styrofoam

Regardless of weather conditions, fondant can be tricky to use, especially if you don’t have much experience with it. A couple more tips to make your fondant work easier include sanding down sharp edges to avoid rips and also covering the Styrofoam earlier in the week, so that the fondant has a chance to dry out a bit.

One final word about using fondant in general: Whether on a real cake or dummy layers, avoid storing the cake under refrigeration, which can result in condensation on an otherwise flawless cake.

Jill Meredith
Jill Meredith
Jill Meredith is a pastry chef, food writer and culinary instructor. She is passionate about all things sweet and loves sharing that passion and knowledge with others. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter and 3 cats.