Everything That Could Go Wrong Did!

Decorating By whit6 Updated 11 Sep 2009 , 8:00pm by NJCakeDiva

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whit6 Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 10:58pm
post #1 of 13

I was hired to cater and make the cake for a bridal shower. The theme for the shower was brown and pink. I had carefully budgeted my time and knew I had to finish the cake completely before I left for school (I am in culinary school and was in the class that is a running restaurant) so I could then come home that night and work on all the food.

The cakes had been caked, icing made, and the pink fondant bow and other decorations were done. All that had to be done was make the brown fondant. I hade never dyed fondant brown before but it couldnt be to hard right? I use MMF and I always add the coloring as the marshmallows are melting. I added an entire jar of brown coloring and it was nowhere near the dark brown i was going for. I had heard of people using cocoa powder along with the powdered sugar for choc. fondant so i gave it a try. It felt a litlte weird and dry but I was running out of time so I started to cover the cake. It was a nightmare! Normally i love MMF because it is so elastic and smooth, but now it was dry and cracking everyhwere. I took it off and kneaded some shortening in and tried again. It instantly dried and cracked and began falling of and took chunks of cake with it!!! I then had carve the cake down from an 8'' round to a 6'' to avoid having to rebake the entire cake. Lucky for me it was still enough servings (it was just the top tier). I had to skip my last days of class because I knew there was no way I would get the food done if I didn't hurry and finish this cake. I ended up having to start all over and the fondant.

I actually did the same as before and used a whole jar of coloring and cocoa powder but somehow it worked. I'm not sure what went wrong the first time. The whole was just terrible. I was exhausted and missed what would have ben a fun day of class. On top of it all I catered it all for practically nothing!! UGGH! icon_mad.gif

12 replies
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just_for_fun Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 11:04pm
post #2 of 13

I usually add some cocoa instead of some of the conf. sugar, it is still a bit dryer than regular MMF so I add some shortening.

It's a pity about missing the last class, especially for almost nothing...

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WildSugar Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 11:11pm
post #3 of 13

I always have an issue with chocolate MMF being too dry. I've tried cutting down on the powdered sugar and it seems to help, but i think the cocoa powder is just dryer than the PS for some reason. I'm going to start putting a bit more water in with the MM when i melt them and see if it helps!

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chefjulie Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 11:20pm
post #4 of 13

Sorry you had such a tough time. Your recovery cake looks great!! Did you let the fondant sit at all after you added the coloring? I know A LOT of times it takes several hours for the color to reach it's full potential- especially if you're using wilton coloring.

Experiences like yours are why I only use commercially made fondant (Satin Ice, primarily). It's just too hard to get consistent results icon_sad.gif I really think I actually save money by buying it because of all the time I save NOT making it, cleaning up the disaster, and shopping for ingredients that I may or may not be able to find, etc. Time is money!!!

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whit6 Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 11:28pm
post #5 of 13

I probaly should have let it sit, that may have helped with color, but i obviously didn't think that far ahead and needed it right then.
I actually prefer making making my own. It tastes sooo much better (people who used to refuse to eat fondant love mine) and if im going through the trouble of making a beautiful cake and a customer is paying all this money I want them to be able to stand to eat it all. Plus its way cheaper. It may take more time but I am getting much faster at doing it so I find the extra time worth the taste and money saved.

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kelleym Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 11:38pm
post #6 of 13

For chocolate MMF, I add two squares of unsweetened chocolate to the marshmallows when I melt them, and then two tablespoons of dry cocoa to the powdered sugar when I'm kneading it in. I don't ever have a problem with it being too dry, and there is no color necessary - the chocolate gives it exactly the right "chocolately" color, if you know what I mean. icon_lol.gif

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whit6 Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 11:44pm
post #7 of 13

Thank you soo much! that makes sense, why didn't I think of that haha

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BlakesCakes Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 4:33am
post #8 of 13

Cocoa powder is alkaline---a drying agent. If you use a lot of it, you need to balance it out very carefully with more fat--and while the recipe is being put together, not after it's finished--it just doesn't have the same effect.

If you use actual chocolate, the fat in the chocolate is automatically doing the adjusting for you.

You might have better luck by starting with a dark grey and then adding in that brown.


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denette Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 4:51am
post #9 of 13

I've had trouble before too, so I'm glad for the tips!

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tesh_diggins Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 4:52am
post #10 of 13

I actually used Rhonda's Ultimate Chocolate MMF recipe and it was awesome. It tastes like fudge and has a beautiful brown color. Maybe you can try that and see how you like it. Here's the link to the recipe:


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luvmysmoother Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 3:46am
post #11 of 13

Thanks for the recipe for Rhonda's chocolate mmf. I had the exact same problem as whit6 when I tried making chocolate mmf with the difficulty getting it brown then adding cocoa and having weird crumbling issues. My "save" didn't look nearly as cute howevericon_smile.gif

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-K8memphis Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 3:00pm
post #12 of 13

Oh my, "practically free"--I know how that breaks the heart and breaks down the spirit.

Please use this as your only reminder of how bad it sucks to allow yourself to be taken advantage of this way.

Wait--I mean I err on the side of being taken advantage of by people all the time--because I would rather be taken advantage of with my permission on purpose than miss an opportunity to help someone in need--where I work we have all manner of folks coming in for help etc. Some you can help but not all. So in that regard I try to remain soft.

But when it comes to business--I'm playing hard ball in a mild mannered way--game on!
You want me-you're gonna hafta pay!

Blessings on you--great cake--pulled it out of the fire--good job.

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NJCakeDiva Posted 11 Sep 2009 , 8:00pm
post #13 of 13

I've been thinking about trying to make my first batch of Chocolate MMF. Thanks for all the helpful tips so I can avoid a disaster icon_lol.gif

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