Friday, May 29, 2009

Marshmallow Fondant

I have been promising (for weeks now) to either scan and email or post the recipe for Marshmallow Fondant. Thanks to my procrastination finally wearing off now, I am posting it here.

Over the years, I have always thought that Fondant was SO pretty, and that it made a cake look absolutely spectacular. There's just one problem-- it tastes like crap.

So when I decided to make Aiden's birthday cake this year, and knew that I needed to use fondant, I went scouring all over the place for something that I could use that would look just as nice as fondant, but tasted MUCH better. I found a recipe for Marshmallow Fondant at this website, which uses ingredients that are extremely easy to find, and everyone probably already has in their pantries.

You are more than welcome to go to that website and see that I have pretty well copied her recipe and directions, I am posting it below so that you don't have to go anywhere else.

MM (Marshmallow) Fondant Recipe
16 ounces white mini-marshmallows (I used Jet Puffed marshmallows)
2 to 5 tablespoons water
2 pounds icing sugar (please use C&H Cane Powdered Sugar for the best results)
1/2 cup Crisco shortening (you will be digging into it so place in a very easily accessed bowl)
NOTE: Please be careful, this first stage can get hot.

Melt marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave or double boiler: If you use a microwave, put the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, open microwave and stir, back in microwave for 30 seconds more, open microwave and stir again, and continue doing this until melted. It usually takes about 2 1/2 minutes total. Place 3/4 of the powdered sugar on the top of the melted marshmallow mix.
Now grease your hands GENEROUSLY (palms, backs, and in between fingers), then heavily grease the counter you will be using and dump the bowl of marshmallow/sugar mixture in the middle. (By the way, this recipe is also good for your hands. When I’m done, they are baby soft.)
Start kneading like you would bread dough. You will immediately see why you have greased your hands.
Keep kneading, this stuff is sticky at this stage! Add the rest of the powdered sugar and knead some more. Re-grease your hands and counter when the fondant starts sticking. If the mix is tearing easily, it is to dry, so add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time and then knead it in). It usually takes me about 8 minutes to get a firm smooth elastic ball so that it will stretch without tearing when you apply it to the cake.
It is best if you can let it sit, double wrapped, overnight (but you can use it right away if there are no tiny bits of dry powdered sugar). If you do see them, you will need to knead and maybe add a few more drops of water.

Prepare the fondant for storing by coating it with a good layer of Crisco shortening, wrap in a plastic-type wrap product and then put it in a re-sealable or Ziploc bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible.

MM Fondant will hold very well in the refrigerator for weeks.
When you are ready to use the fondant, have your cake baked, cooled and crumb coated with icing.

Next, you need to sprinkle a bit of cornstarch on your counter to help prevent sticking (rub it in). Give the fondant a little kneading to incorporate the Crisco coating. It will be pretty stiff when you try to knead it again, but it can be microwaved for 10 to 20 seconds, if necessary. Start off with 10 seconds (please be careful as items that have high sugar contents can get hot in the microwave very quickly). The fondant will soften right up and be perfect for rolling out and playing with. You want the temperature to be close to your body temperature.

Now is the best time to add your food coloring. I prefer to store my fondant in it’s natural color of white. I used gel food coloring so that it would not change the consistency of the fondant. If you do need to store colored fondant, wrap each color very well in plastic wrap or Saran Wrap. Colors like red and burgundy are notorious for “bleeding” into other colors and ruining them. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Bag everything in Ziploc bags. Remember that food coloring can also stain your hands and nails. I have food grade plastic gloves that I keep around. Add your food coloring, a little at a time, and knead it in. You can always go darker but it is difficult to go lighter. Red has a tendency to get darker as it sits and “ages”.
From here, you roll out the fondant (Peggy Weaver, the recipe author, recommends to have the fondant at least 1/8 inch thick ) and place over the cake. Remember to roll out the fondant so that it is at least 1 inch bigger on all sides than the cake so that there will be no gaps in coverage. Smooth the fondant over the cake, and cut off extra with a pizza cutter held at a 45 degree angle at the base of the cake.
After the base layer of fondant, you can put additional layers of decorations on the cake. I just gently wet one side of my decorations to make them stick to the first layer of fondant, but you could also use a little bit of icing as "glue" to make it all stick together.
There are NUMEROUS tools at craft stores that you can find to help you in your decorating, so far, I have decided that Michaels and Hobby Lobby will be my new favorite places to visit any time I need/want anything to help with decorating a cake.
Good luck!! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Graduation cake and cupcakes

So sadly, I've been busy most of the day trying to get this cake made for a high school graduate this weekend. When I met with his parents, I gave them some photos of what I thought I would be able to do, and they picked a set of lockers, which I thought "that should be easy enough". There were no elaborate designs or shapes and the decorations were extremely simple.

Well... since they decided that they wanted icing instead of fondant, it posed a bit of an issue on getting the icing nice and smooth, and nice looking. Maybe I just need some extra knowledge or classes or something, but as of today, I've decided I'm not real fond of icing. Hopefully that will change if I decide that this is what I want to do for a living!

Below are a couple photos of today's effort.

The three pans full of cake for the lockers. I wanted to make dead sure that all three lockers were the same size, and lucky me, I had three bread pans! One chocolate, one yellow cake, and one marble.

Finished product. The banner is actually paper, and will just have to be removed when cut.

They are a bit excited that Eric's graduating, so I couldn't resist giving them some smiley faces!

I finally did it...

Ok, so like everyone else on this planet, I have started a blog.
For almost the past year, I have wanted to start a bakery or something that would allow me to work hard, and not have to deal with the day to day pains of being employed by someone else. However, I have talked to my Mom about starting this venture with me, so we'll see if I think the same way after I get up and running.

So in the mean time, I have been making cakes at home for my kids for birthday parties, and have just recently been asked by a neighbor to do a graduation cake (which I should really start working on), and have also volunteered to do a wedding cake for my good friend Kelsey's wedding in September. I figure this will give me enough practice to actually decide if I have the talent to do this professionally.

One of these days, I need to actually sign up for a class in decorating so that I can learn the correct techniques for what I've been doing. I'd also love to learn how to make all the flowers from gum paste and stuff... We'll see how far I'll have to travel to get that accomplished since there isn't really much in, well, the entire state of ND.

Anyway, as I make cakes, cupcakes, and anything else that will ruin a diet, I'll be sure to post photos and try to give updates as often as I can!

In the mean time, here are the photos of the birthday cakes that I have done for the kids in the last year and a half.

Aiden's 5th birthday-- We had a Super Hero theme--

This is a 2 layer cake, with marshmallow fondant. the bottom layer is chocolate and the top is yellow cake. No fun fillings or flavors since it was for a 5 year old's birthday... He doesn't care what it was made of as long as it was sweet!

Emma's 3rd Birthday- 2 Cakes
The first one is the "present" we sent to daycare for her birthday, it is a chocolate cake with VERY pink frosting (because what 3 year old girl doesn't like pink??) The ribbon is fruit by the foot, and the polka dots are a package of Dots candy.

Cake #2-- Butterfly

Not a great picture of the cake, but was a round cake that was cut apart and frosted to sorta resemble a butterfly... another white cake with white, pink and green vanilla flavored frosting.

Aiden's 4th Birthday

Chocolate!! Small round chocolate cake on the bottom, 7 green frosted cupcakes on the 2nd layer, 4 red frosted cupcakes on the third layer and 1 yellow frosted cupcake to top it off. Sprinkled with Skittles. Apparently LOTS of sugar is a big hit around here!

I guess that's all for now, I'll post the photos of the graduation cake and cupcakes later today after it's completed, and stay tuned for September for my first wedding cake!!!