Friday, August 26, 2011

2nd Birthday Elmo Cake & Marshmallow Fondant Recipe

My nieces birthday was actually last month but I never thought to put it up on here. Like most 2 year olds my niece is in love with Elmo and honestly, kid or adult who doesn't love Elmo? He's cute and fuzzy and so lovable. I made a vanilla cake with vanilla icing, nothing too crazy but decorated the cake with white and colored fondant. I don't have pictures of me making or rolling out the fondant because it is such a messy job there was no place for a camera in the kitchen, but I will walk you through each step on how to make this cake or just about any other cake with fondant on top.

Making homemade fondant is actually pretty easy, just very, very messy. It doesn't take too much skill or artistic talent, all you need is a little creativity and some cookie cutters, food dye and you're good to go!

Homemade fondant is essentially melted down marshmallows with confectioners sugar. I found a recipe online that included the addition of corn syrup to help with pliability and it made a world of difference. I always make white fondant first and then dye portions of the fondant into colors. If you want to make a cake entirely in pink let's say you can add dye into the marshmallows as they are being melted so you will get an entire batch of pink fondant.

Before I get to the recipe here are some of my PSA's when making homemade fondant:

PLDC's PSA On Making Homemade Marshmallow Fondant

  1. This is a messy process, cover your table with an old tablecloth and working on a wooden or plastic cutting board. 
  2. Have extra powdered sugar, even though the recipe is accurate I use plenty more on my hands, on the cutting boards and on the fondant to prevent it from sticking.
  3. If it is your first bought of making a cake with fondant buy store bought frosting. I know I should be promoting the homemade stuff, but the icing on the cake is really not the star here. Go homemade on the filling, but for the outside of the cake white frosting in a cake is really all you need.
  4. Your hands will turn many, many colors as you knead dye into the fondant. Just let them be nice and colorful, it will come off. When you're all done use a strong dish soap (I recommend Dawn) and scrub your hands without water. This will remove the majority of the dye and then you can rinse off the rest with warm water.
  5. As you go from color to color be aware of color rubbing off of your hands. Start with the lighter colors you plan to make and go darker so you dont end up with weird tie-dyed color blends - unless of course if this is exactly what you want. Then go for it.
  6. Also once the cake is made store it at room temperature. I know you may be tempted to put in it the refrigerator but resist. The cost will dry out the fondant and make it crack. 
  7. Don't try to rush or cheat and melt the marshmallows in the microwave, do it right and do it in a double boiler.
  8. Keep cooking spray on hand. Some people like to grease things up with shortening but I find it unnecessary (plus I try not to use shortening ever). Good old cooking spray will work just fine. Spray your hands and spray them often while working with fondant.
  9. Finally and please is anything heed this warning. If you must make black fondant consider buying premade depending on how much you need. Black fondant requires alot of black dye to color properly and the more dye you add the more it ruins the taste. Black dye tastes terrible, take my word on it and it will dye people mouths even worse colors. I had to use a little black fondant for the eyes on my cake and just pulled them off before serving. Also the black dye is far more difficult to remove from your skin.
Marshmallow Fondant
Yield: Enough to cover 2 - 9 inch cakes stacked or one 9x13 cake
Entire Process Start to Finish: 1-2 hours depending on your design

  • 1 bag of mini marshmallows
  • 2 tbs water
  • 2 lb pound confectioners sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tbs corn syrup
First things first have your cakes baked, cut to size and ready to go. If you are doing tiers you are going to cover each layer separately. You will also have to "dirty ice" the cake prior to applying the fondant. You want to only cover the outside of the cake with a thin, even layer so you don't have any bumps or lumps in the cake. If you look closely at my cake you will see some uneven surfaces. My baking assistant for the day dirty iced the cake a little too heavily which makes for a little bit of a messy outcome. I left the cake as is because we were planning to decorate the entire outside of the cake so in person you couldn't really see any bumps.

In a double boiler melt down the marshmallows, water and corn syrup. When the marshmallows are melted and soupy looking start adding confectioners sugar. Keep adding sugar and stirring with a greased rubber spatula until it starts to come together taking the form of a ball, you will probably use the entire bag or very close to it. When the fondant has become firm and seems solid, grease your hands with cooking spray and remove from the double boiler. Place it on a cutting board dusted generously with powdered sugar and start to knead the fondant adding more sugar as necessary. 

When the lumps are all gone and you have a smooth, firm, pliable product the fondant is ready to go. For this cake I cut the fondant in half and then in half again since  I was covering two cakes (one for each tier). Roll the fondant out with a greased rolling pin on a surface dusted with confectioners sugar. When you have rolled it out to a size large enough to not only cover the entire top of the cake but the sides as well (I suggest using a ruler to measure the side) gently lift it up and drape it over the cake. Use your hands or a fondant smoother to smooth out any bumps working from the center out and down the sides. Then take a knife and cut away any excess fondant tucking in the edges under the cake.

Repeat the process again for all of your tiers and then begin stacking the cake. Place the bottom layer on top of whatever surface you plan to serve the cake on. Then layer all of your tiers on top of it. If you are only doing two layers they should sit on top of each other fine as is. If you are doing more tiers then stick some dowels into the cake to provide support, just make sure you measure them first.

One the cake is entire covered you can begin working on your decorations. Portion out as many sections of fondant equal to how many colors you want to make. Add a few drops of food coloring into the center and knead the fondant until the color you want is achieved. Add more food coloring if you want darker colors. 

If you're confident with you ability to freehand cut out shapes then by all means go for it. For those not so artistically inclined use a cookie cutter to cut out your shapes. I used a dab of icing to apply the fondant decorations to the cake. Some people prefer to use water but I don't like the halo affect it leaves on the cake since water makes the colors run a little bit.

After this just have fun with it and decorate your little heart out. I wrote a happy birthday message on the cake board itself with icing but you can always write on the cake itself.


Tina said...

How cute-you did such a great job! I am sure your niece enjoyed every bite. Thanks for the tips and the recipe for the fondant.

Sandra said...

I am fondant challenged and really appreciate this recipe. Thank You!