Friday 15 September 2017

Fondant / Supgarpaste Icing

Been fairly quiet for a while...a combination of summer busyness, and a slight accident involving a broken wrist, which puts a damper on baking. I've been of cast for a week now, and looking to sort myself out.

One thing that has come up is that I'll be baking my own wedding cake next year, so there will need to be a focus on getting some presentation-skills. I have an outline plan (basically a cupcake tower, with an 8-10" topper cake), and first goal will be getting some basic presentation style stuff going.

One of the classic items is rolled fondant/sugarpaste. It's an ingredient that allows you to create very clean looking cakes. most people buy it (and in all lightlihood I will too), however to make it there are basically 2 methods;
1) Properly, using ingredients such as liquid glucose, gelatin and glycerine
2) Using melted marshmellows as a base

I decided to try both, and I also wanted to see how they coped with chocolate, as I plan to do a half-and-half cake, with one side "traditional" white, and the other half chocolate. I started with the marshmallow recipe, as that was supposed to be easier. It;s certainly less ingredients!

Marshmallow Fondant Icing (aka MMF)


Chocolate Version

  • 150g mini white marshmallows
  • 175g sieved icing ugar
  • 25g sieved cocoa
1) Place the marshmallows in a large heatproof bowl

2) Place in the microwave for 10 seconds, then stir. Note, this will become the stickiest stuff you've ever seen, so have a second spoon ready for scraping!

3) Repeat this until the marshmallows melt (it took 3-4 bursts for me).

4) Start adding and mixing in the icing sugar (and cocoa, if doing chocolate)
OK, that sounds easy, but this stuff is incredibly adhesive. It will stick to the bowl, the spoon, your hands...everything. It's also incredibly elastic and spongy, and it's actually quite hard to incorporate the sugar. I ended up hand kneeding it after a certain's a bit like kneading cool napalm, as it really does stick to everything.

The end result was...OK...I suppose. I found it quite hard to work with, as the spongy and elastic nature meant that rolling it was hard, and it tended to re-gather into a thicker substrate. The mouthfeel was not quite right's chewy. On the plus cide the chocolate version came out well, very similar in texture to the plain version.

"Proper" Sugarpaste (aka Rolled Fondant)


Chocolate Version

  • Substitute 40g of icing sugar for cocoa
  • 20g "Trex" solid vegetable fat (if you've ever seen an American recipe call for "Shortening", thats what this is)
1) Put the water and gelatin in a small heatproof bowl, and allow the gelatin to soak for 5 minutes, until it is spongy

2) Place the bowl over a simmering water bath (I used a sausepan, with a small tray over it),and stir until the gelatin is fully dissolved/melted

3) Add in the liquid glucose, glycerin and vanilla essence

3a) If doing the chocolate version, also add the Trex and allow to melt

4) Continue to heat and stir until smooth and runny

5) Sieve the sugar (and cocoa if using) intoa large heatproof bowl

6) Form a well in the middle of the sugar

7) Pour the liquid into the well and start to stir/incorporate the sugar into the liquid

8) Knead on a silicone matt until smooth

So while this is more complex, I found it a lot easier than the MMF version, as it had a much better consistency, without the elasticity of MMF. That said, the chocolate version didn't work well (I used more cocoa first time) came out stiff, brittle and non-compliant.

All of these can be stored wrapped in clingfilm.

So, based on these initial exporations, I think I'll be making my own fondnt using the traditional method, but only for the vanilla/white stuff. You can buy ready-made chocolate icing, and logisitcally that will save me a lot of time, and possibly even money.