Sunday, October 24, 2010

halloween cake

This cake represents two firsts for me: The first time I have attempted a tiered cake and the first time I have used homemade marshmallow fondant.  The result isn't quite perfect, but much better than I had hoped.  The fondant proved to be quite the nightmare.  I had to work it for at least an hour before I could roll it out.  Even then it refused to relinquish it's foam rubber look; in other words it was springy to the touch, and had an uneven quality that was quite prone to tearing.  Once I got the fondant rolled out almost as thin as I wanted and positioned on the cakes, I quickly realized that it was virtually impossible to smooth out the inevitable folds and creases.  The fondant also ripped, and not having the will to spend another hour working with the fondant to re-cover the cake, I opted for some cleverly positioned snakes, bats, cats and trees to cover up the imperfections.

Despite the setbacks and flaws in this cake, it was received with plenty of oohs and aahs by my daughter's friends.  The cake was my tried and tested Devil's food cake with chocolate buttercream filling, so I know it tasted good!  Also, it can well be said that even if things didn't work out the way I had planned them to, there were some valuable lessons learned here so all was not in vain!

Now it's back to the drawing board to come up with a tasty fondant that has the perfect consistency to work with!  Either that or I go back to ordering the professional stuff and try to improve it's flavour.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Marshmallow fondant

It has been a while since I last blogged; one can blame one's day job interfering with the real joy in my life of cake decorating and cupcakes.  Last weekend was cold and wet, so I entertained myself by trying out a marshmallow fondant recipe which so many people wax lyrical about.  Everyone who has ever posted anything about marshmallow fondant has claimed it is easy, tasty and infinitely cheaper than the commercial stuff available.  I've been wanting to try this out for a while, but it took a bit of dedicated research to find white marshmallows in Germany.  They all seem to be pink and yellow.  Eventually I got hold of several bags of the stuff and so I eagerly set to work.  First I melted the marshmallows in the microwave, being careful to stir at regular intervals.  When they had all melted into a smooth, sticky, very, very sticky mass I stirred in some bourbon vanilla and food colouring before coating my hands and my work surface with lots of shortening.  Then I emptied a box of icing sugar on to said surface before pouring the marshmallow goo on top of the sugar.  Next step was to knead the sugar into the marshmallow mix until it had the consistency of play doh.  Eventually the impossibly sticky mass did morph into something that looked very much like fondant icing, but the process was so sticky and so messy that I cannot bring myself to post a picture of me kneading the goo, even if my daughter had great fun taking the pictures!  Suffice it to say that eventually these:
turned into these:

The dark grey turned black over night, which was the intention and these colours will be used to make a Halloween themed cake and cupcakes for this coming weekend.  The orange also turned a more vibrant shade when left overnight.  So far the taste is definitely better than the commercial stuff, but time will tell if it is as easy to work with.

I will poste pictures of the Halloween cakes once they are completed!