Artistic and Creative Cooking With Fondant
Mario Birthday Cake Handmade With Fondant
What is fondant?
Fondant has been very popular in recent years. What exactly is fondant? Fondant is a French word that translates to “melting”. Fondant is a sweet concoction used to sculpt frost or decorate cakes and other pastries or desserts.
The Mario themed child birthday cake in the photo was completely made by hand from fondant. Every part of this cake is edible, and each character was hand-formed. There are also more traditional items that can be made as well, such as roses, ribbons and such, but realize there can be great creativity that can be done with fondant.
In a very general sense, there are two main types of fondant.
The first form is called a poured or cream fondant. It might be used as a pastry, candy, or cake filling, or frosting. It may be used to dip cupcakes or other smaller desserts into, to create a hard, smooth glaze like texture. Basically, it’s a water and sugar recipe cooked to a soft-ball stage, and then beaten until it has an opaque color and thick, creamy texture. It may be flavored and colored as well.
The second type of fondant is called a rolled fondant, or fondant icing. It doesn’t have the same ingredients or chemical reaction as the poured fondant, and is typically used in a different type of application. Many cake decorators and pastry chefs used this type on wedding cakes. The recipe usually contains a food grade glycerin and/or gelatin that helps keep the dough pliable and soft.
Rolled fondant is rolled out smooth like a person would when making a pie crust. It is then used to cover the cake and gives a sleek, smooth texture. Below you’ll see a video with detailed instructions for lying rolled out fondant on a cake. It was this type of fondant that the Mario birthday characters were constructed with. Several batches were colored in vibrant colors, similar to a modeling clay or play dough project.
Another application of rolled fondant is it can be cut into different shapes and dipped in chocolate, or even white chocolate. It can be flavored and colored, different fruit pieces can be added. Cream eggs can be made for instance. Get creative and take a basic recipe and add your favorite flavor combinations to come up with your own signature dessert. There’s also a myriad of fondant candy recipes out there waiting to be discovered.
A Couple of Basic Fondant Recipes
Basic Poured Fondant
- 2-1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
Place the sugar, water and corn syrup in a sauce pan, and heat to (238°F; 114°C), or until a soft-ball stage occurs. Pour the mixture into a large ceramic type bowl and prepare to use your mixer. Allow syrup to cool undisturbed until it reaches 140°F (60°C), about 30 minutes.
Put in any food coloring or flavorings you desire, and beat on a medium speed with a mixer, until the mixture completely turns from clear liquid syrup, into an opaque paste. When cooled thoroughly, put in a sealed container and allow curing at room temperature for 24 hours. Use or refrigerate for later use.
Be sure not to leave the fondant in the bowl with the mixer, as it will set up. Get it wrapped up and immediately clean the bowl and beaters.
When using this the next day for dipping, you may need to slightly warm some of it first, or thin slightly with water. Try to experiment to find the right texture for dipping, or how you plan on using it.
Basic Rolled Fondant Recipe
- 1 1/2 t plain gelatin (like Knox brand)
- 1/8 c water
- 4 c powdered sugar
- 1/4 c light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 t food grade glycerin
In a small saucepan sprinkle the plain gelatin over the water and allow to set 5 minutes. Cook over low heat stirring until dissolved. Turn off heat and cover to keep warm.
In a large mixing bowl, place the sugar inside and make a “well” in the center. Add the glycerin and corn syrup but don’t mix yet. Now pour the dissolved gelatin water mixture into the well, then mix with a lightly greased rubber or wooden spoon, continue until the dough becomes to stiff to stir. At this point, lightly oil your hands with vegetable oil and knead. Move to a lightly oiled flat surface and keep kneading until texture is smooth and clay like. If it’s too dry, add a couple drops of water, if too wet, a little more powdered sugar.
Roll the finished fondant into a large ball and flatten slightly, wrap it with a plastic type wrap. Allow to set and cure for 20 minutes before rolling and using for your next phase.
Marshmallow Fondant Icing Recipe
This is another version of the rolled fondant type. Try making both to find your preferred method.
- 16 ounces white mini marshmallows
- 2 to 5 tablespoons water
- 2 pounds powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening (keep container out as you’ll be using some for your hands too).
Using a double boiler saucepan, melt the marshmallows and 2 T. of water. Stir occasionally until they are melted (low heat). Add ¾ of the powdered sugar into the melted marshmallow mix.
Grease your clean hands generously with shortening and heavily grease your working surface. Be very careful at this stage to not burn your hands. If the mixture is too hot, let it cool until you can safely handle it.
Once it is in a big ball that can be handled, turn out on your greased working surface and keep kneading like bread. Keep adding the remaining powdered sugar and grease your hands as need. If it gets too dry (tears easily), add a little water, too wet more powdered sugar. It should be fairly elastic in texture when done.
Wrap finished fondant in plastic and allow to cure overnight before using. It can be stored a couple days if needed before using.
See below for a video tutorial on how to roll out
and place your fondant over a cake.