So my mom’s 49th birthday is today, and I decided to surprise her with a cake last night when I drove home to vote. I had never made a cake on my own before, let alone a cake from scratch, let alone a cake from scratch with fondant. But, I decided to try.
I started by making the cake, buttercream icing, and fondant at Chris’ house over the weekend (because college dorms aren’t known for their kitchens). I didn’t have my camera with me, so no pictures of that joyous experience 😦
Suggestions: use cake flour when it says to use cake flower (thanks, Janet! It turned out great!) and DOUBLE the icing recipe. Maybe even triple just to be safe. I needed every scrap of the doubled recipe to cover two 9″ circle layers, and I would’ve liked to have more.
I used a marshmallow fondant recipe from Wilton. All you need is water, a 16 oz. bag of mini marshmallows, Crisco, and a 2 lb. bag of powdered sugar.
Based on previous users’ comments on a similar recipe on allrecipes.com–well, I was pretty intimidated. It seemed like people either had a great experience making it or they hated it and the whole project fell apart. I had no idea on which side I would end up.
But as it turned out, putting the fondant together went without a hitch! They mean it when they say to have lots of Crisco on hand though.. It started off as a sticky mess but I kept mixing in powdered sugar and it seemed to magically come together!
Suggestion: Just mix it by hand. I read about so many mixers breaking because the fondant gets so thick. You’ll put more work into it, but you’ll feel proud and you’ll still have a working mixer.
So I put the cake together Monday evening in my dorm’s living room. The couch worked pretty well as a staging area…
Icing the cake was the easiest part. And even that was kind of hard, because I almost ran out! It was the fondant that I was most worried about, though. I made it beforehand and it seemed to turn out fine, but I was worried about how it kept overnight and how the dying process would go. When I took the fondant out of the bag, it was nearly impossible to work with. But some women on allrecipes.com and Wilton suggested microwaving it for 10 seconds to soften it a little. They were right! I just had to take my time and keep working with it. After it softened enough, and after I put GLOVES on, I started adding gel dye little by little until it was the shade of yellow I wanted. This whole process took about an hour, and I was so tired afterward! Kneading really takes it out of me, apparently.
Next: the part that probably scared me most. Actually getting this wonderful ball of fondant onto the cake. I read horror stories about people that thought their fondant was great, but it cracked or separated when they rolled it out and put it on the cake.
I saw someone do it successfully in a YouTube video though.. she just rolled it onto a rolling pin and then transferred it over to the cake. It looked easy, but nevertheless, I was terrified. I stared at it for a good 10 minutes…
…and decided to just try it! I mean, it’s for my mom. If it’s not perfect, she’ll still love me, right? So onto the rolling pin it went, and then onto the cake!
I think it was at this point that I realized what I was doing may actually work. It kinda looked like it was supposed to.. Kinda felt like it was supposed to.. all that was left was smoothing the sides, cutting off the extra and decorating! I rolled out the leftover white fondant to make flowers with cookie cutters for the top and sides, and used a vanilla extract cap to cut out the flower centers. (I called it being too lazy to cut them out individually. My mom called it creative. The secret? It was Chris’ idea!)
Fun Fact: if you’re trying to stick fondant to fondant, just wet the back of the cutout with less than a drop of water and press it on. It worked like glue. Perfect. All that was left to do was to stick all my decorations onto the cake and hope it didn’t fall to pieces overnight!
Annnnnd from the top:
I was pretty excited about the result, I hope my mom was too. The best part? It tasted delicious!
Thanks to the Andersons for letting me use their kitchen, and taste-testing everything along the way 😉
And Chris, for his patience putting up with my craziness and spilling-stuff-everywhere-ness and for being a genius.
And my Dad for keeping a secret.
And my Mom for being awesome.
Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!!