I have been baking for many years, but haven't do so professionally. I am experienced with buttercream frosting, but a friend asked me to make a two tier cake for her birthday in fondant. I am gifting it to her. I have never used fondant before. I am going to go buy some at AC Moore today and play with it, but how hard is it to use? Can a newbie to fondant make a good looking cake? (I know about the taste issue, but she doesn't care, she wants fondant and that's that!)
Any advice you can share would be much appreciated, such as easiest to use, or make myself. I would try to make the marshmellow fondant, as I read it has a decent taste, but I also read it is harder to handle. This is the kind of info I am hoping to get - and thank you very much!!
I've only ever used marshmallow fondant. The only time I have a hard time handling it is when I don't let it rest overnight. I also roll it out on cornstarch instead of powdered sugar to help stiffen it. Here's a picture of my first fondant cake...you can see the "lumpy" appearance of the fondant and I had to cover some trouble spots with decorations. I cringe now when I see the fondant work, but it was for my little guy's first bday, not a paying customer. The key with fondant is practice, practice, practice. Watch youtube videos and practice some more. There's really no substitue when working with fondant then just good, old hands-on experience.
Getting it smooth and finishing the edges are the hardest parts of working with it. You need to figure that into your design, be able to have some decorations that can cover trouble spots until you work with it enough to not need those. It doesn't take long before you can get it really smooth and not have any bad spots (about 4 cakes for me) just practice!! :)
I use MMF and if you add some LorAnn oil flavorings like Cotton Candy, you will actually end up loving the taste of fondant. The packaged stuff is really gross and gave other fondants a bad name. There are some in tubs that taste good and are a snap to work with. You'll love it. But always remember that fondant won't cover up or disguise a lumpy cake so make your cake as smooth as possible before you start.
I don't work in fondant much, but when I do, I use MMF exclusively. I have never really had a problem handling it. I do roll it out on a large plastic mat, though - very similar to Sweet Wise's "The Mat.? That helped a lot. I'd really urge you to do a practice cake (or two) prior to diving in on the wedding cake. That'll give you a feel for handling it. And probably will increase your confidence level.
I think that it is great that you want to expand your repertoire and try out fondant! I use a high quality commercial fondant after having consistency issues with MMF. I think that if you want to try to make your own that is great...but i think that asking someone to make a product that they aren't sure of what the correct texture should be is a tricky thing. Imagine never having a perfectly flaky pie crust, yet attempting to make your own. It would probably take many many attempts to get what you *think* is right. So I am in favor of purchasing a commercial fondant and working with it after perhaps watching some You Tube videos and getting a feel for what it should look like as you roll it. You can then expand to your own MMF, or mixing MMF into the commercial fondant (i've found MMF less forgiving, so mixing it in with a commercial one helps i think).
Really, it's just a sugar paste that you roll out and work like a clay. I think that practicing covering a dummy tier or the bottom of a lightly shortening covered inverted cake pan or straight sided pot (make sure it is clean or cover it with clean plastic wrap first), then you can get the feel for picking it up and laying it down and smoothing it...before you go for it with your real cake. And yes--you must have a super smooth and straight sided cake with a firmly chilled buttercream or a firm ganache on which to apply your fondant. It will make all the difference as you get the feel for how much pressure you need to smooth the fondant onto the cake.
AFor a first time fondant user, I recommend purchasing Duffs. Most craft stores will carry Wilton & duffs. Duffs is much more forgiving & eaisier to work with. Be sure to use a coupon. It's ridiculous $20 for 2 pounds. At half price not so bad & worth the difference if Wilton.
AThank you so much! I am thinking MMF is the marshmallow fondant? I like the idea of buying ready made to learn what it should feel like. This is for a birthday cake, not wedding. I would never attempt a wedding cake yet, even in buttercream!!! Yikes!! I would have a serious nervous breakdown! I am going slow, learning before I offer to sell anything. Right now, I am comfortable selling sheet or single tier cakes, with rustic type buttercream and simple piping. I am ok with the smooth buttercream, but still need to get better before I offer that. Luckily, I live in a wilderness area that is a resort, so people love rustic! Thanks again, Nancy