I have people ask me all the time, about fondant. Some people shy away from it, because they might have had a bad experience with it tasting bad. Well, I’m here to tell you that fondant has come a long way BABY!!
Fondant is a great tool to use when decorating cakes. You can use it to cover the entire cake, and get that perfectly smooth finish, you are looking for, or you can use it to just add accents to your cakes. There are so many uses for fondant, and I’d have to say, it is my favorite medium to use. I like to call it play-doh for grown-ups, since that is kinda what it is. It feels and act very similar to it. The best part of this adult play-doh is… you can actually eat it, without your mom yelling at you.
There are many types of fondant you can purchase, and now that it has become more popular, most grocery stores have it on their shelves at the store. I think the most readily available type you can find would be the Wilton brand. It is available in many colors and is carried at stores like Michael’s and Wal-mart. When I first started cake decorating over 10 years ago, the Wilton brand tasted horrible, but I am happy to tell you that they re-did their recipe and it now has a nice vanilla taste to it. Some of the other brands you might find at the cake store is Satin Ice and Fondx. Hobby Lobby also carries their line of fondant as well. (I will be reviewing all the brands of fondant in a future post, with their pros and cons).
One drawback to using fondant on your cakes is that it can be quite pricey. Of course you can use your 40% off coupons for it at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, but when you have to purchase a lot, it can become a hassel. A box of fondant from store can run you anywhere from $11-$15. You might need more than 1 box to cover a cake, depending on it’s size. That can significantly increase the cost of producing your cake.
So here is the CAKE WALK way of cutting the costs and making your own fondant at home. It’s actually quite easy and only takes a few ingredients you can find in any grocery store. Let’s get started….
ITEMS YOU WILL NEED:
Shortening, 16oz. bag of mini-marshmallows (do not buy the 10oz. bag), 2-2 1/2 tablespoons of water, extract of your choice, and 2lb bag of powdered sugar.
Pour your bag of mini marshmallows into a glass or ceramic bowl. Do NOT use a metal bowl, we’ll be putting it in the microwave…. and you all know how THAT ends.
With this step you can use either 2 1/2 Tablespoons of water (it will give you whiter fondant), or use can add 2 tablespoons of water and 2 teaspoons an extract of your desire for flavor. WARNING: If your extract has a tint to it, it can affect the color of the fondant.
Place the glass or ceramic bowl into your microwave for 2 minutes. You want the marshmallows to be melted, but it is ok if the ones on the top have still kept their form. They will be soft enough to go into the mixer after 2 minutes.
So, while those little cylinders of happiness are melting away, we are going to get ready for the next step. It should look similar to this, once the two minuts are over.
Get out your handy dandy KitchenAid and the hook attachment. You cannot use a paddle attachment to make fondant, motor burn-out would happen in no time!! If you don’t have a kitchenaid, it’s going to get messy for you, but you can get gloves, coat them in shortening and mix.
Now, that those minis are melting away in microwave, get out your mixer bowl and put just a dab of shortening in the bottom of the bowl. It is not really an exact science, but I would estimate it at about 2 tablespoons. This will make the fondant just a little more pliable.
Ok, so now our marshmallows are melted, our hook is out, and our shortening is in. We then will use our spatula to scoop the marshmallows out of the glass bowl, and into the mixer bowl. It should pretty much slide right out, you will only have to scrap a little out of the bowl at the end.
We are almost done!! Now open your 2lb bag of powdered sugar and pour it on top of the melted marshmallows. It is best if you have the bag open and ready. We want to mix everything fast, before the marshmallows have time to cool too much. I usually open my bag while the marshmallows are in the microwave. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can do in those short 2 minutes!!!
OK, so now everything we need is in the mixer. Attach your hook, place the splash guard on (if you don’t have one, just put a towel over the mixer so you don’t get powdered dust everywhere), start the mixer on the lowest setting. Here is the trick.. you don’t want to mix the fondant for too long because it puts too much air into the mixer, and when you roll it you will get these little pockets. So keep it on low for almost the whole time. I will turn mine up one notch in the settings if I see there is still some powdered sugar stuck to the side of the bowl. Even then, it is a quick few seconds then back down to low setting.
Once everything is mixed, the fondant will either form it’s little ball at the bottom, or if it has attached itself to the sides, the hook will just go around the middle. It happens both ways for me and either is fine. When this happens, you know it is done and shut off the mixer.
Pour this mixture onto a lightly powdered sugared surface. I use a rolling mat to roll out my fondant. They are sold in lots of stores, including Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Sur La Tabl, Amazon and others. If you have granite or some other hard stone surface countertop, you can do this right on the counter, but I really like the rolling mats.
Go ahead and start kneading the fondant. You can pick it up and pull it like taffy, or just keep pulling and folding on the mat. incorporating the powder you sprinkled on the mat, and just knead until you feel you have a good smooth consistency. TIP: Sometimes this can be a sticky job, so just coat your hands with a little shortening and it will prevent the fondant from sticking. Shape into a little ball and you are done.
Coloring fondant, if you desire:
If you would like to make different color fondant. You will to purchase gel colors. Regular food coloring is too wet, and will make the fondant too sticky, plus it is not as intense in color as needed. Gel colors come in a rainbow of colors and tints. There are many brands of color gel, such as Wilton, Americolor and Chef Master.
To add color to fondant, start off slow with a few small drops. Some colors take better to fondant than others, so a little might go a long way. You can always add more color to your fondant, but if you add too much, well… your going to have to use more white to mix in and possibly waste fondant, since you will have more than you need. I have done that MANY times, especially with the pink tones.
To mix the color in, knead again. I find pulling it like taffy works well. you will see the color start swirling through the fondant.
Keep adding color gel and kneading till you get the intensity of color you are looking for and it is well blended.
Now, grab a little shortening to coat your rolling mat very lightly and you can start rolling your fondant out. either to cover a cake, or you can grab your favorite small cookie cutters to make cut outs. Remember in the beginning when I said this was Play-doh for grown ups?? Well go ahead and start sculpting with it too.
Not as hard as you thought…. it’s a Cake Walk… ENJOY and be creative.