Think of all the craziest, most magical decorated cakes you’ve ever seen. Besides an incredibly talented creator, what do most of those creations have in common? They’re all made with fondant!
While it’s possible to make gorgeous designs with buttercream and skillful piping, when you want your cakes to look like other things, or when you just want a smooth surface on which to work even more cake decor magic, fondant is the way to go. It’s like the baker’s modeling clay— only this time, the sculptures are edible. (Luckily for us!)
What you can do with fondant is pretty magical, but a lot of bakers are nervous about working with it, and while you can buy it in the store, it doesn’t usually come in amounts large enough to really embrace the trial and error of the learning process. The answer? Make some at home! It’s simpler than you probably think, especially when we have Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking to walk us through the process. Take a look.
- 1 – .25 ounce package unflavored gelatin
- ¼ cup cold water
- ½ cup glucose syrup
- 1 tablespoon glycerin or agar-agar
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce / 30 grams) shortening or butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
Find the full recipe at Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking
So it’s actually pretty easy, right? Instead of the butter, milk and sugar that makes up the best buttercream, fondant involves gelatin (or agar-agar for vegans and vegetarians), a tiny bit of butter, and a lot more sugar.
The key really seems to be the step where you work in the sugar by kneading the fondant in a way similar to how you would work with bread dough. Not only does this kneading help you work the ingredients together, the hands-on approach gives you a sense of how flexible and pliable the fondant will be before you start to really decorate with it, allowing you to adjust before you jump to creating your design.
Even better? You can store fondant for up to two months! All you need to do is roll it into a ball, coat it in vegetable oil, wrap it in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container. You don’t even need to refrigerate it. So you can make as much fondant as you want, and always have it on hand for when a creative cake craving strikes.
Gemma has even more tips and tricks for working with fondant, tinting it, and making gorgeous fondant cakes, so be sure to head over there to check them out. Have you ever made your own fondant before? Do you like working with it, or are you more a fan of buttercream?