Monday, October 27, 2008

Triumphs and Failures in Fondant

Local Columbus, OH vegan bakery, Patty Cake , doesn't use fondant (those thick sheets of frosting used on Ace of Cakes) for cake decorating, claiming they can't find a recipe they like enough. With my very limited knowledge of cakes, much less frosting them, and my hubbies birthday around the corner, I wanted to set out to find a great vegan fondant recipe. What I found was this incredibly simple buttercream fondant recipe.

The Recipe
* 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
* 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon shortening
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
* 1 pound confectioners' sugar

1. In a large bowl, stir together the shortening and corn syrup. Mix in the salt and vanilla flavoring, then gradually mix in the confectioners' sugar until it is a stiff dough. If you are using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment. Otherwise, knead by hand. If the dough is sticky, knead in more confectioners' sugar until it is smooth. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
2. To use, roll out on a clean surface that has been dusted with confectioners' sugar [[I did it with wax paper]] until it is 1/8 inch thick or thinner if you can. Drape over frosted and chilled cakes and smooth the sides down, or cut into strips to make bows and other decorations.

Initially I was worried I'd be making too much, but it turned out to not be enough for a double stacked 7in cake. I used the fauxstess cupcake recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance-- minus the cream filling, chocolate ganache, and white icing for the squiggles.

My first stab turned out perfectly. It was smooth, it layed on nicely, it had a pleasant sugary flavor. The second time didn't go so smoothly. Some crafty hand-work made it presentable. I only had an hour and a half to really decorate-- including emergency shopping time when I ran out of frosting! These aren't high quality food photos by any means, but it'll get the job done-- you'll notice some heavy cracking, something I'll work to avoid next time.

Some important tips I found on the internet...
- Lightly frost your cakes, then chill them(I did for about 15 minutes and it was sufficient). This way the fondant will stay in place when you drape it over the cake.

- A mistake from my second round-- I highly recommend rolling out the fondant between two wax paper sheets to prevent sticking as opposed to a surface lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar-- it dried out the fondant like crazy and made it crack horribly. Once you lay it over the cake, it's covered in frosting, so you can't peel it off and redo it. It was a disaster that took some creativity to fix.

-NEVER FREEZE OR REFRIGERATE-- once you remove it and bring it back to room temperature the water will separate and the fondant won't be the same consistency. I stored mine covered in foil in the microwave.

More attempts to come...


[photo props to the hubby-- Andrew Warner]


Andrew Warner said...

That was an awesome cake. Not only are you an artist, you can see through the window to my soul.

Tristan Wheelock said...

That cake looks incredible. I tried to make the Coconut Macadamia Ginger carrot cake from Vegan With a Vengeance the other day. It turned out all right but nothing like that...