I love decorating cakes. It’s an awesome way to be creative and try new things. I do NOT, however, have a gift for frosting cakes! Actually, I just suck at it. I try to be patient. I try to make my hands create what I see in my head. What I end up with is a big pile of buttercream frosting with chunks of cake mixed in for good measure. Basically, a big visual YUCK!
So imagine my delight when my sister, Ruth, and I committed to making my sister, Beccee’s, wedding cake about 12 years ago. In all of our cake decorating research, we discovered fondant. It was not being widely used yet, at least not in our little part of the world. Well, we gave it our all and created an awesome cake, full of as much character as my sister Beccee and her husband. I was hooked on fondant!
Over the years I’ve used it a lot for kids birthdays and for two other weddings. I have made it from scratch, bought it pre-made. All of them kind of sucked. They taste awful, kind of like mushy cardboard. I finally cashed it in on the fondant, because it was a lot of work and seemed to bring down the quality of the cake with it’s icky taste.
When I volunteered to make my niece’s birthday cake last week, I knew to get the look I wanted, I would have to revisit my old friend, ‘Fondant.” While researching some recipes, I stumbled across Marshmallow Fondant. I have to say I didn’t have high hopes for it being successful. It sounded like it would be one big huge mess to make. But it seemed like the easiest of the recipes and required only 4 ingredients. So, I threw caution to the wind, and our adorable puppy cake above was the final product.
I will caution that this recipe IS a mess to make, but it was worth the effort. Super simple, lots of elbow grease, and LOTS of Crisco, about 10 minutes of your time, and BAM – you have fondant! And while it still is not delicious, it tastes better than any other fondant recipe I’ve tried.
I did not take any pictures as I was making it. I had Crisco up to my elbows. But I will try to keep directions simple and straightforward. If you have questions, please feel free to comment. I will answer as quickly as possible! I know how frustrating it can be to be all gung-ho about starting a project that you find online, only to end up with 10 questions that you can’t get an answer to! But really, this is very simple. And this is one time that if you have a big mess happening, you are on the right track!
16 ounces mini marshmallows (go with name-brand, not generic/store brand)
2 to 5 Tablespoons Water
2 pounds Powdered Sugar (again, go with name-brand)
Melt marshmallows and 2 Tbsp water in a double boiler. (My double boiler is a large pot of boiling water with a stainless steel or glass bowl resting on top of it. No need for anything fancy.) Stir marshmallows until completely melted. Remove bowl from heat.
Pour 3/4 of the powdered sugar on top of the melted marshmallows. Begin to stir with a spoon. Using Crisco, thoroughly grease hands (remove rings, grease in between fingers, thoroughly coating your hands). You will need to continue to grease your hands as you work the fondant, so you may want to place a generous amount into a small bowl that you can just glop into!
Sprinkle counter generously with powdered sugar. Once the sugar and marshmallows are fairly well combined, pour the contents of bowl onto countertop. Again, at this point you will have a big, sticky mess! Begin using your hands to knead the fondant. You are going to continue to add the remainder of the powdered sugar and water a small amount at a time as you knead the fondant. If the fondant seems to crack or tear once you have added all of the powdered sugar, continue to add a 1/2 tbsp of water at a time until it does not tear easily. This will make the fondant really sticky again, but just keep kneading. If you are stuck to the fondant, add more Crisco to your hands. The fondant will stick to the countertop at times. Just scrape with a spatula, sprinkle more powdered sugar onto the countertop, and continue to knead. It takes a good 10 minutes of kneading to fully combine all of the ingredients. Don’t give up! If the fondant isn’t enough to keep you going, a side benefit is that the Crisco is going to give you soft, smooth hands by the end of the process!
The fondant will be done when it looks like a nice lump of firm playdough! At this point, coat the outside of the fondant with a layer of Crisco to keep it moist, double wrap it with plastic wrap, and place it all in a plastic ziploc bag. Let it sit for about 12 hours or more. This step is not necessary, but it does allow time for the ingredients to fully combine. I think it just makes it easier to work with the fondant. The fondant will keep like this for several weeks in the refrigerator.
After letting the fondant sit, you can separate it into the correct portions you need to add your color. I have always used Wilton’s cake decorating colors. I think they are bright and vibrant and are easily obtainable. Before incorporating the color, place the fondant into the microwave on a defrost setting for about 15 to 20 seconds. This softens the mixture a bit, making pliable and easier to mix in your color and roll out for your cake.
And, voila! You have just made fondant! CONGRATULATIONS! Make sure to take pictures and share your creations with us!