How to Make Decorating Fondant for Cakes
A Home Made Marshmallow Fondant Recipe That's Fun and Easy to Make
Fondant is like edible modeling clay. It can be shaped, colored, cut or molded. It can turn a plain cake into a work of art. This pliable icing used to be something seldom used by amateurs, but with the advent of cake shows, fondant and other culinary ideas once relegated to professionals have moved right into our living rooms. If you've seen Ace of Cakes or Cake Boss you've seen some in use. A baker can make real works of art with the use of a little modeled sugary decoration.
However, commercial, pre-made fondant can be expensive and frankly doesn't taste very good. With some experimentation, much of it very messy, quite unappetizing and downright dangerous, I've arrived at a simple and inexpensive alternative to the commercial version that is surprisingly easy to work with.
This recipe costs under $10 per cake even including the initial outlay for a multicolor box of food coloring. Typically, I spend less than $5 per cake on fondant ingredients, even for cakes with a dozen colors of it!
All photos on this page by Kylyssa Shay unless otherwise credited.
Since microwaves vary greatly in power be careful handling the melted marshmallows. They may get hot enough to burn you and at this stage they will stick to you like culinary napalm.
Home Made Fondant Ingredients
You will need:
- 1 cup of mini marshmallows, packed tightly
- 1 - 1.5 cups of powdered sugar
- 4 teaspoons of water
- Half a teaspoon of cooking oil cooking oil to grease up your hands and work surface if needed extra powdered sugar for rolling out the icing
One batch makes enough fondant to cover a double layered, eight inch round cake.
Step One: Mix Marshmallows, Food Coloring, and Water
Mix the mini marshmallows with the water in a microwave safe bowl, coating them as evenly as possible with the liquid. If you wish to make a colored finished product, add the food coloring at this point.
Step Two: Microwave with Care
Microwave the mixture for ten seconds or until they first begin to melt. If the marshmallows have not begun melting, microwave in increments of ten seconds until they do. Watch the process closely; you do not want to overcook the marshmallows because their consistency can turn stringy or the mixture can get too hot, creating a sticky burn hazard.
Step Three: Stir the Mixture and Add Cooking Oil
Stir the mixture to check for readiness - if all the lumps are gone once you stir it up for about thirty seconds, it is ready for the next step. If there are still lumps, microwave it again for another ten seconds. Stir until the lumps are gone.
If the color isn't almost twice as deep as you want the final color to be, add more food coloring and stir it in until the mixture is dark enough.
Add the cooking oil and stir it in thoroughly.
If you need to microwave the mixture longer be very, very watchful and use very short increments of time as it can easily be overcooked and become stringy.
Step Four: Stir in Powdered Sugar
Once you are able to stir out all the lumps add the powdered sugar in small batches to the hot marshmallow mixture stirring vigorously. Be very careful as this mixture may be extremely hot and sticky.
Trust me; if you get the mixture too hot it burns like the dickens if you get it stuck to your skin. It may not seem like all the sugar will stir into the marshmallows but I assure you, it will. By the time you've stirred in all the powdered sugar you can with your spoon, it is usually pretty cool to the touch.
It takes a lot of stirring to incorporate the sugar into the melted marshmallows.
The fondant gets hard to stir just before it's time to start kneading it.
Step Five: Kneading
Once you've gotten all the powdered sugar stirred in allow the mixture to cool enough to be touched. Then grease your hands with a cooking oil and knead the mixture until it is smooth and somewhat similar in consistency to Play-Doh. If the fondant feels sticky instead of doughy, continue to add more powdered sugar until it feels doughy. If it feels too grainy try heating it in the microwave for four to six seconds and allow it to cool wrapped tightly in plastic. This should help it to become more like a very viscous liquid than like a bunch of grains of sugar bonded together with goo.
Now you can either use the fondant right away or store it for later use.
How to Make It into Colored Fondant
If you want colored fondant add food coloring with the water before microwaving your marshmallows. Otherwise the coloring comes out streaky and uneven. Use liquid food coloring as part of your 4 teaspoons of water, not in addition to it.
To make a hot pink icing add 20 drops of hot pink food coloring.
To make neon lime green add 20 drops of neon green food coloring.
The food coloring brand I prefer is McCormack which has a neon line great for creating bright colors.
To make chocolate fondant substitute dark cocoa powder for half of the powdered sugar and increase the cooking oil by half a teaspoon.
Rolling out Home Made Fondant: Step One
Lay down sheets of wax paper on your work surface and generously sprinkle them with powdered sugar to prevent the fondant from sticking. I use a tea strainer to to make a more-or-less even layer of powdered sugar.
An alternate method is to liberally grease the waxed paper with cooking oil. Do not combine the two methods.
Rolling out: Step Two
Lay the blob fondant on top of the powdered or greased work surface.
Grease or Sprinkle with Powdered Sugar
Sprinkle fondant liberally with powdered sugar or, if using the oil method, grease its entire exposed surface with a very thin layer of cooking oil.
Sandwich It Between Layers of Waxed Paper
Cover the fondant with another sheet of waxed paper.
Flatten It Evenly
Roll out the fondant with a rolling pin until it's as long as it needs to be to cover your cake.
Add More Powdered Sugar or Vegetable Oil and Re-Cover
Lift the top sheet of waxed paper and sprinkle powdered sugar onto the fondant. Then, flip the fondant over on the waxed paper and generously sprinkle it with more powdered sugar or rub with cooking oil if using the oil method.
To make it flavored add a few drops of food flavoring such as almond or vanilla extract or peppermint or lemon oil before adding the powdered sugar to the melted marshmallows. LorAnn candy-flavoring oils also work great and taste amazing.
Rolling out Home Made Fondant: Step Seven
Re-cover the fondant with waxed paper and roll it out in the other direction until it is wide enough to cover your cake.
Now it can be applied to your cake!
OMG! It Stuck!
What to Do When It Sticks
How to Salvage Stuck Fondant
Don't panic, this can be fixed!
If the fondant sticks to the waxed paper, gently slide it up with a metal spatula. Then you can either powder it and flip it over, giving it a few gentle passes with a rolling pin to flatten it out or simply apply it with the "good" side up on the cake.
If all else fails you can wad it back up, spritz it with a little water and roll it out all over again, starting from the beginning. If you do this too many times, however, it will start to get a bit stiff and crumbly.
And Now It Is Ready to Use
Once you have a big, flat sheet of fondant you can use it to carefully cover your cake. I recommend using a traditional frosting in a light color to serve as an adhesive before applying it. This recipe makes more than enough to cover an 8-9" double-layer round cake or a similar surface area.
You can either dust off the excess powdered sugar with a pastry brush for a matte finish or give it a light mist spray of water to melt the sugar in and give it a shiny look. Icing rolled out with cooking oil automatically gives it a very smooth, shiny finish.
Home made marshmallow fondant can be stored in any airtight container for several days at room temperature or for several weeks in the fridge. If refrigerated, you can either use the heat of your hands to soften it before use or put it in the microwave for several seconds set on defrost.
To shape the decorations you can either mold them with your hands as if out of clay, you can cut them out with cookie cutters, or use a knife to cut out custom shapes as I did for the tiger cake. An X-acto knife or other precision tip craft knife coated with cooking oil or non-stick cooking spray on its cutting blade works very well to cut out designs.
Prevent Fondant from Sticking in Cutters
Spray cutters such as alphabet cutters and shape cutters with non-stick cooking spray before use to prevent the fondant or gumpastefrom getting stuck in them. Wipe and re-apply non-stick spray between cut-outs on mini cutters.
More on Fondant by Kylyssa Shay
- Kylyssa's Fondant Cakes
See what fun an amateur can have making fondant cakes for friends and family and take a tour of twenty of my sweet creations.
- How to Make Realistic Looking Fondant Bacon
Learn how to make photo-realistic sugar-sweet bacon from fondant or gum paste with the instructions in this step-by-step tutorial with photos.
- How to Make a Cute Skull Cake
Step-by-step instructions and a printable template for making a bright skull cake with adorable rolled fondant skeleton girl decorations.
- How to Make Fondant Pumpkins and Gourds
Learn how to make sugary, cute little pumpkins, squash, and gourds with this easy to follow step-by-step tutorial with photos.
- How to Make Fondant Amanita Mushroom Sweets
Learn how to make cute, poisonous-looking red mushrooms from sweet and delicious fondant with this step-by-step tutorial with photo instructions.
© 2009 Kylyssa Shay