My Fondant Experience, from Satin Ice to Wilton to LMF

Hello, internet! It’s me again. Today I am here to talk a little bit about FONDANT.

Sixyears ago, I didn’t even know what fondant was. Until, that is, I started watching wedding shows, especially shows like Amazing Wedding Cakes. I loved the way that it looked!

I made my first few cakes avoiding fondant at all costs. I had heard that Wilton tasted gross and was dry and that the good stuff wasn’t much better. I also heard that homemade marshmallow fondant was the best to work with, as well as the best-tasting. After decorating cakes for a year or so, purely with buttercream, I finally branched out and made a cake with fondant. My cousin wanted a special cake for her daughter’s first birthday and it could only really be achieved with fondant.

Homemade marshmallow fondant really was tasty — it sort of tastes like circus peanuts. But it was extremely hard to work with. I made a practice cake and that turned out good, but it was also a short cake, and therefor easier to cover. I still have pictures of it. I even tried to make my first fondant bow:

IMG_1513

In retrospect, it wasn’t that bad! It’s actually sort of cute. It was inspired by the Groovy Girl cakes that Carlo’s Bakery (yes, Cake Boss) sells in Hoboken.

I quickly learned that while it was okay (but not great) at covering cakes, it wasn’t the best for making decorations with. I found it nearly impossible to cut shapes with. To shape by hand, I would have to add extra sugar because it was way too gummy and soft. When I put my XActo knife through marshmallow fondant to cut out a shape or logo, it would just pull at it.

That’s where Wilton fondant came into my life. I read that it is wonderful for making decorations, even if it doesn’t taste very good. And it is great stuff, really! It is easy to work with, easy to color and not gummy at all. I love making characters with it. All the characters in this cake were a combination of Wilton fondant and Wilton gumpaste:

My Great Pumpkin Cake, 2011

My Great Pumpkin Cake, 2011

Eventually, I tried Satin Ice fondant when my cake decorating was really taking off. I liked it at first, but it is so expensive. I also found it hard to color. It has a gummy quality to it, too. But it covered MUCH better than marshmallow fondant because it wasn’t nearly as soft. But it tended to get “elephant skin” – that is, it has a dried-out quality. I found myself adding shortening and trying to make it better. And after the fondant rested on the cake a bit, it would lose its satin quality.

The cake below is covered in Satin Ice and you can see the weird separation around the top of the cake. I’m glad this was just a sample cake for a bride-to-be.

weddingcakesample

One day, on Facebook, I saw a post called THE BEST FONDANT RECIPE by Artisan Cake Company. It is also called LMF for short. I was very interested. According to the blog post, it was both easy-to-use, tasty, and versatile. It’s a hybrid of  Wilton fondant and homemade marshmallow fondant. It was discovered by accident when Elizabeth Merek, owner of Artisan Cake Company, didn’t have enough of either and had to improvise for an important cake.

The best thing about it is how affordable it is.It only costs roughly $5 for 4.25 pounds. I always get my Wilton fondant at 40-50% off and I like to buy my marshmallows when they are on sale for $1 a bag. Then, we buy our confectioner’s sugar in bulk from BJ’s Wholesale Club. It’s a real steal!

The first time I made it, I had a bit of trouble with it. Maybe I didn’t follow the directions exactly. What I think I did was there wasn’t enough powdered sugar in the cake because it had gotten stuck to the mixer and I didn’t compensate when kneading it out. I tried to use it on a Minnie Mouse cake and had to use some of my left-over Satin Ice in the end because it wasn’t working for me.

So I decided to play around with it a little bit and test it on some cake pans. I learned that it works really well on a surface that is nice and firm. I added back in some extra powdered sugar and it rolled out beautifully. You can see how I tested it on my pans, below:

Fondant testing on cake pans

Fondant testing on cake pans

I was able to peel off all the fondant and save it for my next big cake: a three-tiered birthday cake for my cousin’s daughter. I iced the cakes the night before and let them settle in the fridge. I wanted them to be cold, but not frozen. Condensation from a frozen cake can ruin your fondant, make it wet and just destroy your cake. No one wants an ugly cake mess on their hands for their kid’s big day! This was a year ago in June 2013:

Lilly cake 6.22.13

I was so happy with the result and everybody actually liked how it tasted! It stayed soft, covered well and gave a lovely matte finish. The matte finish is important because no one wants shiny fondant. That’s so gross because that usually means it is wet and slimy. Ew, that is not appetizing at ALL. (I should note that the decorations on this cake are made out of Wilton gumpaste).

I should also note that once I covered it in fondant, I did not put it back in the fridge. The reason? Same as what I just mentioned – the condensation factor. I put each cake in a box to protect it from dust and whatever else was in the air. I think we probably kept the air conditioner on low that night so the cake would stay cool and to prevent any melting.

It is almost a year later since I first tried LMF fondant and I am never looking back! Since most of my cakes aren’t covered in fondant, I usually get away with making the recipe about once per month. It takes me about 15 mintutes to a half hour to put it together. Then I stick it in a gallon Ziplock bag, stick it in my Satin Ice tub and am done with it.

Fresh bag of fondant

Fresh bag of fondant

Oh, yeah – buying a tub of Satin Ice wasn’t all in vain. I use the enormous tub its in to hold all my fondant! It’s air tight, so it’s very safe from air and critters (not that my house has critters, but still).

How I store my fondant

How I store my fondant.

In an up-coming post, I’ll demonstrate in pictures how I put together my LMF fondant. I was going to do it in this post, but writing about my history with fondant got very long-winded! Thank you for reading.

Nichole

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