Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tips for using marshmallow fondant

I feel a bit bad because I just posted the photos of the Winnie Pooh cake but nothing about how I made it. I already posted a few sites with recipes. There are also quite a few tutorials on the web on how to make marshmallow fondant. That's why I am not going to do a tutorial about this. I am just going to write down a few things that I figured out along the way and that might be helpful for other first-time-users of (marshmallow) fondant.

-One thing to always keep in mind when working with fondant is that moisture will spoil it.

-If you are planning on making a fondant covered cake for a rather special occasion - like your wedding ;-) - I would always recommend a trial run!!!

-If you are making marshmallow fondant you can make it the day before you actually want to use it. I am not sure whether it makes it actually better - I read different things on different sites. Some people say it should sit a while before you work with it. I did it that way rather because it was more convenient. It takes a bit to make - with all the kneading - and after it was made, I usually needed a break anyway. ;-)

-I store the fondant wrapped in plastic foil and OUTSIDE the refridgerator. I have read different things about marshmallow fondant. Some say it can be put into the fridge. I did not try but I am not too sure ... If you put hardened fondant into the fridge it definitely will not look as pretty as before (see below) ... I just did not want to take a chance and since the marshmallow fondant basically just contains marshmallows and sugar I figured it should keep a while outside the fridge without spoiling. So far I was right.

-If the wrapped up fondant does happen to get a bit dry - for example if you wrap rather small portions - you can make it workable again by putting it in the microwave for a few seconds. I would recommend only doing this for a few seconds at a time - if you overheat it you might ruin it. Also, when you take out the heated fondant it is not a wise idea to just check on the outside how hot it is, decide it is just a bit warm and try to knead it! As with all microwave heated items - the heat is not evenly distributed. This means you might end up burning your fingers with really hot and STICKY fondant when trying to knead it!
Been there, done that! :-/

-If you want to decorate a cake with fondant you basically have two choices.
1. You make just the "decorations" like figurines or flowers and stuff and frost the cake with regular frosting or something similar and put the decoration on the cake. I have done this only with cupcakes. You definitely should put on the fondant decorations just very shortly before serving the cake. Depending on how moist the frosting is the fondant will soak up moisture and not look as nice anymore - and in the worst case kinda melt away.

2. You can cover the whole cake in fondant and put your fondant decoration on top of the fondant. That's how I did it and I find it has two advantages. First you don't have to worry about your decoration soaking up too much moisture from the cake and therefore you can (actually have to) prepare it ahead of time. Second, because of the fondant cover the cake itself will stay nice and moist at the inside.

-If you want to cover the whole cake you should plan to cover the cake at least one day ahead - so the fondant can dry before you put the decoration on top.
I find that marshmallow fondant does not harden as much as regular fondant, but I actually like this.

-If you want to make figurines or little flowers or Winnie Pooh bears ;-) you should make these a couple days ahead so they can harden. The thicker the decoration you are making the more time it will need to dry. (It will also depend on the warmth and humidity where you are living.) Once the figures/ decoration are hardened you can store them in an airtight container. I actually like the fact that you have to make the decoration some time in advance - that way I am forced to distribute the work over several days and don't end up totally exhausted after hours of decorating! :-)

-I have read on some post - unfortunately I don't remember where - that marshmallow fondant is not as suitable as regular fondant or gum paste to make figurines. I have never worked with gum paste so I simply don't know what that is like. I have worked with regular fondant before and I actually found the marshmallow fondant even easier to work with. But it might also depend on what kind of things you are making. For me it worked fine and I will definitely use it again.
I am not sure how it would keep up if you would make something like a really big figure. It might kinda slide together (sorry, don't know how to describe it). My Winnie Pooh bear did a bit. But for smaller items or rather flat decoration it is very nice.

-I colour fondant with regular food color - the liquid one you get in the supermarket. There are specialty stores where you can buy special colors. I guess they might have their advantages - I have never tried them however (mostly for the lack of having a specialty store nearby). When adding liquid color you should keep in mind that you probably will have to add more sugar as well. I tried regular food color powder but will not use it again. It did not work very well for me but this might depend on the kind of food color powder so I would recommend to simply try it with a small piece of fondant. Also I always used rather light colors. If you want to have a really dark color (like a dark red instead of a pinkish one) you probably should go for the specialty colors! The ones I used are simply not strong enough. Even if you add a lot the color will not get really dark. And there is only a limited amount of liquid color you can add before your fondant will get way too soft (even if you do add more sugar).

-Black fondant I would not try to make. I read somewhere that it is not possible to make really black fondant yourself at home. I would recommend buying it or if you need only tiny bits - like for stripes for bees or eyes and stuff I recommend using a food color pen! It's easy to work with and you can very easily add small details.

Hope this helps a bit! If I think of more things or if you have questions I will add more stuff ...

Since this is a rather boring looking blog without any pictures I will go through my photos and try to put together a blog with photos of fondant cakes I have done in the past ...


Megan Grant said...

i use home made marshmallow fondant too! check out my cakes id love to hear some feedback

kenyota said...

i am also new to fondant. I;ve been working with fondant for about 6 months now. I like to myself you tube taught. When i color my fondant i go to our local hobby lobby ( arts craft store) they have a whole section for baking. They have wilton food coloring for fondant. Very little goes a long way. I normally take a tooth pick stick it in the coloring and than pull it across my fondant 3 or 4 times i think it would probably be less than1/4 tsp if u measure. And it always turns out great. Ive used it to make bright, bloody red, tiffany blue, lime green purple, and black (gasp). I use to make my fondant my hand, but now i use my kitchenaide mixer and it come out even better.

Ms Muffin said...

@ kenyota

Thanks for your sweet comment. I did not find a way to contact you ...
I have heard about Wilton food coloring. It is not as easy to buy it here in Germany. But I will definitely try one of the "real" food colors from a cake baking shop that is kinda close. Since they have changed the recipe for the food colorings you can get at supermarkets they are really crap! Next big baking project will no be until summer though ... hard to do any baking or cake decoratin with the little man runnig arond ....

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