Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Homemade Marshmallow Fondant

You know how I remember a wedding?  Cake.  The answer is always cake.  I won't comment on the flowers, decorations, or color scheme selected by the bride and groom because I know how much work goes in to a wedding and how much time is spent making these decisions.  Even if it's not my style, I love that it expresses their personalities and can appreciate the uniqueness of every individual wedding.  But there better be some good cake or I will judge you on a deep and personal level. 
This was our wedding cake.  And it was goooo-ood.
I've been to some weddings where I swear they served me a roughly 1/4 inch slice.  Um, no.  Or where they intricately decorated a cake with Styrofoam and had sheet cakes in the back. What? It's still just as hard to make sugar flowers for a block of foam... I don't get it.  I've also been to some weddings where the gummy fondant was rolled at least a half an inch thick and once it was peeled back, there was hardly even any cake underneath it. Icky.

However, it's hard to beat the clean, unblemished look that fondant gives a cake. When I started to make more cakes at home and trying to increase my decorating repertoire, I knew homemade
fondant was something I wanted to try.  I scoured the web and there are tons of recipes - some had crazy ingredients like glycerin and xanthan gum.  Finally, I came across a few that used good old-fashioned marshmallows and decided to go for it.  My sister-in-law had her second baby shower coming up for her husband's side of the family, and I was asked to make the cake.  It was a jungle theme, so I used the plain white fondant to cover the cake and then colored the remainder to make a few jungle related cut-outs.  I used the extra to mold a little monkey on top, and I think it worked pretty well.
The best part is, it tasted great!  I put a thin layer of peanut butter buttercream on the cake for the fondant to adhere to, and that was the main flavor that came through.  It's a little delicate and I
definitely need to practice (please don't look too hard at the pictures!), but I am looking forward to trying it again.
Marshmallow Fondant

1 bag (13.5oz) mini marshmallows
~3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons of almond or vanilla extract (use clear for a purer white result)
2 lbs powdered sugar
gel food coloring
shortening

Place the marshmallows in a large, microwave safe bowl and put the water on top.  Toss to coat.  Microwave for 30 second increments for about a minute and a half.  Stir with a spoon greased with shortening, and add the extract.  The melted marshmallows are really sticky, and the shortening will be your best friend throughout this process.  If you want your whole batch tinted a single color, add the food coloring now.  If not, wait.

Use the shortening to grease your KitchenAid Mixer bowl.  Pour about 1 lb of the powdered sugar into the greased bowl.  Make a well and add the melted marshmallow mixture.  Using your dough hook attachment, mix on low speed.  Add the remaining powdered sugar as needed until the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  It should no longer be sticky or crumbly at this point.  If it's crumbly from too much powdered sugar, add a few tsp of water until it has the proper consistency again.

Take the mixture from the bowl and grease your hands and countertop or fondant mat with the shortening (yucky but necessary).  Knead the ball until the texture looks smooth and pliable.  At this point, you can separate the dough to be colored with the gel food coloring.  If you want to be safe, cover your cake with the solid white, and then divide the leftovers into different balls to be colored.  Place a few drops of the gel food coloring and knead away until it is spread throughout to the desired shade.  Your arms should hurt after this.  If you are using right away, roll using a nonstick fondont roller and go at it.  If you are not using right away, roll the fondant tightly in plastic wrap and store room temperature for up to 3 months.




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