September 5, 2007

Fondant @ Sugarpaste

From as far back as I can remember; I've received emails from blog readers asking questions about fondant. I've typed numerous personalized emails for at least a year now; just answering queries about this type of icing I like to use.
Well...guys..here's the deal; I'll write up a fat post on fondant; what it is...how to use it...how to store it...equipment for it...what it tastes like..and drop in a couple of answers for frequently asked questions as well. That way...you won't need to wait months for my reply *giggle* I apologize *shameful grin*... and I won't have to repeat myself a gazillion times.
If there are questions you have about fondant which I could not answer in this lengthy post...it's probably because I can't. Simply because I don't know how...or it could be a secret I choose not to disclose *evil grin* Haha...the worst thing I could try to do is act like an expert; when I'm not even close to being experienced.
*Last note;
It'll be nice if everyone could keep in mind that it actually takes me more than a couple of days to sculpt...ice and fix on details on just a single cake. I can't exactly be giving everyone a detailed step by step guide to help every person who sends me an email about replicating a cake I have done. I know most people expect me to be helpful when they intend to give sculpting a go at home on their own... but I am afterall running a business selling my cakes..and my ideas are original, it wouldn't exactly be very professional of me to be distributing step by step guides to all my cakes... I bet you guys understand don't you?
Plus...I wanna save that for the book I might publish in future *wink* ;)


That being said... here goes...

What is fondant : *CLICK LINK*I generally buy my fondant premade from Orchard icing( In Australia). However; it is also available from International brands such as Wilton. Colours such as black; red and dark green are hard to do at home on your own..and can be bought from sugar manufacturers. Painting them after you shape them would be a good idea to get bolder colour shades as well. If you do choose to make some at home on your own...here's a recipe. It can be flavoured however you like...with vanilla; almond or even banana essence!

Fondant Recipe:

(makes approximately 1kg)
5tsp gelatine
125ml liquid glucose( you can get this from any baking store)
1 tbsp glycerine
1kg icing sugar

Sprinkle gelatine over 3 tbsps of warm water in a small bowl. Add in glucouse and glycerine and stir till melted. Leave to cool for a few minutes.
Sift icing sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in gelatine mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon till combined. Use a dry hand to knead ball of icing on a flat surface dusted with icig sugar. Knead for 15-20 minutes till pliable; adding more sugar as necessary to prevent sticking. Wrap in cling film and store in an airtight container in a cool dry place (not the refrigerator)
+ add in 3-4 tsps of gum tragacanth if you intend to shape and model the fondant into creatures.
What is gum tragacanth?
CLICK LINK*
...yes this gum in form of a fine powder is edible ;) hehe.
What is flowerpaste?: Is a modelling paste (gum paste) used specifically for modelling flowers as it is more elastic and dries faster+stiffer. It contains gum tragacanth. and I still have no idea how to verbally pronounce that correctly *laughs*
Keep all types of paste covered with plastic wrap when you aren't using it at all times to prevent it from drying out and forming cracks.

The basic idea is; take this paste...add in your favourite drops of colouring and knead till you achieve the shade you want.
I use gel colours from Wilton...and powdered food colouring is good to. However I do not suggest the liquid food colourings you get at the supermarket unless you're going for real light shades of pastel. Tiny creatures can also be handpainted with a brush after you're done modelling and drying them.

Tools:
There are 2 things I can't do sugarcrafting without. A bamboo skewer and cling wrap. These are probably the 2 most important utensils I have. *laughs*I have a whole set of plastic tools to shape; poke and make ridges...I don't use them as often though. I prefer rounded corners of my fingers and tiny detailed work done with a sharp skewer. I love the little rolling pins they have for sugar work too... It's unnecessary though, a small flat cup would work the same :P
These tools also come in metal and glass if I'm not mistaken. The rounded ball end ones are good for smoothing out small surfaces and making indents.
COokie cutters! sugar crafters often have many small petal cutters..etc...however they cost a fortune! and considering how I've just started about a year ago; my collection isn't much to boast ...yet ;). I still use a small blade to cut shapes I need. Larger shapes for animals..maybe letters and numbers can be done with cookie cutters you have lying around your kitchen. Dust them with icing sugar lightly before using them.

Covering cakes:
Here's the basic idea. Smooth the cake surface...baste generously with a liquid to moisten the edges. (You can use alcohol; juice; water; milk; sugar syrup..etc..etc..)
Roll out your coloured sugar paste and drape it over the cake. Smoothen with the palm of your hands dusted with sugar. Cut off the excess at the bottom.
For beginners; I'd suggest a thick 0.8-1 cm of paste as smooth surfaces can get a little tricky. As you improve...try thinning down the icing to make the cake more palatable.

Making creatures:
I made a step-by-step guide to making a teddy...
But seriously....be creative.. play around with it...creating your own personalized creatures are much more fun and inventive!


Why make Su's silly little teddy! How uninteresting! *pfft* :P hehe

Storing completed cakes:
Not in the refrigerator...if you live in a humid country near the equator...it'll have to be in an air conditioned room. I'd suggest from 20-25 degrees. Covered cakes keep fresh in this temperature for about 2-3 days. Some cakes tastes better overnight *hint hint*...so be flexible with the type of cake you intend to frost.

What does fondant taste like?:
Like sugar..a big clump of chewy sugar... I've had many come to me complaining about the sugar paste recipe they have at home not tasting nice.. Well to be honest with you. A whole chunk of sugar isn't supposed to. It has to be eaten with a cake. In moderation. The cake has to accentuate the icing layer..and vice versa. I've never had problems with the cakes I've sold..and those who dislike sugarpaste to the upmost can just conveniently peel the layer of icing off. No dramas.
*tip: fondant can be flavoured with liquid essences.
I've also made MMF (marshmallow fondant) in the past. And it definitely tastes a whole lot better than regular sugarpaste. You can do some research on MMF if you like.

Okay...now for the final important bit...

Where are the speciality baking shops in my area?
Where do I buy these cake decorating ingredients..tools...cake boards...cake boxes..etc?

SYDNEY:
Iced affair (camperdown)
Plenty; Bondi Junction Westfield (Wilton representative) - level 5 new block
Planet cake (Balmain)

MALAYSIA SINGAPORE

Helpful Links Online:

WILTON www.wilton.com
CAKE CENTRAL www.cakecentral.com
Tried E-bay? *shrug* I've not bought anything online recently.. but it's always good to check that out if you're struggling to find a supplier in your area.

Thats's it guys~...I hope I havn't gotten anyone upset from the late emails...
I try really hard to keep up with everything thats happening around me. It's hard to still enjoy cooking and blogging when you're pressured into doing things you don't have time for. I'm glad I still make en effort to post my cookings and ramblings despite not having much time to spend in the kitchen anymore.
Good luck with the fondant!

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Su Yin
Thanks for the info, and thanks for sharing. I was struggling before, where to look / buy some baking stuff, and now I know where to find them. I never knew that Wilton has a store in Bondi Junction. Can you be more specific, like the shop name / which level and so on.

I went to Canberra last year and found this small shop that sells loads of pretty stuff ie papercups, but I havent seen anything similar in Sydney. There's one shop in Neutral Bay ( www.mylittlecupcake.com.au ) that sells cupcakes and a bit of cakestands, but not may choices.

Thank You once again.

- marini -

Anonymous said...

Hi Su-Yin,
Thanks for the good explantion.
In fact im a beginner so can i confirm that using:
1)Premade Fondant
2)Gum paste
3)Gel colour/powdered food colouring
4)Tool

are all i need for a start?

Thanks.
Angie,
:)

Katherine said...

this is really a very informative entry! awww you are really a very sweet and generous baker! guess many amature bakers like me are going benefit alot from it. i'm sure gonna try out the fondant recipe next time and then i'll get you again for comments! hee hee thanks babe! =)

maybahay said...

wow, i just discovered your blog today and i am blown away by your generosity with the info. although i cook heaps, i am a novice baker but would like to take on bigger challenges (ie, my son's christening cake). i'll be visiting your blog quite often for info and inspiration. you've made very beatiful cakes. thanks heaps.

Mrs. Nicklebee said...

You do beautiful work! LOVE your blog!

Linda said...

Hi Su Yin,

Your blog inspires me to bake *lol* I plan to start baking soon.

That's what I love about you, your ideas are original and creatives. And your cakes always amaze me.

Lisa said...

I googled Pelmeny and found your blog; now it's on my bookmark bar and I enjoy checking out your latest creations!
(from Ohio USA)

daphne said...

I wish there is something similar in Perth, WA!

your sugarcraft is great! btw, i made poached eggs the other weekend. it turned out terrific!

Zara's Mama said...

Thank you so much..

It's hard work huh? Too bad you are not selling in Malaysia or I would be buying from you. Should you ever publish a book or start a cup cake business in Malaysia.. let me know ya?

Piggy said...

Hi Su Yin,

Love your creations with fondant. Thanks for the detailed explanation on this topic!

Su-Yin -D├ęcorateur said...

marini: I updated the post with the shop name :)

angie: yeap ..that would be it :)

katherine: you're very welcome :P

maybahay: wow thanks :) ..i hope they help with your baking. Thanks for you kind words on my work.Hope to be hearing from you more often.

mrs nicklebee: tHANK thanks! *hughug*

linda: thanks dear..thats real sweet..I'm so happy I inspire others to experiment in the kitchen too!

linda: wow! pelmenie~ hhaha..I hope you've tried other recipes out too!

daphne: Its so nice to hear feedback from those who have given my recipes a go :) I'm glad it worked out for you. Yummy huh? haha i love eggs too!

zara'a mama: I will! I will! haha middle of next year :) wait for it. I'll be the next best thing ;) *grin*

piggy: I'm glad you find it helpful :)

Linda said...

What will happen middle of next year? Publish a book or start cake business in Malaysia? Nooo, don't go back to Malaysia.

I've been reading your blog for quite sometime. But I just found out today that you are studying Construction Management and Property. Oh dear, I always thought you study Food Science. Dunno where I got that idea from hehe.

Anonymous said...

Hi Su Yin,
I got to know your site throught Amanda! i was blown away by the amazing food you make. I might be throwing a party for a friends 21st in a weeks time. I was wondering if you cater small parties? max of 20ppl.
If you can let me know.

Regards Tj
tharinduj@hotmail.com

wen said...

thks so much for the info as i am pretty new in baking. oh, u are a lovely and pretty decorator too!!!
will def add ur blog to my fav.

Eric said...

Good to find someone like my wife, she love create cakes.

My wife's web site is
http://www.extravagantdesigns.com

sarahhhh! said...

su yin
i love your cake ideas and its a pretty huge inspirtation for a 14 year old (me)

i visited bondi junction to see if the "plenty" shop sold fondant but i forgot the name so i wasnt able to visit the shop

can you confirm that they sell fondant in the "plenty" shop.
if they dont, could you suggest places where i could buy it around that area or inner west.
i really need to know as mothers day is coming up!
thanks
xxxxxx

Isabel said...

I love your work.
isaba

Bethany said...

Thanks for the info, Su! I'm thinking about making a cake with fondant, and your tips make me a little less scared to try. Thanks, and happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Dear Su,

i just discovered your blog, and I have to say I love your work. I think you are very talented and generous. Thanks for all the information you share. Good luck with Delectables, I think it's a lovely shop..to bad I am in America, I would love to visit it and try some of the goodies.

Anna Cabo, Miami FL