Jan 31, 2009
Kneading the fondant-
Helpful Hint: When mixing MMF specifically for decorations that will be dried out, add some cornstarch instead of powdered sugar. This will give you a more stiff consistency, more like gum paste, and will aid in the drying out time/process.
It’s best if you can let it sit, double wrapped, overnight at room temp (but you can use it right away, if you're in that big of a hurry AND if there are no tiny bits of dry powdered sugar). If you do see them, you will need to knead the fondant more and maybe add a few more drops of water, then let it sit wrapped for at least a couple of hours. (It helps to have freshly sifted powdered sugar to begin with ;))
Storing the fondant:
Prepare the fondant for storing by coating it with a good layer of shortening (this keeps it from drying out or forming a "skin"), wrap in plastic wrap, and then put it in a re-sealable or Ziploc bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. You can store it for 2 weeks in the fridge, or up to 6 months in the freezer. (actually longer if you have a handy dandy food saver :D)
Colors have a tendancy to darken over time, so if you're planning on storing the fondant keep this in mind. Also, when doing colors such as reds, deep browns or you are matching a specific color, say, to a logo, then make it ahead of time and be sure to make it a tad bit lighter. Golds are a bit tricky too, like when I did a Purdue cake for my daughter and was attempting to match the logo.
Just trust me, darkening fondant later is waaaaaaay easier than trying to lighten it. ;) Oh, and just FYI, always keep a white batch on hand in case you do need to lighten some. This Purdue cake, btw, was my very first fondant cake. I didn't know back then that they actually had "gold dust" powder, that could be brushed on dry or wet, creating a more "true" gold luster (I live and learn) but more on that in another tutorial. Well, this is at least a start in working with fondant. If you're still with me (WAKE UP!), and want to know more, I'll have more topics......If you want to see some of my fondant work, up close and all personal, check out my flickr pages.
First things first, MMF (marshmallow fondant) is a soft-icing rolled dough that is used to cover cakes rendering a smooth and flawless surface (heh, on a good day). The monkey's bed above is a 13x9 cake covered with MMF, for example. Or, roll it out, cut or mold into shapes, and use it for decorations, or sometimes, to appear as the actual structure of a cake. The bamboo posts on the bed are made from MMF, allowed to dry, then hand painted with a gel food coloring. The little hat on the bed post was shaped over a plastic covered styrofoam ball, allowed to dry completely, then accented with powdered food coloring. You can also use it to cover molded cereal treats (rice krispie treats) like the monkey, blanket, and his little pillow.
This saves a whole lot of time on cake decorating day!
You can mold it, and shape it, similar to play dough (I know! fun huh?). You can achieve very different effects by applying it or shaping it while it's soft, or dry it out on a mold to hold a more "solid" shape...the possibilities are endless....well....almost. It does have it's limitations.
|Fondant Daisies on Strawberry Butter cream|
Ok, so by now you know you can buy tubs of ready made fondant and you're probably wondering, why in the heck is this chick working so hard making hers from scratch? Right? Well, for a couple of reasons. For one, the pre-made fondant, to put it simply, tastes gross. (ok, I'm an 80's gal, I WAS going to say, "gags me with a spoon") Ask any bride who has swooned over cakes in a magazine for months and goes for a tasting at her local bakery only to find her fiance spitting it out in, not a napkin, but her hand.
Chocolate fondant is a bit more difficult to work with, but the end results make it worthwhile. Chocolate MMF tastes much like the tops of the Hostess chocolate cupcakes...mmmm...need I say more?
The second thing is, unless you're a pro and whipping out 3-4 cakes per day, it's well worth the time and effort cranking out your own sugary dough from scratch considering that it is a fraction of the cost of the "store bought" stuff. Pastry chefs and bakeries will use pre-made fondant because they simply do not have the time to do all the mixing, kneading, and coloring. Besides, that huge tube of preservatives in the storage room could last who knows how long. (Yikes)
|Fire Chief Helmet Cake tutorial|
If you want to try it, and don't say I didn't warn that it's addicting, here's a good basic recipe for a quick easy MMF. Roll up your sleeves...it's gonna get messy!
For printable version click here
16 oz White mini marshmallows
3 Tbsp Water (maybe more)
2 pounds Powdered cane sugar, sifted (more or less)
1 tsp vanilla (or other flavoring)
1 tsp butter flavoring (opt)
1 tsp almond flavoring (opt)
1/2 C vegetable shortening (for the kneading step only)
In a large bowl, melt marshmallows and 2 Tbsp water in microwave for about 1 minute, stir in flavorings and return to the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until mixture is completely melted. Add about 3/4 of the amount of powdered sugar to the marshmallow and mix in. Dough will be stiff.
After fondant has cooled just a bit and is safe to handle, grease counter top with vegetable shortening, also grease your hands. Knead fondant, adding in the rest of the powdered sugar (you may not use all of it, and yet, you may need more) until a smooth elastic ball is formed. Add more powdered sugar if dough is too soft. Add more water (a tablespoon at a time) if it is too dry and tearing, add more shortening if too sticky.
For chocolate fondant; add a few squares of melted semi or bitter-sweet chocolate to the marshmallow mixture before adding the powdered sugar. Or, replace 1/3-1/2 C of the powdered sugar with powdered cocoa. For a deeper brown color, just add brown food coloring.
Storing the fondant: Prepare the fondant for storing by coating it with a good layer of shortening (this keeps it from drying out or forming a "skin"), wrap in plastic wrap, and then put it in a re-sealable or Ziploc bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. You can store it for 2 weeks in the fridge, or up to 6 months in the freezer. (actually longer if you have a handy dandy food saver :D)
Once you've made your dough and you want to know how to spend it, check out my other blog entries ;)