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.
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!
(makes approximately 1kg)
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?
...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.
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.
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.
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?
Iced affair (camperdown)
Plenty; Bondi Junction Westfield (Wilton representative) - level 5 new block
Planet cake (Balmain)
Helpful Links Online:
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!