Hi, all. This is my first post on this site (tho I have been using all of your great ideas and experience as a learning tool for months) and I am just starting to practice making cakes and decorating them with fondant.
I made my first batch of mmf last night, came out OK. Made a huge mess and probably should have used more powdered sugar to start as it was extremely sticky once I tried to work it with my hands. I simply used marshmallows and sugar. I did see a recipe later that added vanilla extract. Is this for flavor only or does it serve some purpose? Anyone have any other suggestions for mmf? Should I roll it out thicker than reg fondant? Seems like it's a big more stretchy and I wouldn't want it to keep stretching once on the cake leaving tears.
I also made 2 cakes (8" round/10" round) which cracked in the oven. I am pretty sure I overbeat the mix. I had no idea that was a bad thing till I searched the internet later for help. I am also going to try cooking longer at a lower temp. Any other suggestions for baking a good cake from a box? I've made boxed cakes before and never had it come out quite like this before. It was a white cake with egg whites only, could this cause dryness, or cracking?
Another issue I had was the edges got...dry and a bit crusty? When I used my leveler and it came out the other side it basically took edges of the cake with it, if that makes sense.
Last question for now, what can I do to prevent the doming of the cake? I have heard about cake strips and flower nails but I didn't think I would need either of them on cakes this size.
Thanks for all your help and hope this wasn't too long.
Welcome to Cake Central! I don't know the answers to your questions but didn't want you to feel ignored. I find a lot of answers to my questions by reading the forums and trial and error. Happy Cake Decorating
Welcome! I'll answer what I can!
1) My mmf recipe is marshmallows, powdered sugar, 1 T water, 1 T vanilla extract. The vanilla does flavor it but also, with the water, adds more liquid so you can use a touch more powdered sugar. I grease the bowl before I put in the marshmallows and also grease my hands like crazy! I roll mine out just like store-bought fondant!
2) I don't use a straight box mix so, sorry, no help there! I do bake at 300 for the first half and then kick it up to 325 for the second half. If it domes at all, just press it down straight from the oven with a clean, dry cloth. That also makes the cake more dense so you can stack it.
3) If the oven temp doesn't help with the "crustiness", you can collar your pan with parchment paper (tutorial here on CC) so no batter rises over the top of the pan (that's the only time mine will get crusty).
As a fellow newbie I totally feel your pain. I was there myself just a month ago. I have realized through much trial and error that making your own cake from scratch works best and cooks much better. Don't know why but it just does!
Now if you want to use boxed cakes a friend gave me a little tip to add a little Meringue Powder (found at any crafts/baking supply store like Michaels or Joanns) about a teaspoon and it will help stiffen the cake without drying it out. This will help when you are prepping it for crumb coating and icing. I find that boxed cakes are a little too moist for fondant cakes. Also, I always baked them at 325 instead of the 350 most boxes recommend. Always making sure to check it with a toothpick to make sure it is cooked all the way through.
Don't forget to let the cake sit in the pan till it's cooled. It is the most important part because if it's still too warm there is a chance that it will fall apart on you I usually leave mine in the pan cooling for 30 mins while I prep other things. Once cooled I wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and throw them in the fridge for a few hours to harder. Then I take them out, level them, layer them, crumb coat and cool for another hour (freeze for 15 to 20 if in a rush). Now I do my final icing coat and cool overnight. The following day I cover with the fondant.
Hope this was thorough enough for you but not too long That is how I do it and yes it does take a while but I personally feel more comfortable working with a cooler cake.
Oh yes I forgot about the MMF. My recipe is...
1 2lb bag of powdered sugar SIFTED
1 16 oz bag of mini marshmallows
3 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla (optional)
I personally don't think the vanilla really adds much to the fondant and besides most people will not eat the fondant. They taste it but don't actually eat the whole thing... well unless you are serving a crowd of 5 and under LOL
Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time. I usually don't end up using the entire 2lb bag but just add as you see necessary.
I've used rhonda's Ultimate MMF recipe: http://cakecentral.com/recipes/5213/addendum-to-rhondas-ultimate-mmf/ and it worked pretty well. Make sure to let it rest before using it.
I've heard good things about these ones too:
http://cakecentral.com/recipes/7446/michele-fosters-fondant/ although the second one isn't marshmallow-based.
It may be that only using the egg white changed your end result--I think egg yolks make things richer, possibly moister?
I can say that the bake stsrips definitely make a difference with 8 and 10 inch cakes although I havne't noticed much of a difference with 6 inch cakes. Hope that helps!
Thanks for your replies.
I went ahead and made a few more cakes from box mixes that asked for eggs with yolks. No more "white" cakes using only the egg whites for me. They came out just like all the other cakes I've ever made have and I was able to easily level them and there were no cracks or hard edges. Whew
I also lowered the rack in the oven (there doesn't really seem to be an exact middle to my oven but I figured it'd be better to be a little lower than too high), cooked longer at a lower temp., and made sure to NOT over-beat my mix. I also left the cakes in the pans until they were completely cool since I don't have a rack to put them on yet and didn't need the pans right away.
Ajwonka, thanks. I will give that a try to see if I can get the doming down some by pressing it when they come out. I might also go ahead and get cake strips or make my own as I read about a lot of people using them and loving them. I also wonder though, if I am going to level them anyway does it really matter? Eh, maybe. I wouldn't be wasting as much cake and my levels could be a tad higher or it might make the cake more dense?? which seems to be a good thing when working with fondant covered cakes.
Thanks, UrsCor82, for the Meringue Powder tip. I had just noticed how moist these cakes seem and wondered if they could really hold up as well as I needed them to. I have also read about putting simple syrup on the layers of the cake to keep it moist so I figure if I stiffen them up a bit to be more sturdy I can add a few squirts of simply syrup.
I also read a great tip about fillings, as I want to incorporate that into my cakes as well. She said to use Polaner All-Fruit in the flavor of your choice, heat for 30 seconds (sans lid), and mix in a dry box of Jello mix in a coordinating flavor. It helps the filling to set (be sure to let it set-up in the fridge before setting your next layer on top) and not soak into your cake. I can't wait to try it, sounds like a great idea.