Sunday, March 21, 2010

Working with fondant

I made M2's cake for the party yesterday. I made and used fondant to cover the cake, which was a first for me. I'd never made or worked with it, so the whole time I was making the cake, I was sending up prayers to every deity I could think of that the cake didn't wind up a flop. If that had happened, I would have had to make an emergency run to the grocery store for a store-bought cake, which would have absolutely devastated my little girl. She had drawn a blueprint of her cake at school and brought it home to me weeks ago.

Failure was not an option.

I made the fondant first, a day before I made the cake. I have now learned that making this much fondant may have been overkill, but after reading forums about the devastating mental effects of trying to color-match fondant later in the game, I figured overkill was preferable to that scenario.

I made marshmallow fondant, since the flavor is supposed to be better than traditional cooked fondant (I wouldn't know, so I was going on blind faith), and it was pretty easy to make. 16 oz. of mini-marshmallows mostly melted in the microwave, a few tablespoons of water, any coloring that you want, and about 2 lbs. of powdered sugar. Coat your hands lightly in shortening and knead till your arms are sore.

Then knead a little bit more, just to cover all the bases, especially if you're new at this and relatively paranoid.

Next comes the cake(s):

That was the easy part, making and leveling off the cakes. I probably could have done that much in my sleep. Not that I did. But I probably could have.

I covered the top layer first, because it was smaller. I coated it in plain white buttercream icing before covering it with the fondant, because the fondant has to have something to stick to. And the smoother you make the buttercream, the easier it is to smooth your fondant.

I may have agonized over the smoothness of my buttercream for an inordinate amount of time.

I may have OCD.

Rolling out the fondant was another adventure. I got one of the extra-long fondant rolling pins and some rolling pin guides to help me out, because I didn't want the hassle of trying to get it rolled exactly even and then having one guest get 1/8" of fondant on their piece and another person get stuck with 1/4". That wouldn't have been a good thing. And rolling pin guides work remarkably well.

Fondant, on the other hand, is HARD to roll out. After my hands got tired, I *may* have used my forearms to keep rolling, and my forearms *may* be somewhat bruised after all this work.

Just sayin'.

But! I got them covered, I got them stacked (with cake pop sticks cut into lengths as dowel rods - because I didn't think of buying actual dowel rods beforehand - and a piece of cake display tray cardboard cut into a heart shape underneath the base of the top layer to help keep it all steady - and it worked!), and I got it all moved onto the foil-covered display board with only minimal mental anguish.

I think Oz was very grateful that it went so smoothly. He knows I tend to get a little bit worked up over these things.

Finally, it was time to decorate, and that was the easy part! The fondant took the buttercream beautifully, and it was actually fairly easy to wipe off any minor mistakes that were made, which was a bonus. And adding the flowers on the sides of the cakes allowed me to cover up any minor imperfections in the fondant.
And so, on that note, I think I might actually work with fondant again!

Wonder what M1 will want for his birthday...?


Jessica {The Novice Chef} said...

Congrats on your first time with Fondant! Great job for your first time!

Sarah said...

Thanks! I appreciate that!

Marla said...

What a beautiful cake!!