I am a self taught baker but pretty experienced and planning to start up a small business in the coming months. I have been experimenting recently with some new designs but am getting really frustrated by my icing/fondant. Watching TV shows based in the US, I have seen decorators shapes/rectangles out of fondant, pick it up (pretty roughly) and put it around the side of the cakes. Same can be said for strips of fondant for candy striped cakes. The fondant doesn't look any thicker but doesn't tear, flop or distort - it looks like it's the texture of rubber almost! I'm based in the UK and tend to use Dr.Oetker or Regal Ice Icing but have never been able to achieve the same thing, the icing I get is very floppy and stretches/distorts with the slightest movement. It takes me ages to re-align everything on the cake to make it a straight line again which takes them seconds on the shows. The only way I can firm it up a bit is mixing it with flower paste but then it sets too hard and doesn't taste too great either. I don't know if this is a product difference between UK/US fondant brands but there must be a way of achieving the same thing in the UK.
If anyone can give me any tips I'd be really really grateful. I'm doing a suitcase wedding cake soon which will have lots of 'straps' on it and at this rate, it will take me hours just to make them stay straight and even-widths!
Many thanks :-)
If I need fondant to hold it's shape for stripes/shapes/etters, I knead in some tylose powder and after cutting it out let it firm up a bit (5-10) before transferring.
I just read on another thread that Asda own brand is firmer/easier to use than Dr O's Regal Ice. I haven't tried Asda's myself yet. Good luck
Have you tried making MMF? Mine is always a lot stiffer than store bought fondant.
Hi all, thanks for your comments so far. No, I've never tried making marshmallow fondant (I'm guessing that's the MMF!?). I've tended to buy shop bought plain fondant for convenience and speed. I have seen a few recipes for it but they always seem to vary and I have never gotten around to experimenting - do you have a recipe that you could share which is reliable? I've read quite a few stories of it going disasterously wrong! Marshmallows always seem to be pretty expensive so I've not really seen the cost benefit but I imagine that it tastes better than the plain stuff so would certainly be worth a try - you can buy pre-made marshmallow flavoured icing/fondant here but you need specialist shops and it's normally obscenely expensive so I've never tried it. Thanks again x
I've never used the brands you are talking about, but a common mistake people that are new to fondant do is kneed kneed kneed to make it really soft, pliable and easy to roll. But then you go to put it on a cake and it's too soft!
I hardly kneed my fondant and try to handle it as little as possible. It's stiff to roll but it goes on much better.
You could just make the MMF for your accents, and stick with the other stuff for covering.
I use a 10oz bag of marshmallows, costs around $1.25 here, melt in the microwave with 1tbsp of water (in 30 second increments), I usually add 4 oz of candy melts if I need a color. Once the marshmallows are fully liquid I dump them out onto a pile of powdered sugar, and fold in the sugar around the edges until its solid enough to not be sticky anymore then just knead more sugar in until its fondant like.
It can take 1lb of PS, it can take 2 or more. It's never the same amount. I use shortening to grease the Pyrex jug I melt the marshmallows in, the counter, my hands and any utensils I use to mix with. I add color before the sugar stage, and once it's done I cover it in a thin layer of shortening and leave to rest overnight in a ziplock bag.
You could also try just kneading a bit more PS into your store bought fondant. That might work. Here fondant is really expensive to buy, so it's more cost effective to make your own if you only use a little.
I live in the UK too! When I first started making cakes I used shop brands of fondant as well but I found them difficult to work with, I thought that I was just a terrible cake decorater! But then I tried some other brands like renshaws and found that it was a lot easier! But, now the fondant that most a
American tv shows use has recently come out in the UK!! ( satin ice) I looked it up online and found a few places that sold it and ordered it. It is amazing!! I recommend using satin ice if you're trying to have the same look as the people on tv, it's what they use!!
Fondant, or sugarpaste as we know it in the UK is only suitable for covering cakes, not making delicate decorations.
For decorations there are two main options, modelling paste or flowerpaste. Modelling paste is good for making models and simple shapes, it can't be rolled paper-thin (that's what the flowerpaste is for) but can be rolled to around 1mm or slightly less with practice. You can either buy ready-made modelling paste or make your own - it's not difficult to make your own though - take 250g sugarpaste and add EITHER 1 tsp gum tragacanth OR 1/2 tsp tylo/cmc - not both. The tylo/cmc is a synthetic version of the gum trag and just needs less to give the same effect. If you use gum tragacanth you need to let the paste rest overnight for the gum to activate before using, the tylo/cmc version can be used straight away.
If you are wanting to make fine decorations such as sugar flowers, you need flowerpaste - again it can bought ready made or you can make your own. The home-made version is a lot more complex to make so if you're just starting out it would probably be easier to buy - Squires Kitchen and A Piece of Cake are two quite popular brands - personally I can't get on with A Piece of Cake -it's far too sticky and stretchy for me so I would recommend the Squires Kitchen with is lovely to work with but the finished pieces are brittle and break easily.
If you'd like to try making your own flowerpaste let me know and I can share my recipe :)
Thank you all for your comments, looking forward to trying out all the different options and seeing how they fare.
@ Cakes and stuff - reading your comment really made me laugh ;-) How did you/your British cake eaters like the satin ice? I saw it at Cake International and was really impressed by how flexible it was (you could roll it super thin for doing drapes and wouldn't crack for instance) but I have been reading that a lot of people didn't like the taste? Personally, I thought it was quite nice, but that's just me! I'm a bit concerned about changing to it and people complain it doesn't taste right.
@ Suzannem5 - yes please! If you would share your flower paste recipe, I'd be very grateful! I tend to use the Squires kitchen most of the time but as you say it is like china when dry. My local sugar craft shop makes it's own but it's virtually impossible to roll out (you roll it and it springs back!). If there is another option, I'd be willing to give it a go.
Off to the wholesaler to find marshmallows for the marshmallow fondant experiment now...
Well all of the people I have tried satin ice on love it, and so do I!! ( I especially love the smell for some reason!) you can roll it a lot thinner which definitely helps with the people who don't like fondant, like my family who absolutely hated fondant when I first started, but now they love it!!
Awesome, well I'll definitely give it a go...It will be nice to make drapes without it constantly tearing! Can I ask where you source yours from? I always tend to use a Nottingham based company for supplies but they aren't stocking it yet. :-)
I always usually use The Craft Company but they only sell small pails of satin ice, to get a bigger pail I use Cake Stuff!