When I first had fondant on a cake, it was at a friends’ wedding. The happy couple was in the same graduate program Eat and I matriculated through for Epidemiology/Public Health. I remember thinking, Wow, why don’t I eat fondant more often? This tastes GOOD! I am an admitted cake and icing snob, so this was an epiphany of sugarcoating.
I finally ventured into fondant use myself a few years later when decorating a cake for Peach’s third birthday. Seeing as I had just given birth to Grub three weeks prior, buying rather than making the fondant was the easiest solution.
While the cake was a valiant attempt at a cake at all in a post-partum haze, the fondant made it worse. The taste of the pre-made fondant is something I will never forget. It is like eating sweetened chemicals sprinkled with a bit of metallic tang. I could not figure out how the wedding cake years ago tasted so good and my creation tasted so bad.
Fast-forward two years later, in the thick of my food blog, and the dopey realization that homemade fondant would just taste better (doesn’t most homemade food taste better?). I do not have any infants in the house at this point, yet there is a undercurrent of chaos at all times with an eight-year-old, a five-year-old, and a two-year-old. I still managed to make this marshmallow fondant without the chaos pulling me under. It is really that easy.
There is one admission. While this is homemade, it is more accurately *semi-homemade*. The marshmallows are store-bought. I’ve never used my homemade marshmallows for fondant, though I bet that would be wonderful. My own homemade marshmallows are just so good it’s hard to keep enough around to save for fondant making.
And there is a climate caveat. Marshmallow fondant is a great medium. It is versatile, decorating cakes and cookies in all sorts of permutations, but weather-dependent. I am not a fondant expert, nor do I use it enough to predict its behavior in different weather. In general, however, humidity can be friend or foe. I discussed this more in my last post about the construction-themed birthday cakes, the Georgia humidity dictating my success.
More fondant creations to come! On the search for some tylose and a muse….
One year ago: story’s cosmo
- 1 pound (450 g) of mini marshmallows. I prefer white so I can custom tint my fondant.*
- 2 tablespoons water
- Approximately 2 pounds (900 g) of confectioners' sugar, sifted or not. See notes below.**
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup (for pliability)
- Food coloring of your choice
- Clear extract for flavoring, if desired (I like vanilla or lemon)
- vegetable shortening
- Start by putting the marshmallows and water in a microwave-proof bowl. Microwave in 15 to 20 second intervals, stirring each time, until fully melted and not lumpy.
- Coat the bowl of a wooden spoon with vegetable shortening. Add about 1 pound of confectioners' sugar to the bowl and stir with the wooden spoon. Add corn syrup. Stir until there is a shaggy mass that can be turned out onto your workspace. Before doing so, grease the workspace with the vegetable shortening. Also do the same with your hands.
- Knead the fondant as you would do bread dough. Knead until you incorporate most of the confectioners' sugar and have a smooth ball that is firm but pliable. You should be able to pull the fondant like a rubber band. It will break but you don't want to break right away. Aim for a stretch of about 2 inches before a break. If the fondant is too stiff, add more shortening. If the fondant is too sticky, add more confectioners' sugar. See notes for more details on humidity. ***
- This is the time to also add food coloring if you want to tint the fondant. Knead it again to distribute the color.
- The final fondant should be smooth and firm but pliable. You can use right away and roll out for cakes, cupcakes, or cookies. Or wrap well in plastic at least double layered then place in an airtight container. Fondant keeps well for about three months at room temperature.
- This recipe makes about 35 ounces of fondant. This is enough to cover one 8-inch diameter, 3-inch high layer round cake (or four short layers).
- Another note on consistency: What you are using the fondant for will help guide you on how stiff you want the fondant. In general, fondant that stretches about 2 inches and then breaks is a good starting point. Again, this will depend on your plans for the fondant (e.g., to ice a cake, to ice cupcakes, to mold into figurines), ambient temperature, and temperature of the fondant itself.
** To sift or not to sift? I've done it both ways, and both work. You do have to put a bit more muscle in the kneading if using unsifted confectioners' sugar. How much sugar you add will depend on general humidity.
*** If you have leftover sugar, you can sift out the chunks of wayward fondant and save the sifted sugar for other projects. If really humidity and kneading fondant to use right away, cornstarch helps decrease stickiness better than confectioners' sugar.