I know this is a much debated topic, but I can't find a good thread on this that stays on the specific topic I need adhered to in order to find a solid answer.
I would like to refrigerate my cakes. I live in Arizona and just like the idea of my cakes being cooled to the core before delivery, without having to worry about last minute temperature change warping. When I used to refrigerate, I didn't get many, if any, bubbles under my fondant, now I get them all the time.
Anyway... let's not focus on those reasons, please, let's focus on an answer to the main question! What I want to know is, can I refrigerate my cakes, if so, what will the effect be on the fondant, and what will happen when it eventually comes to room temp at the event? I use Rhonda's marshmallow fondant, and sugarshack's buttercream (no-butter). Ok, shoot!
In Arizona you may not have a problem with refrigerated fondant. The basic problem with it is the condensation that forms on the fondant as it comes to room temp. This is a terrible problem for me in humid Cancún, but I used to live in Mexico City, which is very dry, and it wasn't a problem at all.
Somewhere though I seem to remember reading something about how marshmallow fondant was a particularly bad one to refrigerate? Am I just going nuts?
I don't know why that would be the case, SRumzis. All fondant is made from the same basic ingredients that marshmallows use. Why would one be worse than another? Or is it something in the marshmallow-making process itself that makes marshmallow fondant more vulnerable?
I don't think any one fondant is worse than another. The issue is humidity and condensation, period. If you can keep the cake covered until it comes to room temp (or closer too) it, you won't have as much trouble as if you just pull it out of the fridge.
All fondant eventually dries so even if it is a bit sticky after coming out of the fridge, it won't stay that way. I prefer to deliver cold cakes because they transport better. But I don't cover mine in fondant...however most have a lot of gum paste or fondant decor and it has not caused me a problem.
I use all butter buttercream so my cakes need to stay in the refrigerator until delivery time anyway. I usually decorate the night before a delivery and keep refrigerated until just before I leave. The cake is delivered an hour before an event and most are out for several hours before being cut so it has time to slowly come to room temp. As long as you don't touch any fondant that's sticky, it should be fine. If it bubbles, just prick the bubble with a pin and it should smooth out on its own. If I hadn't seen this technique work with my own eyes I wouldn't have believed it. Doesn't happen immediately, but it does happen.
A cold cake in a dry environment won't sweat because there's no water in the air to be condensed when the air contacts the cold surface.
So, if it's a warm, rainy day when the cold cake is set out, it'll sweat. If it's a hot, dry day, it'll be fine.
Oh, and an all butter buttercream doesn't necessarily need refrigeration. If it's a powdered sugar based buttercream without a lot of water added to it, it's fine without refrigeration. I make an American Buttercream using all butter, PS, and heavy whipping cream and it's shelf stable for days.
I live in Utah. I have refrigerated a fondant covered cake, it got a little bit sticky as it came to room temp but it dried out before it was cut. The cake was all white. If you have any colors on it I would be careful. Even though you live in Arizona the colors could still bleed a little.