When I first started baking, I absolutely refused to touch fondant. Truth be told, I thought more skill went into icing with buttercream. The fact that fondant was so smooth made me think it must be really easy to cover a cake with fondant. But I gotta say after frosting quite a few cakes with buttercream, fondant was another itch I needed to scratch.
So when it came time to make fondant for my World Cup cakes, I needed to decide what kind of fondant I was going to be working with. However, this wasn’t the first time I was going to be working with fondant. The first time, I used store-bought fondant to make the blackboard for my Teachers’ Day cake. This time I wanted to learn how to make my own fondant. Yolanda only provided the recipe for marshmallow fondant on her website and I wasn’t sure if this was the recipe she always used or not – her fondant is always so beautiful and well-behaved. So the debate was to either make traditional or marshmallow fondant. There was a certain enigma to traditional fondant that I wanted to conquer. But at the same time I didn’t want to screw it up too much and for this page to end up under baking fails. After some fruitful brainstorming with a friend of mine, – who got me thinking that marshmallow would probably be better just because of its tough consistency even when melted – I decided that I would stick with Yo’s MMF over chocolate cake.
- 7 cups mini white marshmallows (loosely packed)
- 3 tbsp. water
- 1 tbsp glycerin
- Icing sugar (minimum 1 kg)
*Refer to the original link for exact measurements
I didn’t specify the amount of icing sugar as I’ve learnt you’ll need A LOT! My advice, don’t go by how much icing sugar you have left as long as it’s more than 1 lb. Stock up as you’re probably gonna need much more than that.
The instructions in the original link are pretty straightforward. Only variation here is that I don’t have a microwave oven. So I had to resort to double-boiling. What’s more, I had to improvise as my regular double-boiling containers were too small for the amount of marshmallows involved.
When I use the stove, I like using a low flame because I like to avoid burning things. As a result, this process took me almost 2 hours. If you are more of an expert on the stove, go ahead and use your better judgment to melt this more efficiently. I just stirred it occasionally when I checked on it. After you see the marshmallows start to look like this, add the water and glycerin.
To give you a clearer idea, this was the progress throughout the 2 hours. Keep stirring, until everything looks smooth all the way through. Once you’re done, your stand mixer should be ready with the 1 lb of icing sugar. (This is one of the many reasons you definitely need a stand mixer)
Try with all your might to push the melted marshmallow into your mixer bowl (my friend was right – melted marshmallow is extremely tough and makes for great fondant). Attach the dough hook and start mixing. Look at that glorious white fondant!
So you would think, at this point, that you know when the fondant is done. But you need to keep adding more icing sugar until you get very minimal stickiness. You need to make sure of this otherwise you get a big, sticky mess all over your fingers.
The next step is to roll out this mixture onto your fondant mat and continue kneading. Now because my fondant was still quite sticky before I rolled it out, it started sticking to my mat. The mat got lifted along with the fondant when I was kneading and I got so frustrated because I started to think I bought the wrong kind of mat. The trick is to keep adding more and more icing sugar until it’s able to roll into 1 huge ball of fondant that DOES NOT stick to your fingers. This is why I said you need a lot of icing sugar. I didn’t know this initially and I ended up wasting A LOT of melted marshmallow. They were frustrating me so much I ended up throwing a lot of it away.
I finally managed to get a nice ball of fondant. A little grainy though because of all the icing sugar but it makes it that much easier to handle. Now the dilemma was whether to let it rest or not. After some reading, I discovered you can use fondant right away without letting it rest. So I immediately started colouring portions of the fondant to use on the cakes. What I learnt I did wrong when colouring the store-bought fondant before was that I didn’t knead it enough and so the colour didn’t incorporate in the fondant properly. This time I had learnt how to knead, so the colour was nice and evenly distributed through the fondant.
I definitely vouch for Yo’s marshmallow fondant as it’s extremely easy to handle, once you get it into a ball, that is. I just need to practice rolling it out thinner to make it nicer looking.
As I’ve said, I used store-bought fondant on my Teachers’ Day cake before and the colouring was less than perfect. Now after my experience with MMF, you would think there was no going back for me. But I did buy a bunch of different colours of store-bought fondant as back-up in case my MMF didn’t work out. So I decided to use them for the next few occasions I needed fondant. Something went horribly wrong (but it’s not under fails as it was still presentable and edible).
- This was the first instance. It was my first fondant order. So I didn’t want to risk it with my MMF (the World Cup cakes were for a personal party and I didn’t really like that it tasted like marshmallow – which again, I think the taste would have subsided had I let it rest). I didn’t want to make it too sweet so I used cornstarch this time to roll it out. It turned out to be incredibly sticky – as you can see from the shininess – and that prevented me from placing the black characters neatly on the white. Theory: maybe the cornstarch made it sticky.
- This was the second order. My theory was proven wrong. This blue fondant was rolled with icing sugar instead of cornstarch but still turned out to be sticky and shiny. I wanted to think it was probably the heat from my fingers because I didn’t use a cutter for these 2 instances but used a stencil and cut manually instead. But that doesn’t explain why the base fondant on cake 1 became sticky as well.
- Since both icing sugar and cornstarch worked the same way, I decided to go back to cornstarch for the third order just because we don’t need all that extra sweetness in our lives. I used a Superman cutter for this so there was no heat from my finger affecting it but I could see it was on the brink of becoming sticky. Maybe it’s just the brand, then.
Tips for storing:
Whatever fondant you have left over, collect them all into a ball (only same colours together, of course), wrap it up in plastic wrap, and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Things to remember for next time:
- Try not to waste as much melted marshmallow as possible.
- Let it rest! – The fondant is usable right away, but I think letting it rest would have made it look better. Why? Well when I keep looking at the leftover fondant now in the airtight container, it seems to be looking less grainy and the colour seems to have developed better. The blues and red definitely look much richer and deeper compared to my World Cup cakes. I’m quite sure the texture would be softer as well and easier to manage. I will post my findings once I test the rested fondant.
Conclusion: I’m happy because I managed to make fondant!
Stay tuned for my scuba diving cake, where I’ll be using this properly rested fondant. Hope it turns out well!