making peace with fondant

my friend R’s birthday is coming up.  it’s the X anniversary of either her 21st or 25th birthday. she’s hosting a PINK party.  to help her celebrate the occasion, i decided to make her a two-tier pink fondant cake covered with one hundred white flowers.

now, i have a love-hate relationship with fondant: love the way it looks, hate the way it tastes.  i don’t think i’ll ever learn to like eating fondant (it’s way too sweet). But, it really is an excellent substance for preserving the moistness of cake while you’re decorating, and it’s arguably easier to transport than a buttercream iced cake.  so there you have it.  girl who hates eating fondant, making fondant.

there are all sorts of places that sell ready-made fondant.  it’s not cheap!  a small little package enough to cover a 8  x 2 inch  round cake goes for $7.  plus, i don’t trust it.  the stuff looks like its been sitting around for longer than a twinkie.  even if you don’t eat fondant, do you really want shelf-stable fondant anywhere near your food?

fondant is easy enough to make.  you just have to remember to make it a few days in advance.  it needs time to relax and set.  you also have to get your hands on some glycerine and corn syrup OR glucose.   sur la table carries glycerine.  you can find glucose at ny cake but corn syrup works just as well.  i swear they used to carry it at my local whole foods but suddenly it just disappeared.  i guess john mackey or someone close to his philosophy had a heart attack when they saw that very processed food product there. the rest of the ingredients in fondant are fairly common.

Colette’s Rolled Fondant
(enough to cover 1 nine-inch cake or 2 six-inch cakes)

Gelatin 1 tbsp
Cold Water 60g
Glucose or Corn Syrup 170g
Glycerine 1 ½ tbsp
Powdered Sugar 900 g (you likely will not need all of it)
  1. Mix gelatin with cold water.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. While waiting for gelatin to dissolve, measure out the glucose and glycerine.  The way to do so is to pour the glucose and glycerine into a piece of plastic wrap set a top of a bowl.  You can then just pick up the plastic, cut open the bottom and squeeze the glucose out of the plastic wrap.
  3. Set the bowl of your stand mixer over a water bath, and add the gelatin into the bowl. Stir the gelatin around and allow it to warm up.  Do not let it boil, as it will really smell.   The gelatin is at the right temperature when it feels just warm to the touch.
  4. Add in the glucose and glycerine, and stir around.
  5. Take the bowl off the heat and fit it into the stand mixer with the paddle attachment on the lowest speed.
  6. Start adding in about 2/3 of the powdered sugar.
  7. The stand mixer will only get you so far.  When you start noticing that the mixture isn’t getting any better combined, transfer the fondant onto a clean surface dusted with powdered sugar.
  8. Continue to knead the fondant by hand, slowly adding in more powdered sugar to reduce the stickiness of the fondant. Depending on the humidity of your area, you may not need all the powdered sugar.  I usually use around 750g of powdered sugar, rather than all 900g.
  9. The fondant is ready when it’s soft to the touch and elastic,  but not sticky.  Wrap the fondant in plastic and let it rest at room temperature for 1-2 days before using.

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2 responses to “making peace with fondant

  1. I want to see the cake!

    Fondant is awful, but I think we have better stuff over here than you have there. It’s not gross like you say, just sweet. And I like it because you can water it down and pipe it, which helped me do the webs on a Spiderman cake for my nephew. Yes. I like a challenge.

    • Still working on the cake. Will post in a day.
      Yes, I recall standing in the Marks and Spencers baking aisle last month and thinking to myself that the baking supplies on your side are so much more splendid than what we’ve got in NYC.

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