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Homemade Fondant

I am by no means a cake decorating expert.  Or even a good amateur.  I’ve made this fondant recipe twice now (both in the last week and a half) and been quite surprised at how easy it was to make, shape, and decorate with.

So for the other beginning cake makers out there, you can do it!

I have yet to build a tower of cake layers and attempt to cover it with a smooth layer of fondant, but I can say with pride that I can make shapes to lay on top of buttercream frosting.  It’s gonna be a while before I build up the confidence to attempt the all-over fondant look.

I’m anticipating your questions–I’ll make a short EFAQ (estimated FAQ’s) afterwards, but I’ll happily add to the list if you have any other things to ask (and if I actually can answer them.  Remember, I’m no professional baker).

Homemade Fondant (recipe from The Cook Duke)

  • 1 T unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 C cold water
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 1/2 C light corn syrup
  • 1 T food-safe glycerin
  • 2 lbs confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 t vegetable shortening
Combine the gelatin and water in a small bowl until the water absorbs.  Microwave the bowl for 30 seconds until the gelatin dissolves completely, and add the almond extract.  In a large bowl, stir together the corn syrup and glycerin, then add the gelatin mixture and mix.
Add the majority (1 1/2 lbs) of confectioners’ sugar, mixing with a spoon until it gets to be too much of a pain to mix.
It’ll still be really sticky, so dump the mixture out onto a big pile of the remaining confectioners’ sugar and knead the rest of the sugar into the dough.
It will still be a bit sticky, but much easier to handle when most of the sugar is mixed in.  Knead the vegetable shortening into the fondant so it’s easier to handle.
Wrap the fondant in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
To color it (keep some white if you need it!), knead food coloring right into the fondant.  Use a gel food coloring, so you aren’t adding in a ton of liquid.  Even with gel food coloring, you will probably need to add a bit more confectioners’ sugar to restore the right consistency.  Trial and error!
I definitely had trouble getting a true red, but luckily the Dr. Seuss characters I was making don’t use bright colors, and the way it ended up was exactly what I needed.  I tried two types of gel food colors, and one tasted incredibly bad.  I’m glad I tasted it (it was icing color from Michaels), because it was truly inedible.
Basically from here on out, you’re on your own!
I cut the basic shapes out that I wanted, molded them to fit, and painted the tops with an edible icing “paint”.
To make shapes that were different colors, I estimated how much of each color I’d need, and rolled them out together first and cut around the colors I needed.  It looked better than trying to squish colors together after the fact.
If that makes sense.
 Here’s some pictures of the cake I made–sorry for the awful picture quality.  I finished the cake at night and my friend picked it up right after, so there was no better lighting opportunity.  But you get the gist.
I was really excited to find out how easy it is to make fondant, because it opened up a whole new level of decorating to my skills.
So, some estimated FAQ:
  1. Where do I get these ingredients?  I found glycerin (food-grade) in Michaels, and the gelatin you can usually find in the baking section of any grocery store (I got mine in Whole Foods).
  2. How do I store the fondant?  For decorations like I made, you can cover them lightly with parchment paper and let them dry out before placing them on the cake.  You don’t want to keep them in an airtight container because they will get sticky and fall apart.  Store the unshaped fondant in the fridge in an airtight container.
  3. How do I store the cake?  I had to research this one.  You don’t want to put a cake covered in fondant in the fridge because it creates condensation on top of the fondant when you take it out.  A cake covered in buttercream and fondant can stay unrefrigerated for 2-3 days.
  4. How do I make my fondant manageable?  If the consistency is too stiff/cracking, add a drop of glycerin and knead it in.  If it is too sticky, knead in some more confectioners’ sugar or dust with cornstarch.
  5. How does it taste?  Surprisingly good!  If you don’t like the traditional almond flavor, you can swap lemon, vanilla, peppermint, orange, or any other extract you want.
The most fun part of making fondant was seeing how quickly i could cover our entire apartment with confectioners’ sugar.
Except that was also the really annoying part.
One the feline front, now that it has gotten colder, Henry has taken up residence in his favorite position–one leg up on the floorboard heaters.
He’ll sit like this for hours.
I’m actually nervous about his fur combustibility.
Also, I promise to stop posting awful quality photos soon.
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  1. Susan

    Totally … totally impressed. Lucky Lennon … cute cake.

  2. Amanda@AnUnlikelyDietitian

    This is amazing, I was just moaning how I can’t find any fondant in Nelspruit for a kitchen tea I’m organising this weekend. Now that I’ve seen what you did though, I’m a little intimidated…I was just going to spell out “Bride” or something!

  3. Becky

    Fondant can be made even easier. Melt a 16 oz. Bag of mini marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a double boiler or the microwave. Once melted, gradually add a 2 pound bag of powdered sugar. Once completed, the fondant can be colored and wrapped for later use or used immediately.

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