I had the fun of experimenting with fondant for the first time the other day. I had planned on making an NRL themed cake for a friend and was planning on buying the canned fondant stuff (the Orchard brand) for Coles to make that part of the plan a bit easier on myself. Somehow I ended up at a shopping centre with no Coles and only a Woolworths and for some odd reason, Woolies does not stock any kind of fondant or similar. I ended up making a panicky phone call to a friend to ask her to google how to make marshmallow fondant (which I had previously read about as being quite easy to make). Apparently it consisted of only marshmallows and icing sugar – pretty easy right? So I stocked up on marshmallows, sugar and food colouring and went home with, well, the best of intentions.
Ok, so the end result was pretty good. It tasted great, coloured well and gave a fairly smooth finish.
The problem was getting there. I melted the marshmallows, as per The Internet had informed me, stirred in blue dye, added the due amount of icing sugar and mixed. And mixed. And mixed. It was still waaay too sticky. At this point, The Instructions had said, it should be too difficult to mix and should seem somewhat like a sugary dough. My mixture was still goopy.
I added half a cup of icing sugar. Made no difference. Abandoning all hope of being neat, orderly and properly measured about this, I threw the rest of the icing sugar from the whole bag into the bowl. It was hard to mix. That should do it, I thought, pleased. The instructions told me to put the mix onto a flat surface and knead with icing sugar until smooth and no longer sticky, like bread dough. Sadly, since I was doing this at my boyfriend’s house and I do not trust any surfaces to be hygenic enough to actually lay food on, I had to do this all on a small, freaking chopping board.
“Ok, I can do this”, I thought.
I dusted the ‘dough’ with extra icing sugar, ditto my hands.
Idiotically, I dove in with both hands. and attempted to knead it.
I came away with two covered in blue goop hands. It was very hard to wash off.
I sighed and added another half a cup of icing sugar. Still not much success. Finally, I broke off small pieces of the marshmallow fondant and kneaded them separately with icing sugar until I finally reached a desired consistency.
By this time, both I, the kitchen stove and all the heating elements, the floor and the bench were all heavily dusted with the dust that is powdered sugar. There was probably some sweat and a vague sense of failure mixed in with that too.
Did I feel like giving up sometimes? Yes.. But there was no way I was wasting the cake topper and miniature Bulldogs figurine I had bought from littledancedecorations.com and I was going to finish this damned cake, even if it killed me!
Finally, I got to the stage of rolling out the fondant to cover the cake. First batch stuck hideously to the chopping board (which I had lined with baking paper to try and avoid this, surprise, surprise – it did not work), so I threw out that piece of paper and tried again. This time with a slightly more insane amount of icing sugar on top of the paper. This batch rolled out with slightly more success. Finally! Using a rolling pin (just like they do on TV!) i laid the fondant over the cake. There were a few cracks (unavoidable.. sadly also unfixable, sadly) leaking chocolate icing, waay too much fondant on one side of the cake and a bit less on the other, bit ruffly bits and yes, the cake layers were tilting (this is what happens when you don’t have even layers and runny icing.) But it was finally ON the cake. In a vague attempt to disguise all of the well.. let’s call them ‘character flaws’, I added balls of fondant around the base of the cake, stars around the sides and ‘grass’ (flaked coconut dyed green) to make the cake look like a football field. In an attempt to keep the sliding cake layers straight, I added goal posts (made of wooden skewers and tape… lol). In the end, it looked okay. Not great… but ok. I wasn’t really 100% happy with it, but hey, it was my first attempt with fondantt. I can’t pretend I’m like all the other baking blog geniuses who make works of art from day one (much as I’d like to be!)
Disaster? Possibly. Do I need more practice? Absolutely. Do I still love it, despite the constant setbacks? Of course! Bring it on, baby! Here’s to not being so disasterfull in the future 🙂
Pics to come 🙂