Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fondant Ribbon Cake...Learning new techniques


Even though this looks like a very simple cake, it gave me the opportunity to learn several new techniques, while at the same time tweaking my fondant recipe and techniques. I'll share some of what I learned. I learned allot by reading Janelle Smith's blogs and studying some of the tutorials that she had listed. First of all, I learned that it is easier to put fondant on a chilled cake. Janelle suggests filling and icing the cake and chilling it for a couple of hours. Then take it out of the refrigerator and spritz it with a little water, cover it with the fondant and chill it again. Take it out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before serving it. It will glisten a little from the condensation, but it is OK. This is especially good when you have a filling that needs to be kept cool. This particular cake was fudge marble with chocolate mousse filling. I also purchased a fondant smoother, which I liked using better than only my hand to smooth.

Making the fondant ribbon and bow was definitely an experiment. For the color I used used a shrimp color luster dust mixed with a little vodka (yes, I know you're thinking I went to a liquor store). Actually, I had the bride get me one of those little mini bottles of vodka because I told her that I would feel uncomfortable purchasing it myself. She was OK with that. Carol, at the local cake store where I get some of my supplies, showed me how you can intensify the color of the luster dusts by adding a clear alcohol, such as vodka. You use alcohol because it dries quickly. Anyway, after combining the luster dust with the vodka, I sprayed the fondant ribbon and bows with my airbrush. It gave it the pretty shiny finish I wanted. I had to add lots more sugar and a little meringue powder to the fondant dough to make the bows stiff enough. I think next time I make the bows I would maybe use gum paste instead of fondant, but the ribbon was OK. To make the blush color of the fondant that I covered the cake with, I added several drops of flesh airbrush color to the melted marshmallow mixture before adding the powdered sugar.

The bride furnished the round silver pieces that we used in the center of the bows. I still haven't gotten used to the idea of a finished wedding cake not having anything on top, but it was the look the bride wanted.

Here is the new fondant recipe I used from Janelle's blog. Just make sure you add enough sugar, make it the night before so it can firm up, and that you use plenty of cornstarch when rolling it out.


Marshmallow Fondant

1 bag mini marshmallows (16 oz.)
2 TBS water
2 tsp. corn syrup
5 to 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup shortening

Combine marshmallows and water in a glass bowl. Microwave for about 40 seconds at a time stirring in between until it becomes a soupy mixture. Stir in corn syrup. Mix in about a cup of powdered sugar. Pour mixture on work surface covered with about 3 cups powdered sugar and knead like bread dough. Coat hands with shortening frequently. Gradually add more powdered sugar as needed until the fondant is smooth and doesn't spread much when you let it sit for a few seconds. Careful not to add too much sugar or the fondant will be crumbly and hard. It's better to make it too soft. Wrap well with plastic wrap and let the fondant firm up overnight before using. If the fondant is stiff the next day, microwave it a few seconds to warm it up and make it more pliable.


Chocolate Fondant

1 bag mini marshmallows (16 oz.)
2 TBS water
2 tsp. corn syrup
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup shortening
a little less than 1/4 cup cocoa powder

After melting your marshmallows and water, stir in corn syrup and cocoa powder. To achieve a rich brown color, use Dutch Process cocoa. Hershey's makes some called Special Dark. Using regular cocoa will make a soft brown color. Knead mixture into powdered sugar. You'll need less sugar since the cocoa powder absorbs moisture so careful how much you add. Better to make it too soft since you can add more sugar the next day if needed. Wrap well with plastic wrap and let rest overnight.
*Do not add melted chocolate to the fondant. It will seize up and become a crumbled mess.
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