Friday, July 17, 2009

Wilton Course 3: Fondant

wiltoncake3 (2)

"What is this? Is it Wilton?"
"No"
"What is it??"
"Umm..."
"What is it? Did you make this? Marshmallows?"
"Umm... yes"
"Well then, that's why. Feel yours and feel hers. See the difference? That's why I said to use Wilton fondant instead of making your own because I would rather have something that always works instead of making batches that fail half the time."

"Yes, that's right, even though I covered the cake with no tears, it still failed." - I wish I was brave enough to say that.

O boy, now that was pretty embarrassing in front of the entire class. I also happened to be standing up too... talk about being at the centre of attention. Embarrassment wasn't the only thing I was feeling after being confronted like that with 9 pairs of eyes staring at me. I was so stunned at the time, I couldn't even think of anything to say except for feeling like I did something really bad by not buying the fondant. The worst part was after I successfully covered the cake with no tears, it still felt bad because oh wait, this isn't store bought. That's like saying we shouldn't bake scratch cakes, pie crusts or yeast breads because they're not always bound to turn out. I totally understand that the classes are designed so that we use the products, but to be humiliated in front of everyone like that felt really unfair. It's not like I was parading around my homemade fondant to encourage others to make their own. I have to be honest and say that I'm not completely satisfied with my cake (being a little bumpier than I would like), but I think it has to do more with my decorating skills (poor frosting job and rolling out the fondant way too thin) than the MMF because I've seen so many amazing MMF cakes.

Making the marshmallow fondant was a lot easier and less messy than I expected, but you have to make sure everything is properly greased (bowls, spoons, anything that comes in contact with the marshmallows). Most recipes do the kneading on the table, but I wanted to keep cleaning to a minimum. Instead, I greased a large metal bowl so that I wouldn't have to scrub shortening off the counter (a huge pain!). Also, no matter how much I clean the counter beforehand, it still feels dirty to me. Anyway, the MMF came together pretty quickly and tasted like marshmallows except doughier. I can't imagine snacking on the entire ribbon/bow, but I can definitely see the appeal of fondant when it comes to decorating. Just in case you are interested in making your own marshmallow fondant (but beware.. there is a 50% failure rate..haha), I got it from What's Cooking America

Marshmallow Fondant Recipe from Here

16 ounces white mini-marshmallows (use a good quality brand)
2 to 5 tablespoons water (I used 2 tbsp)
2 pounds icing sugar (I didn't use all of the sugar)
1/2 cup Crisco shortening (you will be digging into it so place in a very easily accessed bowl)

Make sure you grease every bowl and spoon/spatula the marshmallows come in contact with first. I also find that if you stir in the sugar with a spoon/spatula until it doesn't seem so liquidy before kneading it with your hands, it's less sticky and hot.

Melt marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave or double boiler. Put the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, open microwave and stir, back in microwave for 30 seconds more, open microwave and stir again, and continue doing this until melted. Place 3/4 of the powdered sugar on the top of the melted marshmallow mix.

Now grease your hands GENEROUSLY (palms, backs, and in between fingers), then heavily grease the counter you will be using and dump the bowl of marshmallow/sugar mixture in the middle. (I did all this in a large bowl that I greased)

Start kneading like you would bread dough. You will immediately see why you have greased your hands.

Keep kneading, this stuff is sticky at this stage! Add the rest of the powdered sugar and knead some more. Re-grease your hands and counter when the fondant starts sticking. If the mix is tearing easily, it is to dry, so add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time and then knead it in). It usually takes me about 8 minutes to get a firm smooth elastic ball so that it will stretch without tearing when you apply it to the cake.

It is best if you can let it sit, double wrapped, overnight (but you can use it right away if there are no tiny bits of dry powdered sugar). If you do see them, you will need to knead and maybe add a few more drops of water.

Prepare the fondant for storing by coating it with a good layer of Crisco shortening, wrap in a plastic-type wrap product and then put it in a re-sealable or Ziploc bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible.

MM Fondant will hold very well in the refrigerator for weeks. If I know that I have a cake to decorate, I usually make two (2) batches on a free night during the week so it is ready when I need it. Take advantage of the fact that this fondant can be prepared well in advance.

44 comments:

  1. your cake looks absolutely spectacular to me. i'm sorry that she yelled at you for not using wilton's, but seriously, she should've been more impressed by the beautiful decorating skill you've acquired.

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  2. Awwww, well. I know how you felt. It'll pass. But the cake looks so beautiful, truly a gift for the eyes :)

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  3. ugh. sorry she yelled at you. i actually don't think her annoyance had anything to do with "fail" or "no-fail" fondant. i'm certain it had to do with the fact that you didn't buy a wilton product to use for your wilton class. it's all about brand, which is so dumb. it makes me mad :(

    your cake looks gorgeous. i think your fondant looks phenomenal!

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  4. That's a pretty nasty instructor you have! Sorry! Your cake looks great anyway, it's too cute! I realllyyy want to learn how to do a bow. Any plans of making a how-to?

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  5. nuts to her! It's beautiful...and it shows a lot more skill to make something challenging and fail than to open up a box (can? tube?) and always succeed!

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  6. Whhhaaaaa??? I think your cake is perfect!

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  7. So sorry to hear about your embarrasment! I think the cake looks awesome.

    Store-bought fondant definitely holds better, but home-made fondant tastes better! I prefer taste over look! Plus I love marshmallows :)

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  8. You're smart to make a large batch - the stickiness and the cleanup are such a pain. I think the Wilton instructors have a chip imprinted to make sure that there's a more than high guilt factor associated with trying your own creativity rather than becoming a stepford decorator. I suspect the 9 eyes staring at you were more appauled at her centering you out than anything. Great job - the bow is really well done and not that easy to do.

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  9. Gorgeous cake!! It looks so beautiful, lovely And elegant all at the same time. A pleasure to look at.

    Dont you dare feel bad.

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  10. I love it and hope that you don't feel bad about it. I wish I could do that.

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  11. You did a fantastic job and don't let anybody tell you otherwise! That instructor has no business teaching a class with that kind of horrible attitude.

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  12. Wow, what a witch. I don't think it's ever okay to call someone out like that. You didn't do anything wrong.

    Oh, and btw, she's wrong about it failing "1/2 the time" as my daughter (14 years old) has made 4-5 batches (at least) and not.one.has.failed!

    She also just kneads hers in the bowl rather than on the countertop and colors it with gel food coloring.

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  13. well I think it looks awesome!! and I like it better BECAUSE it's home made.. What a crazy lady! If I had been there with you I would have totally pulled out all my feisty-ness and went to town on that lady :D

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  14. Oh my word that cake is absolutely spectacular. Unreal...just adorable.

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  15. Yuck, don't listen to that ignorant shrew. You should've said, "Yeah it feels different, but it also doesn't taste like crap!" I think you did a GREAT job. :)

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  16. I stopped by to leave you a comment to tell you how gorgeous your cake was, and then got very angry after reading about your experience. I think your cake looks amazing! Don't stop experimenting and growing just because of what happened!

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  17. Don't feel bad, this cake is adorable! You did a beautiful job. Very impressive in my opinion.

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  18. Seriously? That's horrible! Isn't marshmallow fondant supposed to taste better? She should have complimented you!

    I think it's super cute :)

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  19. I think you did a great job!!! I'm sure your MMF fondant tasted better too. I'm sure the instructor is "supposed to" promote Wilton products but c'mon, that comment was harsh. Given that cake decorating is a creative process, the instructor would have done more good by praising your creativity. Don't feel bad. You did great!!!

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  20. I think your cake looks fantastic and you need to tell that hater to shut her pie hole!

    Steph you seriously need to tell her to watch herself. 'Cause the last time you check YOU were paying HER not the other way around! And you're not five years old to be spoken to like a naughty child. As a matter of fact if you were five she still needed to talk to you with respect.
    ~ingrid

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  21. I think it looks great. And I agree with so many others here about the teacher. She was rude and didn't act very professionally, especially considering the setting. Other wise, the cake looks wonderful, Steph. Great job!

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  22. I have never been very interested in fondant cakes because while they look pretty I know they are going to taste bad, and really what's the point? Might as well just put styrofoam under there any way.

    Your cake looks beautiful, seriously. And the fact that it actually tastes like something you'd be excited about eating makes it the winner overall.

    She sounds jealous and bitter. She just wants everyone else to make crappy tasting cakes too so she doesn't feel bad about sucking at homemade fondant. Be proud of making your own. Stick your nose in the air and say, "um, you actually expect us to work with store-bought fondant?"

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  23. Marshmallow fondant? Sounds complicated!!! Are you sure it was simple?! hahah I admire this work, it requires fine-motor skills that I so painfully lack!

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  24. Eh forget that teacher. She needs to chill out and realize that you marshmallow fondant crushes her margarine plastic one. I say wear that bow in style, Steph :)

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  25. WEll I think the teacher could have handled that a little better than she did, that makes me mad to! You are doing such a fantastic job decorating , I love this cake! I would love to try and make my own fondant to try and decorate with, thanks for the "forbidden recipe" !!!

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  26. Beautiful decoration ,I never used before marshmallows, just fondant. I love the glow in it. Lovely

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  27. Your cake looks incredible. you did such an awesome job with it.

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  28. Hey Obsessed With Baking! I nominated your wonderful blog for the Kreativ Blogger Award!

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  29. Wow! Your teacher could definitely spend some time learning classroom etiquette and people skills!
    I think your cake is adorable, and no doubt it tasted much better with homemade fondant than it would have with store bought.
    Are you signed up for more of these classes?

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  30. Eep your teacher sounds not very awesome! =( I understand that it's a Wilton course and they want you to buy the stuff but, well they already got your money for just taking the course... I think she should be applauding you for making your own fondant! The cake looks really awesome.

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  31. I agree with everyone. so what if the texture of the plastic crap is better...if it tastes like crap, it is crap. I've had some issues with MMF, but I'll take them over the crap. Good for you for doing what you wanted to do for your cake.

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  32. I actually use the same one as yours, except I add 1 tsp of extract in with the water and then add 1 to 2 tsp of corn syrup in after the marshmallows are melted (before you add the sugar). I've had mixed results, but I persevere because it tastes really good.

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  33. Haha when she said feel the difference, you should've been, well taste the difference. Is there any way you can complain about her to the higher ups? Great looking cake!! Just know you are probably the best student there bc you made it homemade. How many people can do that??

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  34. Awww. Looks like it came out beatifuly though!

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  35. How awful - I can't believe the instructor was so rude to you in front of the class. I'd be angry for sure. I think your cake looks fantastic! Fondant is so amazing and I've heard marshmallow fondant is one of the best when it comes to taste.

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  36. I think it looks great! Certainly no expert, won't even venture down the fondant road, but your cake it toally cute and I've heard that mallow fondant is SO much better than the packaged stuff.

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  37. That was a pet peeve of mine with the Wilton class. The structure of the course is such that you have to buy a lot of their products. I also think that it's only partially teaching someone how to decorate a cake if you just buy the ready-made stuff.

    I think the cake looks great!

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  38. I happened upon your blog when looking for the bow from Wilton's course three. Your cake turned out beautifully. Wilton has discontinued the old course 3 and the new fondant course does not have that specific bow on the cake above. I am wondering if there's any chance you could help me obtain a copy of the template for the bow? I found a discontinued copy of the course 3 book but it came with that template cut out. I would be happy to pay you for your efforts if you are able to help at all. I recognize I'm a complete stranger but also a wilton fanatic! If you are willing you can contact me at jennifer.mcarthur@gmail.com Thanks,Jen

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  39. Wow, my Wilton instructor tells us to make the MMF!

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  40. Wow, your cake is very nice. You've done a great job.

    I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with your Wilton Instructor. I've been an Instructor for 2 1/2 years now and I could'nt imagine calling a student out like that on anything. We're there to teach and encourage our students not to belittle them in any way. We're told that during the fondant class to have our students use the wilton fondant simply because it will be the right texture for everyone (even though it tastes like crap) But still that gives this instructor NO reason to talk to you like she did. I've had a few students come into class with a MMF covered cakes and honestly as long as they have perfected the techniques right then I'm happy!

    Have fun decorating and don't let that one nah-sayer get to you. You're awesome at what you do. LOL :)

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  41. It looks unique and cute. At first it doesn't look like a pastry it looks like a gift or a present. I think it doesn't only look good but it tastes good too.

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