Monday, 21 January 2013

Adventures in birthday cakes - making marshmallow rolled fondant

Cal's birthday is Thursday, and he's requested a Minecraft cake this year. I haven't quite figured out exactly what I'm going to do, but I know that it'll involve marshmallow rolled fondant. I discovered the recipe for this a couple of years ago, and will never decorate a cake without using it again. I can never get regular icing to look very good, but with the fondant, it's a piece of cake. 

For Cal's birthday in kindergarten, I sent in cupcakes for the class. He was really into Super Mario at the time, so I made these Mario-themed cupcakes. 

It seemed to be a really great idea - until I realized that I had spent about an hour sculpting the Mario figure, and still had 19 cupcakes to go! I had a rather late night, but got them all done in the end. And they were adorable, if I must say so myself.

For my niece's 18th birthday I made this cake, complete with curly fondant ribbons on top.

I made a pirate-themed cake and cupcakes for the birthday of a friend of the boys.  I love the jaunty little pirate men. For both the Mario cupcakes and these ones I used the Wilton edible markers to draw on the details.

And for my lover-of-all-that-is-aquatic, I made a three-dimensional shark one year. 

The marshmallow fondant is really simple to make using a Kitchenaid stand mixer. You can also make it by hand, but there's a lot of kneading, so be prepared for sore arms. The recipe for a large batch is:
     16 oz bag of marshmallows (~65 large marshmallows)
     2 Tbsp water
     7 cups of powdered sugar (approximately 1kg)

That's it - three ingredients! Plus a lot of shortening to keep your hands and bowls greased so you don't get totally gummed up in molten marshmallow.

I spread a fairly thick layer of grease on the inside of my mixer bowl before I dump the 7 cups of icing sugar in. Then put the marshmallows in a microwave safe bowl with the 2 tbsp of water, and heat them 1 minute at a time until they get all puffed up and soft. The amount of time it takes will vary from microwave to microwave. In mine, it takes about 2 minutes to fully soften them.

After they're all puffed up and wet looking, give them a stir to make sure that there aren't any big unmelted chunks left.

Then dump the melted marshmallow on top of the icing sugar in the mixer bowl, and mix it on low speed using the dough hook.

And don't forget to clean up the leftover marshmallow from the microwave bowl. 

 As the icing sugar is incorporated, the fondant will start to pull away from the sides of the mixer bowl. You want a fairly dry fondant, so it doesn't stick too much when you're rolling it out to put on the cake. I like to dump it out of the mixer at the end and knead in the last of the icing sugar by hand until I get the consistency that I like. The exact amount of sugar that you'll use will vary with the amount of humidity in the air, how much shortening you used to grease the bowl, and how fresh that marshmallows are.

In the end, you want the fondant to be firm, yet elastic, but not sticky. After you make the recipe a couple of times you get a good feel for how dry it should be at this point. The fondant is best if allowed to rest overnight at this point. I wrap it tightly in Saran wrap, and then seal it in a ziploc bag and store it at room temperature.

I'm happy to have this done tonight. I need to get the cake together on Wednesday night after work, so I'll probably bake the cake tomorrow night so I have a full evening to decorate. I better get cracking on hunting down some Minecraft cake designs!


  1. You are suddenly like some crazed supermom/chef/renovator! You have left me (panting and exhausted) in your dust!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you think you might be in the middle of some kind of a breakdown? :)

    1. Nope - just exhilarated by all the free time that the boys crazy hockey schedule has left me with this winter!!! Suddenly I have the time, energy, and peace and quiet to do the things I've been wanting to do for years.


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