Monday, July 27, 2009

How to Make Fondant Flowers

My daughter recently made a cake for a friend's bridal shower and was willing to share pictures on how it was done. She used a marshmallow fondant recipe one of my other daughter's picked up online, but you can use prepackaged fondant if you prefer and simply tint it whatever color you like.

Since she was working on a deadline and didn't have the usual petal and leaf cutout set made especially for these types of projects, she had to improvise and used the flower cut-outs.

Always remember that fondant dried out easily, so only work with a smal bit at a time, and keep the rest wrapped up tight in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out too quickly. She rolled out enough to cut six to eight pieces from at a time. Also, since she doesn't have a fondant rolling mat yet she used corn starch on the counter and rolling pin to keep the fondant from sticking. If the fondant got too dry to work with between rolling it out, she added a few drops of water to the small ball in her hand and worked it in. This can be messy and you don't want to add too much as it will make the fondant really sticky, but with care it can make the piece workable again.
She used the large cutout from the set and for the first row of petals cut out every-other petal.

This picture is really bad, but you can see she ran the toothpick through the cut peice, then wrapped it around the tip. Once she had the shape she wanted on the top petals, she pinched off the base part so the second set of petals would be even or nearly even with the inner row.

This is the second row of petals. She cut out one petal from the shape and added cut lines between the petals so they could overlap each other. when she slid it onto the toothpick, she also used a clean paintbrush from a kids' watercolor set that she bought just for fondant. She brushed a thin layer of water over the petals where they would overlap. Fondant will stick to itself easily with a touch of water. Be careful, though, not to let water drip on any parts that are going to be seen on the outside as water will leave marks behind to mar the surface.

For the third row she didn't cut any petals out, but still split the space between the petals. Then she took a toothpick and separated the petals and curved them back slightly to give them a slightly more realistic look. This really works best if you use thin pieces of fondant. These were rolled to 1/8 inch or thinner, but there may be some times when slightly thicker pieces will work fine.
Wile she was at it, she also made over 150 little flowers with the tiniest cutout in the set. Then she used the end of a chopstick (the fondant shaping foam and confectionarry tools would have bee much easier) and her finger to create a curve in the middle of the flowers.

If you're going to have roses, you obviously need leaves! Again, there were no cutters for leaves in stock, so she used the edge of a glass to cut each edge. If she had to do it again, she would have used a round cookie cutter because the glass didn't leave a crisp edge and they had to be trimmed with a knife to clean them up.

Next she used a toothpick to draw lines on the leaves.

Then she set everything out to dry since she made them several days in advance of the cake. Be aware that some colors fade a lot when the fondant dries. The pink faded to way less than half the original brilliancy as it dried, while the leaves only lightened a little bit.

A few days later she baked the cake, frosted it (crumb layer, then an outter layer), and rolled the purple fondant. Once that was ready, she used the toothpicks on the roses to stick the roses in the cake where she wanted them. If needed, they could have been cut off or trimmed back, but they were handy to creat the design she wanted.

The first of the small flowers were attached to the bottom of the cake with buttercream icing.

Then she used some yellow buttercream to put yellow dots in the flowers and the roses.

With a little extra playing, she finished up with the little flowers, tacking them and the leaves onto the cake with buttercream frosting. The green stems on the roses are also buttercream piped on with a small round tip, probably a #7. A slightly smaller circle tip, like a #4 made the dots in the flowers.

This cake was made using 2-8" round pans and it fit perfectly in one of these boxes.
Marshmallow fondant
1 16 oz package of mini marshmallows
1 Tbsp of water
2 tsp vanilla
Most of a 2 lb package of powdered sugar.
Heat the marshmallows slowly with the water and vanilla until they are melted, then begin encorporating the powdered sugar. You'll probably have about two cups of sugar left in your bag when the fondant reaches the right consistency. It's easiest to work with when it's a little warm, so if it gets cold, or you pull it out of the fridge to work with, zap in in the micro for 10-15 seconds to make it softer. Don't let it melt though!
This will make a pretty big batch of fondant, half a batch is generally enough for an eight-inch cake, unless you're doing fancy decorations with it, in which case you may need a bit extra. Another advantage of fondant is that it can be made in advance since it takes quite a bit of time to make and then tint it. The color has to be kneaded into the fondant, so it can take a while to reach the right color. It can also be kept for several weeks and then used if you have some left over. Tightly wrap any fondant in plastic wrap (some people suggest covering it with a light layer of shortening first) and then place in a zippered bag, taking as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing it. Many red colors will bleed into other balls of fondant, so make sure to wrap each color separately.

1 comment:

Danyelle Ferguson said...

absolutely gorgeous! I love the cake!!!