I have been decorating cakes for almost a year now. From a novice baker to a self-taught cake decorator, I push myself to discover many wonderful ideas and tips to make my cakes beautiful and elegant.
At first, I decorate my cakes with buttercream then eventually with rolled fondant icing. With rolled fondant, I am able to make customized cakes according to the preferences of my clients like the kid’s favorite characters and heroes. It is soft, smooth, pliable, and sugary icing that handles beautifully and is perfect to use when modeling figures, covering cakes, and decorating. You can add color by using gel paste of your desired shades and it gives your cakes and pastries a flawless finish.
Before, I used to buy ready-made rolled fondant in Tavola, Oman but I get frustrated since they have limited supply and it’s expensive. Until, a friend of mine and a fellow cake decorator named Shing, the fantastic lady behind Crust ‘n Crumbs, shared to me her homemade fondant recipe. And so I tried her recipe and I love it! It is not quite as easy to work with as the Wilton Product, but its texture and taste make it worth the effort! Then on, I don’t rely to commercial shops because I can make my own fondant icing at home.
This recipe is the classic way of making fondant which includes a lot of icing sugar, glucose, gelatin, and glycerin as ingredients. The glycerin keeps the fondant soft and supple. You can find it in some cake stores, some pharmacies, or on many webpages. Just be sure to get food-grade or food-safe glycerin like Dr. Oetker brands. The fondant yields approximately 36 oz that is enough to cover a 10 x 4 inches high cake.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, there’s nothing to worry about, because it is possible to make this fondant by hand, like I normally did. You just need a lot of stamina and kneading. Whew!
So make your own fondant and get the flavor, the texture and the price you like. It is very easy, albeit a tad messy, but most of all, it’s absolutely fun!
Here are the ingredients you need:
– 1 tablespoon (1 envelope or 1.4 oz) unflavored gelatin
– 1/4 cup normal room temperature water
– 1/2 cup Glucose syrup or light corn syrup
– 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
– 1 tablespoon Glycerin
– 2lbs or 8 cups sifted powdered sugar
– Icing color and flavoring, as desired
Ok, let’s begin:
1. Place the water in a small heatproof bowl/ non-sticky pan / glass measuring cup and sprinkle the gelatin on top, stirring it to distribute it. Let the gelatin set and soften for two minutes or until it “blooms”.
2. Once set, place the gelatin mixture on top of a double boiler and heat until dissolved. Be careful not to make it too hot as it will alter the quality of the gelatin.
3. Once liquid, stir the glucose / light corn syrup and mix well.
4. Stir in the shortening and just before completely melted, remove from fire.
5. Add glycerin, flavoring, and color. (In this case, I use 1 tsp vanilla extract and no color because I want my fondant to be white). Stir again until the mixture is smooth and clear. Set aside until lukewarm.
6. Place 1.5 pounds of the powdered sugar in the bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the melted gelatin mixture into the well and stir with a wooden spoon that is greased with shortening.
7. Once it is combined, start kneading it with your hands. Transfer the dough to a work surface that is also greased with shortening. Knead until smooth. Add the remaining powdered sugar little at a time, until stickiness disappears. Continuously knead until the fondant is smooth, pliable and does not stick to your hands. Ensure that all of the sugar is properly incorporated.
8. If the fondant is too soft, you can add more powdered sugar, but if too stiff, add water (a drop at a time). Use fondant immediately or you can wrap it plastic cling wrap or plastic zipper bags. Store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Do not freeze. When ready to use, knead again until soft.
Additional things to remember:
a. Since I manually mix and knead the fondant, I place the powdered sugar in a plastic or glass bowl for easy mixing with the lukewarm gelatin mixture. Then, I knead it with my hands. You can also use a stand up mixer using either the paddle or the bread attachment. But always finish kneading it by hand because it is the only way to make it smooth.
b. There are some cases that after kneading the fondant is still stiff, but very sticky. That’s normal. Simply wrap it tightly in cling-wrap and it is always best to let the sugar dough rest for a few hours or even overnight before using it.
c. When you are about to use the fondant, you can unwrap it and knead it. If it becomes too stiff to handle, try nuking it in the microwave just for a few seconds to make it soft. You can also knead in a bit of shortening.
d. When ready to roll the fondant. Dust the work surface with a bit of cornstarch or powdered sugar so that the fondant won’t stick. You can also use shortening to grease the work surface and my hands. And always cover it in plastic wrap or zipper bag so it won’t dry out.
e. To color the fondant, you can either knead the color in or add the color with the liquid. The latter method is best if you are using large quantities of the same color. It is also easier to get a dark color such as black with this method.
f. Unused fondant can be wrapped tightly in cling-wrap and stored at room temperature for several weeks. Knead well before using.
So, there’s goes the easy way to make your own homemade fondant. Just try it yourself and keep practicing. You will surely get better on it and you can save up a lot on your pocket. Plus your cakes will absolutely look gorgeous and pretty delicious. Be a master of your own cake design!
Here’s a sample figurine I made from this fondant recipe:
RIAH – the HAPPY BAker