Chocolate Rolled Fondant

  • Serves: Makes 2 3/4 pounds or enough to cover a 9- x 2-inch cake and a 6 x 3-inch cake
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Rose Levy Beranbaum is proud of this recipe. I adapted it from her book, The Cake Bible. It is similar to chocolate plastic, a mixture of chocolate and light corn syrup, that it can be rolled and draped on a cake, but fondant is sturdier and more pliable and holds up better to heat. This recipe is easier to work with than chocolate plastic because it has less fat owing to the use of cocoa powder than chocolate. Make this fondant the day before you need it so it has a chance to absorb the moisture in it properly which makes it easier to work with.


Make sure you sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder after measuring so there are no lumps present which prevent the ingredients from evenly incorporating into the recipe. You can also pulse it in a food processor for a few seconds until powdery. If you end up with lumpy fondant, process a small portion at a time in a food processor until smooth.

If the stored fondant seems stiff, microwave it a few seconds in the microwave before kneading will make it pliable, again.

If you don't have shortening, do not substitute butter because it streaks. You can use a small amount of canola oil or a similar light colored vegetable oil, instead.

1 tablespoon gelatin
1/3 liquid cup (2.75 ounces) water
2/3 liquid cup (7.5 ounces) corn syrup
1 tablespoon glycerin
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) solid white vegetable shortening, plus more for kneading
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 1/4 cups powdered sugar or 1 pound 9 ounces (lightly spooned into cup)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (7 ounces) Dutch Processed (alkalized) or 2 1/2 cups Natural cocoa such a Hershey's

In a 2-cup heatproof glass measuring cup, sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the water and without stirring, allow to sit for 5 minutes. Immediately, set in a small pan of hot, simmering water and gently stir the dissolved gelatin until it is thoroughly mixed. (You can optionally microwave a few seconds on high power, stirring once or twice in between.)

With the mixture still in the simmering water, blend in the corn syrup and glycerin. Add the shortening and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool slightly.

Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa in a large bowl and make a well in the center.

Add the gelatin mixture and stir immediately with a wooden spoon in large circles until blended. Then, with both hands, mix and knead vigorously in the bowl until it forms a ball.

Grease a smooth work surface lightly with shortening and with clean hands, knead until smooth, pliable and satiny. If the fondant seems dry or brittle, you may need to add a few drops of water at a time and knead well after each addition. This will make the fondant sticky and messy at first, but keep kneading until it holds together and becomes smooth, again.

Roll the fondant into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in an airtight bag or container. Let it sit a day so the moisture in it can distribute evenly throughout; it will become easier to work with.

When ready to roll out, lightly grease the work surface and rolling pin with shortening. Lightly grease your hands, as well. Tiny cracks will appear in the surface of the fondant at first, but as you knead it, the warmth from your hands or pressure from the rolling pin will make it smooth and satiny. Keep fondant covered at all times with plastic wrap as it will dry quickly.

Roll the fondant into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in an airtight bag or container. Keeps 1 week at room temperature; 1 month refrigerated or 6 months frozen. Fondant can be refrigerated longer than 1 month, but loses flavor if kept longer.

Recipe adapted from The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum

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