This is one of those recipes you learn and it can change your decorating forever. There I am, sampling wedding cakes and thinking to myself “what is this rubber ‘stuff’ these cakes are wrapped in? Am I supposed to eat it or did they forget to remove it as packaging?” I was forever not-a -fan until I ventured off, made a cake of my own (not for my wedding, let’s not get crazy) and decided to make the rubber stuff myself.
The result… homemade fondant is nothing like the commercial gunk sold in plastic buckets at your local crafting giant. It’s soft, delicious and sweet with the smooth texture of play dough. Aside from being fun to make, it lasts forever and is quite tasty.
First – a few preliminary things I learned along the way.
- Shortening. I use Crisco and will therefore refer to that for the remainder of this post. Have it in stock. You will cover your workspace in it, your hands and mixing tools. This stuff sticks better than any crazy glue you’ve ever tried and crisco is necessary to ensure you don’t walk out of the house looking like Stay Puff.
- The age-old question “is sifting really necessary?” I say yes. Not always fun, but making sure your powdered sugar is clump free, soft and pillowy ensures there are not clumps of sugar in the fondant. Think smooth here…
- Fondant cannot be covered in an airtight container, nor should it be refrigerated. It will sweat and literally start to melt… no one wants cakes or cupcakes covered in melty, sticky fondant decor. If you are making cupcake toppers, cut the tops, place on parchment paper in an open container, in a cool, dark, dry place. It will never get rock hard, nor will it go bad, so plan (and make) ahead. It needs time to dry a bit. (2-3 days at least) from what I’ve found.
- Gel food colorings give the most vibrant color. Beware, they also stain like no other. Watch your counter tops.
- 2 lb bag of confectioner’s sugar
- 16 oz mini marshmallows (usually about 1 1/2 (10 oz.) bags, plus one good handful)
- 2 tbs water
- 1 tsp flavoring extract (optional)
- Coat inside of a microwaveable bowl with crisco.
- Place 16 oz. of marshmallows and 2 tbs. water in the bowl.
- Microwave for 1 minute, remove and stir. *Again, make sure your spatula is coated in crisco.
- Continue microwaving at 30 second intervals (stirring in between) until you have just a few marshmallows left in the melted mixture.
Continue to stir as they will eventually melt.
- Add your flavoring (I use almond, but you can use anything from vanilla to orange, etc.).
- In a standing mixer, ensure the bowl and dough hook are coated with crisco.
- Place half of the powdered sugar in the bowl, pour the melted marshmallow in and top with the remaining sugar.
- Mix on low until the mixture is just combined.
- With your hands and workspace coated in crisco (hey, don’t say I didn’t warn you above… make sure you have shortening!), dust your workspace with powdered sugar (on top of the crisco) and remove the fondant from the bowl out onto your workspace. Proceed to knead the fondant (as you would with bread dough) for 8-10 minutes until you get a nice smooth play dough texture.
- At this point, you may either add the fondant coloring and knead until incorporated, or shape into a ball, cover with a thin coating of shortening, double wrap (first in plastic wrap, then in a zip-lock bag) and store at room temperature.
- Let the fondant rest for approximately 24 hours before using.
When you are ready to use the fondant:
- Cover your workspace and hands in shortening. Dust your workspace with powdered sugar and knead the fondant for a minute or two to get it pliable again. If it is too dry (cracking as you knead) wet your hands and continue to knead, or add extra shortening to your hands. If it becomes too tacky, dust with more powdered sugar. It’s all about using shortening (or a teeny bit of water) and powdered sugar to get it to the play dough consistency you need.
- Dust your rolling-pin with powdered sugar and roll out the fondant.
- From here on out, it depends on what you are using the fondant for. Cakes: roll out into a sheet for transfer to the cake. Once I post about using fondant on cakes (coming shortly!) I will provide a link here for you to access further guidance. If you are using for cupcake toppers, just keep swimming along through here…
Written out, it seems like a lot of steps. Yet it is one of those recipes that will take you 10 minutes once you run through it for the first time and I promise, you will forever be a fondant fan afterwards. Its the first comment I hear whenever using it on my baked goods… “This is delicious…what IS this?” You will never go commercial again, nor will I.
Hi Brooke, I just had to pop in and say hello! Your cakes look awesome! I consider myself more of a baker as I’ve never gotten the hang of decorating as well as you! I really wanna try the fondant, I loved the stuff in school but never tried making it at home. It all looks great!
Fondant is SO much better homemade, and it’s easy. Let me know how it goes!
I made the fondant but it is too soft to hold shapes. I’m using it to make jungle animals. Any advice? Thanks!
If you haven’t shaped already, you may try kneading more confectioners sugar in to stiffen it up; otherwise, I would shape the animal parts, let them dry overnight a bit, then assemble with a dab of light corn syrup as a “glue.”. Then definitely let air dry for as long as possible