I knew at some point I would have to face it...I would come across a cake that would just be easier, and look better, if I used fondant. My son's sixteenth birthday was fast approaching and I planned to make him a guitar cake.
The problem is, I don't like the taste of fondant. It's like a chewy, blah tasting ball of clay. But I was browsing through cake decorating forums online and saw several posts about Marshmallow Fondant and how people prefer using it to the traditional fondant. I searched for Marshmallow Fondant, found a recipe at What's Cooking America, and decided to try it. I had all the ingredients (3), and it looked simple and quick to make. I also found a small batch recipe in the Wilton online forum very similar to this large batch recipe so I could just try it out.
Marshmallow Fondant Recipe - large batch (as posted on the What's Cooking America website)
16 ounces white mini-marshmallows (use a good quality brand)
2 to 5 tablespoons water
2 pounds icing sugar (please use C&H Cane Powdered Sugar for the best results)
½ 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: Put 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 ½ 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. If you have children in the room they will either laugh at you or look at you with a questioning expression. You might even hear a muttered, “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 is sticking. If the mix is tearing easily, it is to dry, so add water (about ½ tablespoon at a time 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's 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 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 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 can be prepared well in advance.
Now for my own personal notes: There are some guidelines to using fondant. Let me tell you that you should follow those guidelines. I can't tell you how many times I had to peel (scrape) fondant off my rolling mat only to start over. I noticed that as long as I was working with the fondant and didn't let it sit, it stayed moist and did not dry out. I have read that you can zap it in the microwave to soften it out but I did not have to do that (I have to admit I was a bit scared I would ruin it if I microwaved it anymore).
I did not use as much crisco as was suggested. Only when I was actually mixing the marshmallows and sugar together did I add some crisco to my spatula and my hands. Once the fondant formed a ball, I coated my hands and my work surface with cornstarch (powdered sugar did NOT work) and kneaded the ball.
The first couple batches I made were not flavored. They didn't taste bad, but they did taste like overly sweet marshmallows. I added some almond flavoring to the last batch and kneaded all the batches together. It tasted really good!
If you have any left over, place it in a ziploc bag and keep it refrigerated.
Only one person did not like the fondant. Others kept pulling pieces off the cake to eat like candy.
I iced the middle of the cake because I was worried the fondant wouldn't lend enough "moistness" to the cake like icing does (and my group is a bunch of icing fanatics).
I rolled the marshmallow fondant about 1/8 inch thick. It did really well and kept its shape. I think I used a bit too much cornstarch when I was rolling it out because you could see some "dry" areas of the fondant as I painted it. The color REALLY brought out the flaws. Maybe there was too much cornstarch because I had to keep re-rolling the fondant. Experts say to keep turning your fondant as you roll it so it won't stick. Listen to them. They are right.
If you have any Marshmallow Fondant tips to share, please post them in the comments section!
I just wanted to note that I made a large batch of the marshmallow fondant and kneaded it for a LONG time (about 10 minutes straight). Then I put it in a large ziploc bag and let it sit for about an hour before I pulled it out and kneaded it again for another 5 minutes. The fondant turned out to be much more smooth and elastic afterwards and was MUCH easier to work with. It didn't tear or crack. It stretched nicely.