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Fondant from Scratch

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Dear Fondant,
I’ve been working with you for about 10 years now. Overall, I’d say we’ve had a mutually beneficial relationship. You make me look good. When people praise my work, it’s you they’re really looking at, without you my work would be somewhat ordinary. I’ve learned not to test your limits, and in return…
well, I’ve learned not to test your limits.

Sure, we’ve had our moments. Our late night fights, when you refused to do what I asked or needed. Those times when you refused to work with me, and just sat there on the counter like a sticky lump. The times you’d trick me into believing you would behave, only to completely change shape/rip/sag/fall on the floor when I left the room. You know, you’ve been a real jerk at times. You totally deserved it the night I stuck you in the microwave and burned you out for 5 minutes on purpose. I wanted you to die.

Where was I? Right, but we’ve made beautiful things together. Everything from figures to flowers and elegant wedding cakes. Cakes that resembled children’s toys and favourite books. Each one was so special, and people always compliment you on your flavour as well! I think the real turning point in our relationship was when I learned to keep you simple. 4 ingredients, nothing fancy, and I listened to you with my hands. Since learning that lesson, I think we’ve become an incredible team, and if occasionally you still feel the need to test me, it’s okay – because I can always smush you up and start over :).

Sincerely,
Bernadette Robinson, Cake Decorator

Fondant from Scratch

  • 1 packet of unflavoured gelatin (Knox brand)
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup (clear corn syrup if you desire a true white fondant)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6-8 cups of icing sugar, divided

Read through these steps first before moving forward. Fondant dries easily, so you want to have a good idea of each step, going into it.

Step 1: In the bowl of a stand mixer, place 3 cups of icing sugar and fit with a dough hook.

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Step 2: In a small metal bowl, pour 1/4 cold water, and sprinkle the packet of gelatin over top, making sure it is all absorbed by the water. Leave it for 5 minutes to solidify. Go boil a kettle.

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Step 3: Now, place the small metal bowl inside a larger metal bowl. Pour boiling water into the larger, bottom bowl, enough to heat up the smaller bowl inside. Make sure no boiling water enters the small metal bowl with the gelatin!

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Step 4: The gelatin will begin to dissolve. Once it is 3/4 dissolved, add in the corn syrup and vanilla. Keeping the small bowl over the boiled water, stir it until you feel the corn syrup become liquid, about a minute or two.

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Step 5: Pour the now melted gelatin contents into the bowl with the icing sugar, and begin mixing on low. Mix until all the sugar is absorbed, your fondant will look dark – don’t worry, it’s coming along, and that colour will change to ivory. Continue mixing until a thick paste has formed.

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Step 6: Add 2 more cups of icing sugar, 1 at a time and increase speed, being careful to not spray icing sugar all  over yourself. When it becomes difficult for the stand mixer to handle, or a very thick mixture, remove it from the mixer.

Step 7: Pour 1 more cup of icing sugar (approximately the 7th cup) onto a clean surface. Pour the mixture straight onto it. It will be very sticky – you may want to lightly grease your hands with margarine or butter to help get it out of the bowl.

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Step 8: Time to knead! Try to use a flat scraper like I have here in the photo, or a metal spatula. You can use your hands, but if you are naturally warm-handed, the fondant will want to melt on you. Work the sugar into the dough, adding an 8th cup of sugar if needed, until the desired stiffness and pliability is achieved.

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Store your fondant in an air-tight freezer bag, with all of the air pushed out. You can also wrap it well in cling-wrap and place it in a storage container. Remember, air will dry it out! You want to be sure you are keeping it as air tight as possible, and I find it best to store it at room temperature.

Additional Tips:

  • If you are coloring the whole batch the same colour, add your paste-colour to the mixing bowl during the initial mix with the dough hook. If you are separating the batch for several colours, it is best to do this at the end.
  • Paste colours are preferable to liquid, since liquid will dissolve your fondant in the later stages.
  • For a truly white fondant, use clear corn syrup.
  • Keep an addition cup of icing sugar for rolling out. Some people find it easier to roll fondant out on a board dusted with corn starch, but it will change the flavour slightly.

Feel free to email me or message me on facebook if you have a specific project you’re working on and have a question!

 

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One thought on “Fondant from Scratch

  1. That was fabulous. Thank you Bernadette for showing me how to make non living things feel like living ones! That writing inspired me so much. I would love to talk to everything around me like that! 🙂 And as for the cakes, amazing cakes!

    Like

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