Have you ever wished that you could create a cake that looks professional? In this post, we teach you all that you need to know about using sugar paste icing aka fondant for a fancy birthday cake. Don’t be intimidated by the fancy terms, just give it a try!
If you’ve seen the elaborate, fondant cakes doing the rounds on social media – you’re sure to have felt impressed, and a bit overwhelmed. However, there’s nothing to be intimidated by it.
As seasoned bakers often tell, “fondant is just like play-dough for grown-ups.” For all those new to fondant icing, here in this article, we give you some essential pointers and tricks to get started.
You can buy pre-made fondant or make your own
There are several different brands of pre-made fondant in the market. From plain white ones to a rainbow of colours, unflavoured to flavoured, you get plenty of choices. Even in India, as the home baking scene explodes, you can now get several different types of pre-made fondant both online and offline at baking supply stores.
However, not all brands are the same. Different brands have varying textures, elasticity, and tastes. What more is that specific brands are suited for particular tasks. For instance, brand A may be more suited to covering cakes, while brand B may be better for creating figurines and so on.
The best way to decide if a particular brand works for you is to get a few small samples of all brands. Try your hands on it and then choose the one that suits your style.
An alternative for pre-made fondant is to use homemade fondant. Yes, you read that right; you can make fondant at home. It’s just a bit more labour intensive; however, you can control the texture and taste. Above all, it’s inexpensive when compared to store bought fondant.
Here’s a simple recipe to create your fondant at home.
Yields around 840g of fondant. You can easily double or triple the recipe as required.
- 4 cups of icing sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice or water
- 3 ½ cups of marshmallows
- 2/3 cup of white baking chocolate (optional)
- Food colouring (optional)
Here in this recipe, we use a secret ingredient: the baking chocolate. The reason for this is that the chocolate makes your fondant firm, elastic and easy to use. Also, it prevents the final product from drying out too quickly and gives it a firm texture, when using on your cake.
- 1. Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl. Create a well in the centre.
- 2. Add the marshmallows and lemon juice (water) in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it in full power for around 40 seconds. Stir it.
- 3. Keep on repeating this till all the marshmallows melt and create a smooth mixture.
- 4. Next, add the chopped chocolate into this mixture and stir till it melts to create a smooth flowing consistency.
- 5. You can add food colouring now or knead it into the fondant when needed.
- 6. Pour this marshmallow-chocolate mixture into the icing sugar.
- 7. Mix it well with a wooden spatula or using an electric mixer with dough hooks.
- 8. Mix until you have a sticky paste. If it becomes too firm, add a bit more icing sugar. It should be a bit sticky now.
- 9. Take a large piece of cling wrap and place the fondant in it and wrap tightly. Refrigerate overnight in a zip-lock bag.
- 10. The fondant becomes firmer on cooling. If it’s too stiff, you can microwave it for 10 seconds. On the other hand, if it’s still sticky roll it in more icing sugar.
Other Tips and Tricks
#1: Prepare your Workspace
Once you have made your fondant, the next step is in creating a clean working area. A stainless steel countertop is ideal, but if you don’t have one, any clean, flat surface will do.
Some of the essential tools you require for working with fondant are a fondant mat, rolling pin, cutting and shaping tools.
Rub down your counter with a small ball of fondant to catch any dust or lint particles. Dispose this ball and grease your hands with vegetable oil or shortening. Knead your fondant till it’s pliable, soft and warm. You should be able to roll it into a ball without any cracks.
Always take only the amount you’re using. Keep the rest bagged up to prevent it from drying.
#2: Experiment with Varying Thicknesses
Most bakers opt for rolled fondant with a thickness of ¼” to 1/8”. The key here is to go as thin as possible without tearing it.
Even when using fondants for embellishments like flowers, bows, you don’t want it to be too thick. Otherwise, it’ll end up looking bulky. With practice, you can easily create the perfect thickness that works.
#3: Firm it up with Tylose Powder
You can make your fondant firm, by adding tylose powder – a food-safe hardening agent. Add about 1/4th teaspoon of this powder in a golf sized ball of fondant and continue kneading.
Things made out of tylose added fondant harden quickly and become rock hard in a few days. This is ideal when you’re working with figurines and embellishments, both 3D and 2D.
#4: Strive for Sharp Edges
When cutting shapes with fondant, try to achieve sharp edges for a neat, clean finish. Push the cutter from side to side to get sharp edges. Make sure you’re moving the cutter and not the fondant. If pieces of the fondant stick to the cutter, pick it up and give it a gentle pat.
#5: Storage Tips
Fondant keeps good for around 2 months at room temperature, 4 months when refrigerated and 6 months when frozen. You can always freeze fondant and let it cool to room temperature before you use it. This is a great way to make big batches and store it for a long time.
Always wrap up unused fondant in cling wrap and place it in a zip-lock bag before freezing. Additionally, you can roll the fondant ball in shortening/margarine/vegetable fat to prevent it from drying.
#6: Enhancing the Taste of Fondant
To improve the taste of store-bought fondant, mix it with equal parts of home-made marshmallow fondant.
#7: Colouring the Fondant
Always opt for white marshmallows to get white fondant. You can add your preferred colours to the white fondant to match your cake. When colouring, choose gel food colouring, as liquid colours impact the texture of your fondant.
If you only have liquid colours on hand, then you can add extra icing sugar, tylose powder, CMC powder or gum tragacanth to firm it up.
#8: Softening or Firming Fondant
If your fondant is too hard, then you can try kneading it with a few drops of shortening/glycerine to soften it up. Never add water to soften it as water causes the fondant to seize.
If the fondant is too soft, you can knead modelling chocolate with it to firm it up.
Wrapping it Up
Fondant covered cakes rule big time in both professional bakeries and home kitchens. Don’t be intimidated by fondant icing. Just give it a try and let your creativity shine.
Still not sure if you can handle fondant? Take part in an expert, hands-on baking class offered by Gurgaon Bakers. Just give us a ring @ 0124-4379-633 schedule your class timings and book your seat.
A special occasion coming up? Don’t want to spend time creating the perfect cake? No worries, just take a look at our extensive gallery, place your order online and get free cake delivery in Gurgaon. Whatsapp us @ 989-9988-185 for available flavours and styles.