I hate the taste of store-bought fondant. It’s like a sugary plastic that sacrifices flavor for shelf-life stability. I also know I’m not alone in this opinion! But at the same time, the aesthetic of fondant is so pleasant that you can’t help but want to use it. Fear no more, you can make your own fondant that is 1) cheaper 2) tastes better and 3) is surprisingly easy to make.
All my thanks to Nadiya from S3 of GBBO for the concept that handmade fondant is possible through marshmallows. She used it to win that Showstopper challenge and also that episode in particular makes me cry every time I watch it. It’s a good show, you guys.
Using a Wilton recipe (they sell fondant, why on earth are they giving out a better and cheaper recipe for free?), I amassed my ingredients:
- 1 package (16 ounces) white marshmallows (mini or normal, both work)
- Water (measured by TBSP)
- 2 pounds (about 8 cups) sifted confectioners’ sugar
- Tub of vegetable shortening
- Plastic wrap
Before starting, just cover half your kitchen table in plastic wrap and grease it up with vegetable shortening. Believe me on this one.
- Melt marshmallows + 2 TBSP water in the microwave in the biggest microwave-safe bowl you have. 30 second intervals are advised, but these can increase up to 45 seconds if you have standard sized marshmallows. Mix between intervals with a big wooden spoon so that everything gets melted thoroughly, and add more water (1-2 TBSP) if needed
- After melted, take bowl out of the microwave and add 6 cups of confectioners sugar (or 3/4 of the sugar, in case you’re eyeballing it) to the marshmallow mixture. Incorporate the sugar by folding the mixture over itself a million times until it reaches a stretchy, dough-like stage.
- Turn out the marshmallow-sugar mixture onto the shortening-covered plastic wrap. Make sure you have the remaining sieved confectioners sugar close by
- Grease up your hands. Do it.
- Knead the mixture, which should help blend in any confectioner’s sugar you mixed. Try to not create air bubbles. I used wedging techniques from my clay classes to try to get out any existing air bubbles.
- Add in the remaining 2 cups of confectioners sugar gradually, kneading it in with your extremely greasy hands. You may have to regrease at this point.
- Once entirely incorporated, wrap the plastic wrap around the mixture and chill it in the fridge until you need to use it.
As noted, the bane of your fondant-making experience is likely to be air bubbles. You can also go through and poke any bubbles you see to release the air pocket as you continue kneading.
Ding ding! Time to use the fondant! Take it out of the fridge and place on the counter-top.
Hopefully, you have a very white pomelo-sized ball of marshmallow that tastes sweet but doesn’t smell vaguely chemical like the storebought stuff.
The most important feature of the fondant is that it stretches without breaking, but chilled fondant sometimes takes a while to recover that property at room temperature. Wait a bit, kill time by throwing down a ton of plastic wrap (no shortening this time, use powdered sugar instead), and get out a rolling pin.
If you want to use your fondant for sculptural purposes, your journey ends here. Keep going for tips on rolling fondant.
Roll out the fondant, poking air bubbles as you go. Don’t let the fondant get too warm or it will stick to the plastic wrap, which you can mitigate by putting down confectioners sugar. I recommend about a 1cm thickness.
Hopefully you have a cake to put it on. Make your buttercream as smooth as possible to make sure the fondant has a smooth finish. Drape fondant over a buttercream-coated cake. I did this by scooting my hands under the rolled fondant and throwing it on top of the cake. Smooth out creases and bubbles with the back of a big spoon (because we all don’t have those fancy smoothers that the instagram cake people have). Trim the excess with a sharp knife.
Tadah! Mine turned out a little lumpy due to the buttercream underneath, but that’s what decoration is for!
The fondant keeps for about a week in the fridge, wrap tight to make sure the air doesn’t dry it out. Happy decorating!