Archive for the ‘Cake Decorations’ Category
If you’re new to baking, it’s easy to get frustrated with how to make fondant for cakes. I know I did. It isn’t as simple as buying the ingredients and looking at a cookbook…You’d have to have the patience of a mad scientist instructing lab mice in a complicated science experiment. Fondant is the squirmiest “quinea pig” you can work on!
Problems with fondant
When I first learned how to make fondant for cakes, I would spend all day making around 5 – 10 versions (all bad) of a basic recipe I found in some cookbook. I soon learned a “method to my madness” approach could never work. Baking is not the same as cooking a dish, where you taste a little at a time to know if its going the right way or not. Believe me, tasting 10 bad fondants, one after the other, can make even the most enthusiastic baker turned off by cake.
So… I overcompensated. I’d spend half of my pay on the latest baking tools, gizmos and expensive cookbooks. (I didn’t really have the time or money to be able to go to formal classes.) Yet, I still made fondant that looked like (and sometimes tasted like) glue! Now, not only did I make the kitchen a mess making something incredibly inedible, I had gone broke doing it.
Where’s the Julia Child of Baking?
Being sick and tired of this vicious and extremely expensive cycle, I had an aha-moment about how to make fondant for cakes one day. I was watching a movie about Julia Child, a famous celebrity TV chef, who set the bar on cooking demos. I thought, why can’t they make something like that for baking?
I was unimpressed watching youtube homemade tutorials so I went around the net and looked for something that could satisfy ALL my questions about baking and showed me how to do things the way professionals did.
Baking has been a blissful experience ever since.
Eventually I found out that these are what you need to do it right:
Since knowing how to make fondant for cakes takes a lot of practice, having the right tools can cut the time you spend baking in half. The trick is to just buy what you will actually use. Don’t get carried away with buying complete sets. Initially, just get the basics: mixer, bowls, spatula, fondant mat, rolling pins and storage containers.
Kneading is the most basic skill in learning how to make fondant for cakes. One tip is to buy cheap fondant and start working on it before you graduate to your own homemade version.
Excellent Learning Resources
To round out everything, you really have to get good teachers. Grandma is good, but what if she’s not available? Fortunately, there are experts out there putting up online lessons for everyone to enjoy.
It’s not only cheaper than formal classes but it gives you the same professional and practical advice you can use in the kitchen. Just rich learning experience right at your fingertips.
One thing I highly recommend is to buy popular commercial rolled fondant, so you can judge what great fondant should look, taste and feel like. But if you’re like me who enjoys baking challenges, it’s fun to discover some things on your own too.
Here’s my version of the marshmallow fondant (MMF) that my kids scoff down no matter how many bad versions I do
Classic Marshmallow Fondant
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
450 grams white mini marshmallows
8 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar OR cornstarch
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1. First, we melt the marshmallows by microwaving them for half a minute. It’s best that you add 2 tablespoons of water to this mixture for a more workable consistency. Mix and stir. Then microwave it again for another 30 seconds until everything is totally gooey.
2. Put in 3/4 cup of the confectioner’s sugar. Use a greased spoon to mix and fold in.
3. At this point, you’ll have to gauge the right consistency. If it’s firm, and not too sticky, its ready for kneading. If not, you’ll need to include sugar in small increments until its firm, and won’t tear up easily.
4. Before kneading, grease your hands and the counter top you’ll be working on. As with basic fondant, just fold it into itself for 5-8 minutes. TO save time and effort you can get some kneading help from a mixer. Just don’t forget to grease the mixing hook.
5. Now its time to store it. Apply a thin layer of vegetable shortening and wrap in clingwrap or store in a ziplock bag. Let it sit in room temperature for half an hour, then you can put it in the refrigerator. This can last up to a week. Some prefer melting the whole thing again in the microwave, if its too hard after refrigeration.
Some Thoughts On Which Marshmallow Fondant Recipe is the Best
One thing anyone can say about great homemade fondant is that it involves a lot of trial and error. You can search for a lot of recipes out there but in the end, its really up to you to say what works or in some cases, more convenient for you to make.
If you’re a hobbyist like me (or even someone who dreams of doing this for a living eventually) sometimes you have to choose what you really enjoy doing. Do you enjoy baking everything or do you just enjoy the decorating part? or both? Both choices will require you to have fondant that is consistently good. There’s no point in baking or decorating without it.
What I would recommend is to “stand on the shoulders of giants” – there are tons of free expert tips and tricks out there to speed up the learning process so that you can take your skill to the next level. Join a forum, sign up for courses and practice, practice, practice.
Back in the old days, those who loved to bake would slave over cakes with butter frosting – and had to make painstaking efforts to store and refrigerate it. Learning how to make fondant for your cakes is not only more practical (you can make it in advance, plus it lasts longer), but it makes for better looking cakes too, and I’m going to show you how easy it is.
Why Make Fondant?
Not only will your family and friends be impressed with how pretty your cake looks, you’ll also be saving a ton of money on something that will be better tasting than most store bought fondant. Because lets face it, most people don’t even like fondant.
What is Fondant Really?
If you want to know how to make fondant, its important to learn the different kinds of fondant out there. Technically, it comes in two forms. Poured fondant is made with water and sugar, cooked into what they call a “soft ball” stage, then cooled and beaten into a creamy consistency. Its usually made as filling for pastries and cakes.
Rolled fondant, meanwhile, is what I’m going to teach you. Its commonly known as “sugar paste”. Its doughy consistency has a smooth finish that gives any cake a clean, professional look. If you know how to make fondant for cakes, it makes decorating your own cake that much more fun.
Here’s a fool-proof recipe I use at home:
1 tbsp. gelatin
½ cup corn syrup
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. glycerin (food grade only, best bought from health food stores)
½ cup cold water
Crisco vegetable shortening for greasing
wooden spoon or spatula
tablespoon and teaspoon
optional cake mixer
1. Let the gelatin set (dissolve) in 1/4 cup cold water. Transfer this to a double boiler until it melts, but don’t let it boil.
2. Add in the glycerin, vanilla extract and corn syrup to your gelatin mix. Save this for later.
3. For a velvety smooth fondant, make sure to sift your confectioner’s sugar well. Use a cupful initially and pour this into a bowl; make a well in the center. Put your gelatin mix in the well and mix with a wooden spoon. (You can also use a cake mixer for less effort)
4. When everything feels a little bit firmer, use the remaining confectioner’s sugar (also sifted) in the mixture. Blend and mix into a sticky consistency. At this point, it should look like dough that’s ready for kneading.
5. Knead your fondant paste by folding it into itself. Don’t forget to use Crisco to grease your hands (and the counter) a little so that it won’t stick to anything. Sprinkle some confectioner’s sugar, a little bit at a time, or, as needed, to make the consistency right. Make sure to knead for at least 5 -8 minutes.
6. Wrap your finished fondant in an airtight food storage bag or wrap. Cling-wrap is fine too. Let it sit in room temp for around half an hour. You can store it for up to 60 days with no freezing or refrigeration. NOTE:Knead your fondant first before before using it for cake decoration.
Wasn’t that as easy as pie?