I have been baking my kids’ birthday cakes since my eldest turned one. But it wasn’t until my twins’ first birthday that I attempted to cover a cake in fondant.
By the time my twins turned two, I was ready to tackle the world of homemade marshmallow fondant, or MMF. My first batch, which I attempted in the KitchenAid (bad idea) ended up in the garbage and I was ready to call it quits and revert to the store-bought stuff.
Fortunately, I stuck with it and adapted the recipe and the method to best suit my skills.
While you may initially resist making your own fondant for fear it might be too tricky, it really is very easy to make and work with and the taste is SO much better than commercial brands. Not to mention, it is very cost-effective. And practice will improve your mad mixing skillz. I’ve broken it down Canadian, metric-style, so you, too, can make great-tasting fondant, whether you use it to cover an entire cake or merely to add details.
All-Canadian Marshmallow Fondant
(Yields about 3 lbs fondant, enough to cover one two-layer 8″ or 9″ round or square cake or one 9″x13″ slab.) (Notice I used ‘lbs’ instead of the metric conversion? Shhh…)
- 2 x 250g bags white mini-marshmallows (use a good quality brand such as Jet Puffed)
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp clear vanilla
- 1 x 1kg bag icing sugar (about 8 cups), sifted
- 1/2 cup Crisco shortening for greasing surfaces, place in a very easily accessible bowl
- Icing color paste/gel (optional)
- 1 pair plastic food-grade gloves (optional, but certainly helps reduce stickiness on your hands and protects against the hot, melted marshmallows)
You will also need to fully grease these with shortening:
- Large 8-cup microwave-safe bowl (Pyrex)
- Rubber scraper
- Pastry scraper
Note: Marshmallows can get very hot, so handle carefully; another reason why I use gloves.
- First, prepare your bowl and rubber scraper by greasing with Crisco (vegetable shortening). You can also prepare your counter now by greasing your work area. Keep the shortening close by because you will need more as you go.
- Melt marshmallows, water and vanilla in a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl. To melt, place bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds on ‘high’, open microwave and stir, back in microwave for 30 seconds more, open microwave and stir again, and continue doing this until melted. It usually takes about 2 – 2 ½ minutes total.
- NOTE: If you want to color your fondant, you can add the gel coloring, a little at a time, to the melted marshmallow at this point and stir it in. This is only if you want all the fondant the same color and is ideal for red and black as they are difficult to knead into the fondant later to achieve the deep color. However, with red and black you need A LOT of coloring so maybe use 1 Tbsp less water.
- Place about 5 cups of the powdered sugar on the counter and make a well in the center. Make sure you do this far enough away from the edge of the counter so that you don’t end up with marshmallow dripping down your cupboard.
- Then carefully, but working quickly, pour the melted marshmallows into the well.
- If you haven’t done so already, grease your hands GENEROUSLY, even if you are wearing gloves, (palms, backs, and in between fingers).
- Start working the sugar into the marshmallow from the sides, kneading together carefully so the sugar doesn’t fly all over the place. As the mixture starts to come together, add sugar, one cup at a time, continuing to knead after each addition until the mixture is well combined. Using the pastry scraper, scrape up bits that have stuck to the counter and re-grease your hands and counter when the fondant starts sticking. Keep kneading, this stuff is sticky at this stage!
- STOP! You may not need to use all the sugar! Once you have used about 7 cups, you may notice the fondant has come together nicely and is no longer gooey. It should feel firm and smooth and if you poke it with your finger, your finger shouldn’t stick to it. If your finger sticks to the fondant, then add more sugar, a little at a time and blend. (High-tech, right?) Keep in mind that you will be adding extra sugar when rolling out the fondant so you don’t want it to be too dry to begin with.
- If the mix is tearing easily, it is too dry, so add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time) and then knead it in. It usually takes me about 10 minutes to get a firm, smooth, elastic ball that will stretch without tearing when you apply it to the cake.
- It is best if you can let it sit, double wrapped, overnight, particularly if you’ve coloured it so that the colour has time to set and deepen; however, 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. USE WATER SPARINGLY!
- Store the fondant icing by wrapping in plastic-wrap and then putting it in a Ziploc bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible.
- Your homemade marshmallow fondant will keep very well in the refrigerator for weeks, even months, if stored properly. Take advantage of the fact that this fondant icing can be prepared well in advance.