The Wonders of Marshmallow Fondant and Robotic Hearts

Confused by the title? Well let me explain... a few weeks ago I created a special cake for a very strong and amazing person to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of her heart surgery and 'robotic' heart. As an avid baker I have learned many lessons working with different ingredients and the focus of this cake was the icing. What would I use? classic buttercream? fondant? be understated and un-iced? unfortunately the last option would have only worked if I actually had a heart shaped pan but in this case it was 2 -8 inch rounds hacked into a heart looking shape. as you can imagine not the prettiest for presenting to a friend. Moving on, are you wondering what I used to make the smoothly finished cake below? Marshmallow! surprisingly easy to work with and a million times more tasty then traditional fondant and not to mention cheaper. With the use of some colour gels and a little imagination the marshmallow fondant was ready. <recipe below> 

And here is my friend KD with her finished cake! (unfortunately the lighting was wonky, but she sure looks happy!)

1 Package (500g) white mini-marshmallows (use a good quality brand)
2 to 5 tablespoons water
1 Package (aprox 500g) icing sugar
1/2 cup Crisco shortening (you will be digging into it so place in a very easily accessed bowl)


NOTE: Please be careful, this first stage can get hot.

Melt marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave or double boiler. To microwave, place 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. It usually takes about 2 1/2 minutes total.

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. (By the way, this recipe is also good for your hands. When I’m done, they are baby soft.)

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

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 icing can be prepared well in advance.

Now it’s time to start. Your cake should be baked, and completely cooled. If you have a shaped cake, you can trim it now and then place the cake on a prepared cake board. In other words, you are assembling the cake puzzle on the board. You can also place the cake on the board first and then trim (you must be extra careful not to damage the covered board). I personally find that shaping first is the easiest and then transferring the cake. 

Give the top and sides of the cake a nice thick 1/4-inch coating of Buttercream Icing (click on the underlined for buttercream icing recipe). NOTE: At first I was wondering why I needed to bother with this step. Well, there are a couple of reasons: The buttercream icing helps the fondant icing to “stick” to the cake and this cushion of undercoating icing helps to give you the beautiful smooth nearly perfect finish that you are looking for.

When you are ready to use the rested fondant icing, the first thing you need to do is decide what size you will need to roll your icing to.

Pre-shape your icing into approximately the shape of your cake. For a round cake, make a disk shape. For a rectangular make a log shape. 
For more details and pictures of rolling icing onto your cake visit Whatscookingamerica.net

Also, if you are wondering what the the cake inside was.. a double chocolate flavour with vanilla icing and caramel. Recipe coming soon!

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