August 31, 2011

How to Make Fondant

Making fondant is quite the process and not one that can be done when in a hurry. It takes a precise measurement of ingredients and then the whole kitchen gets covered in white as you attempt to knead in fluffy powdered sugar. My dog Emma goes crazy over the festival of sugar falling into her reach on the floor. While my floor may stay clean with her help, I end up with a Jack Russell covered in sugar and on a sugar high! What a mess!

Fondant is an animal that takes a bit of time and experience to understand. You have to know when more sugar needs to be added or when you added to much. It takes a little practice to get it right. Kneading fondant always reminds me of God's word in my life. It must be worked in and meditated on so that I will understand and live it. 

Joshua 1:8 (ESV2001) says, 'This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all this is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.' Just like I need good fondant to be successful, and that takes time to make, I need God's word in my life so I can live according to his ways and be successful in all that I do. Without God I have nothing and am nothing but a lost soul. 

A cake with fondant that has not been properly kneaded is nothing but a big mess and so is my life without time focusing on God's word. 

Meditating on Him,


Making Fondant

Good fondant takes time to make and is best made by hand. You can use a stand mixer up to the point of kneading the remaining sugar into the fondant if you choose to use one. I have tried to use my heavy duty stand mixer several times and find that it is faster to do the whole process by hand and the fondant turns out best.

To begin you will need the following supplies: powdered sugar (at least 2 lbs, more for humid environments), unflavored gelatin, light corn syrup, clear vanilla extract (or another flavor of your preference) and glycerine.

Kitchen tools needed to properly mix your fondant include a spatula, tablespoon, measuring cup, sifter, two large glass bowls and a large saucepan to boil water in (not pictured here).

First, add water into large glass bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Set aside until gelatin solidifies (about 3 minutes).

While gelatin sits, boil water over medium heat in large saucepan. Sift one and a half pounds of powdered sugar into the second glass bowl. Set aside.

Once water is boiling and gelatin has solidified, place large bowl containing gelatin on saucepan and allow gelatin to melt. This takes less than two minutes.

Turn off heat and stir in corn syrup, clear vanilla extract and glycerine. Stir until all ingredients are combined.

Remove bowl from saucepan and wipe off bottom carefully with a kitchen towel to prevent water from dripping into bowl with powdered sugar.

Make a well in the center of the powdered sugar and pour in wet ingredients. 

 Starting from the center of the bowl, gradually stir in powdered sugar into liquid a little at a time until all the powdered sugar is incorporated. Fondant will still be very loose at this point.

 Sift remaining half pound of powdered sugar onto countertop. Pour fondant from bowl on  top of sifted sugar.

 Begin to knead remaining powdered sugar into fondant. Be sure to gather as much sugar around loose fondant as possible when beginning to knead. This will prevent fondant from sticking to your hands. When fondant is done, fingers should be easily released from fondant when pressed in. Humid environments require more sugar.

Roll fondant into a short log and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. You may coat the fondant in a thin layer of shortening before wrapping it in plastic wrap. This will prevent the fondant from sticking to the plastic. Store in airtight container (I prefer a gallon plastic storage bag). Allow to sit at in a cool area for at least 24 hours before using. Can store at room temperature for up to a month or in the freezer for up to a year when wrapped well in plastic wrap and in a freezer bag. 

 For written instructions without photos, visit the recipes page.

August 24, 2011

Conquering Fondant

Fondant is a great material to work with. Similar to clay, it allows for a decorator's creativity to run wild and create it into anything imaginable! However, for all it's great qualities it has one downfall; for those picking it up for the first time, this is one beast that seems impossible to conquer. What is a girl to do?!

As I was pulling items from my cupboards to present to you as essential tools, I started to think back to how I started using each of these: trial and error! I remember the first time I used fondant to make my sushi cake (can be viewed under cake gallery). Sure it turned out good, but you weren't here to witness the battle that waged war on my house and my spirit! It has taken months and many tests to find the best fondant recipe and to figure out how to work with this mysterious substance. 

Looking at the tools spread out on my counter reminds me of the battle that wages around us, the one we cannot see. Just like I need the proper tools to win against my fondant, I need to also be properly armored to win the spiritual battle that attempts to overcome me. I need the whole armor of God for this one!

Turn to Ephesians 6:10-18 and you will see what I'm talking about. Our dear friend Paul speaks to us here regarding an invisible armor that must be put on daily. Forget to put on one part of it and you could be facing trouble that day. Like tools for fondant, each of the pieces of armor is there for a reason; to allow us to defeat and stand firm against our enemy. The belt of truth (God's word), the breastplate of righteousness (our protection against evil as we walk the right path God has for us), shoes for readiness obtained from the gospel of peace (supports us as we stand in full knowledge of what Jesus did for us), the shield of faith (our faith in Christ), helmet of salvation (available only through Christ) and the sword of the Spirit (the Spirit of God, a gift to us providing help through daily life in any struggle we face). And last, never forgetting to be in daily prayer. You have a dad in heaven waiting to hear from you. He listens because He loves and wants desperately to come to our every aid, whether it's because we need help with our silly fondant that doesn't want to cooperate or our whole life seems to be crumbling around us. 

It's a battle out there and we need to be properly equipped. Grab your armor and get ready to win the war!

Loaded in armor,


Essential Tools (Weapons) for Fondant

1. A good fondant recipe or store-bought fondant. If this is your first time working with fondant, I recommend purchasing fondant from the store rather than making it yourself. Fondant is a tricky creature and it takes knowing what the consistency is supposed to be to make it correctly. Working with a store-bought fondant for your first experience will help you have success when you do go to make it yourself. Don't set yourself up for failure if you don't have to! If you are ready to try making fondant yourself, click here to go to my recipes page find the recipe I use for fondant.

2. Plastic wrap. Fondant dries out quickly. Always keep it covered when not working with it. Air is it's enemy! You want your fondant to dry on the cake, not on the counter waiting to be rolled out.

3. Gallon storage bag. Use to store fondant wrapped in plastic wrap when not decorating a cake. Fondant is good for about one month if stored properly at room temperature. Be sure to get as much air out of the bag as possible and store fondant in a cool place.

4. Powdered Sugar. Put in a shaker and use to dust your work surface. I prefer using powdered sugar on my work surface over corn starch, though either works well.
 5. Corn starch. Place in a dusting pouch and use to dust surface for rolling out fondant. Works the same as powdered sugar preventing fondant from sticking to the work surface. I have found it harder to reuse scraps of fondant with corn starch on it. The starch seems to dry out the fondant too much where the powdered sugar does not. Test each option out and see what works best in your kitchen!

6. Vegetable shortening. My life saver! Great for bringing slightly dry fondant back to life and a personal favorite for rolling out small amounts of fondant (I still use powdered sugar when rolling out a large amount of fondant for covering a cake). Great option for black or other darker colored fondant as it leaves no white behind. The sheen will disappear as the fondant dries on the cake.

7. Rubber gloves. Unless you don't mind having multi-colored hands when dying fondant, these are essential. Use a small amount of shortening to prevent fondant from sticking to the gloves. 

8. Toothpicks. Depending on the brand of food coloring, you may need toothpicks to transfer the coloring to your fondant.

9. Food coloring. When coloring fondant, pastes are simply the best, especially when wanting a darker color such as black or brown. Pastes are thicker and more concentrated than gels allowing a dark color to be obtained without creating a sticky glob of fondant and using an entire bottle of gel coloring. Americolor gels are also great for coloring fondant. I use gels for coloring fondant lighter colors. Americolor has great vibrant colors and you can't beat the ease of their squeeze bottles!

10. Bench scraper. Use to separate a large amount of fondant into smaller amounts to work with or color. Also great for cleaning off your work surface.

11. Plastic rolling pin. Made especially for fondant, these area must. I tried using a wooden rolling pin and found I was constantly pealing chunks of fondant off it or to prevent that, constantly dusting it with powdered sugar. There is no dusting needed with these plastic pins! Dust your work surface and roll out fondant with no sticking. I have the large and small size pins and use both regularly.

12. Pizza cutter. Once your cake is covered in fondant, the edges will need to be trimmed around the bottom of the cake. A knife will pull your fondant and give a choppy look, but a pizza cutter glides easily around the bottom your cake leaving nothing but clean lines.

13. Fondant paddle. Made for smoothing fondant on your cake. Hands can work well, but are not an even surface. This tool allows you to evenly apply pressure around your cake to achieve a smooth, even surface.