Saturday, July 3, 2010

Adventures in Fondant

Every year for the past 12 years I have baked and decorated a cake for my eldest daughter (my youngest has had this honor for 9 years).  I have always wanted to try working with fondant but there were a few obstacles to this.  First, the pre-made fondant was pricey, and not always safe for my nut-allergic daughter to eat.  Second, the fondant recipes seemed too fiddly and difficult.  Thirdly, the taste of fondant detracted from the beauty of the finished product.

Some time ago, I was searching for cake ideas and somebody had used what is called marshmallow fondant.  Apparently marshmallow fondant has all the properties of standard fondant, but with a better, sweeter taste and it was easier to make (many people have the ingredients in their cupboard).

Imagine my delight when I not only found a recipe for marshmallow fondant, but an instructional video for making it using the microwave and Kitchen Aid mixer, thus reducing the mess factor.

A few days before the party I mixed up a few batches of fondant.

Once my cakes were crumb coated, I grabbed a fondant roller and pizza cutter and got to work (note that I show green fondant here and the finished project is blue - I used the green for another layer).

Fondant Tools

Forgive me for missing photos for the intermediate steps.  It was late in the evening (or early in the morning depending on how you look at it), I was covered in powdered sugar, and I was figuring everything out as I was going along.  Next time I do this, I'll document properly, I promise.

I was able to roll it out to about 1/8" thickness.  Draping it over the roller I transferred it to the cake, which had gotten a fresh coating of butter cream icing so the fondant had something to stick to. Using my hands and a fondant smoother, I eliminated bubbles in the top of the cake.  I continued to smooth down the sides while manipulating the excess fondant on the edges to eliminate ripples.

For a first-timer entering the realm of fondant cakes, I couldn't have been more pleased with how easy it was to work with (it's about the consistency of fresh play-doh) and the finished result.

Fondant Cake

For those of you who haven't tried fondant for fear that it is too hard, or too messy, try marshmallow fondant.  It was easier than I anticipated and the cleanup was actually easier than working with butter cream.  The finished result looks very professional.  The cake sat out for a few days (you don't want to refrigerate after covering with fondant, it will sweat, then melt) and it still looked great!

(recipe and video: Marshmallow Fondant).

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