Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fun with Fondant

This is my first time even working with fondant and since I'm crazy, I also decided I needed to make the fondant from scratch as well. I had been talking to my friend in pastry school about all the blogs writing about different types of flavored fondants - mostly marshmallow and white chocolate. I researched recipes for white chocolate fondant and it's basically making a melted white chocolate add-in for plain rolled fondant. Instead of just buying rolled fondant, I thought I'd try to do it all from scratch and make that too. Yes, it took longer, but it wasn't necessarily difficult.
Fondant is basically a whole lot of powdered sugar that is pulled together and made pliable with gelatin, water, corn syrup and glycerin. Doesn't sound that tasty, right? That's why I wanted to try to make the white chocolate fondant. All the recipes I looked through indicated this as being very difficult to make and it wasn't easy, but I read through lots of tips and it didn't turn out too bad for my first try. I found a Food Network page with some great tips on working with fondant that I'll definitely refer to in the future.
For the rolled fondant, I used a recipe in my James Peterson "Baking" book as all the recipes I've tried from his book turn out great and it had a really handy step-by-step photo guide.
I first added the water to the gelatin and allowed it to "bloom." Then, it was dissolved over simmering water before adding in the corn syrup and glycerin. This mixture was kneaded into the 7+ cups of powdered sugar. It seemed VERY sticky at first, but I kneaded it in with even more powdered sugar and got it to come together nicely. This was wrapped in plastic, a damp towel and more plastic to let it rest.

Now for the white chocolate....

I used a recipe that I found on Martha Stewart Weddings. It called for using cocoa butter, which I didn't have on hand, so I used a little shortening to mix in with the white chocolate instead and it worked out just fine.
White chocolate was melted down with a little shortening and then stirred in with light corn syrup. That was poured into plastic wrap to stand a room temperature overnight. I kneaded the white chocolate mixture and then kneaded it in with the plain rolled fondant using some corn starch as it was sticky. It came together so nicely though and I ended up with a smooth and silken round of delicious white chocolate fondant.
It rested all day and I was able to roll it out very easy (again with a dusting of corn starch).
Now I got the cake ready. I made a small vanilla cake with two layers. To go with the white chocolate fondant, I made a white chocolate buttercream (see below for recipe) for in between the layers and the fondant to adhere to on the outside of the cake. It was a little tricky to roll out and I had to redo it a few times as part of it was a little thin when I tried to drape it on the cake. I used more corn starch to smooth the fondant on the cake over the buttercream and trimmed the bottom edge.

While I had accomplished covering the cake with fondant, I did want to decorate it in some way. This cake is for my birthday, so I went with a few fun colors and split the leftover fondant to knead in some pink and green gel food coloring. I realized that I just have "electric" Americolor, so it turned out more bright that I had wanted, so I'll have to get some more muted colors to keep in stock as well. I just went simple and got my circle cutters out and went with dots for the cake. It was pretty easy to roll out and cut and I continued to use lots of corn starch to keep it from sticking to the counter. Throughout the decorating process, I was getting quite hungry and I sustained myself by sampling the white chocolate fondant.

I made a simple royal icing to use as the "glue" for the fondant circles to stick to the cake and stick on top of each other. It wasn't perfect, but I cut a ribbon of fondant as the bottom just didn't look finished enough.
I was so happy with the way my cake turned out and the experience of working with fondant. It is time consuming, but won't deter me from doing it again. In fact, I have some extra plain rolled fondant leftover and some extra pink and green white chocolate fondant. So, I'll have to come up with some ideas of how to use that soon.
I even had pink and green candles to put in my cake and Audrey helped me blow out the candles.

"Happy Birthday to me!" I know it's not normal to make your own birthday cake, but those who know me know that I'm a bit of a control freak and in this case I was able to create the flavor and look of my cake (even if I was made fun of for doing it). Plus, I was able to conquer making fondant.

Recipe for White Chocolate Buttercream
6 oz. white chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup unsalted butter, cut in pieces (cold)
1 cup powdered sugar
Microwave the white chocolate with the whipping cream in a bowl on high for about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring half way through, until almost completely melted. Stir until completely melted. Cool to room temperature.
Beat butter and sugar gradually into cooled white chocolate mixture on high speed until light and fluffy.

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