Monday, July 20, 2009
The Power of Fondant - Fondant Attempt - Take 2
(Cue the dramatics) - I'll just say it, I have issues people! LOL. What is it about fondant that can bring a grown woman to tears? I mean come on, in the end it's just cake people! But yep that was me over the weekend. After my first fondant attempt last weekend, Will showed the cake to one of his co-workers (which is one of the sweetest people you will ever want to meet), and she ask if I could make a cake for her sisters birthday. The butter cream part of me screamed - "Sure no problem" and then I learned she wanted a two tiered fondant covered cake - UGH- the sick in the pit of your stomach feeling took over. The confidence turned from "Sure, no problem!!!!! to sure......no problem.... As you know this would only make this my second attempt at a fondant cake and NEVER have I had to stack heavy tiers on top of one another which meant supporting the cake by inserting dowel rods. I was a mess with worry to say the least. Then on top of all of that, "if" I ended up pulling the whole thing off, I had to worry about carrying it down 3 flights of stairs, and drive pass 5,000 speed bumps to get out of our complex. "If" we made it that far, we were left with driving a half an hour in a manual transmission car, on the freeway to deliver the cake, so sure......no problem.....
But I am happy to report all’s well that ends well. As you can see I pulled it off. Not to say that MANY "heart attack moments” didn't pop up along the way. My first issue, the fondant was sticking to my counter in the worst way. So I added powdered sugar BUT if I continued to add powdered sugar so that it wouldn't stick, it would quickly dry it out (okay and I'm sure the location of the central air vent in our kitchen blowing right on it didn't help matters), but I discovered you MUST make sure you surface is clean and I when I say clean I mean clean, clean. I think I was just wiping the surface thinking it was clean BUT you could feel powdered sugar residue left over from the previous rolling. Plus I needed to roll out a larger piece than I had ever previously done due to the fact that it was a tiered cake. After numerous attempts both cakes were covered. I'm not sure if it's just me but that is the worst part in my opinion. After the cakes are covered I totally love the decorating part of it. The next stressor was the adding of the dowel rods to give support when you stack the cake. It becomes so heavy with fondant that you don't want to have the bottom layer collapse when you place the top tier onto the bottom cake. First, you need to cut the dowels just right, about 1/16th lower than the cake is what I did, and you need to place them just slightly inside the perimeter of where the top cake will be placed. MAN, someone should warn you how stressful cake decorating can be; it was like me being a new surgeon operating for the first time. Will was my "assistant" handing me the dowel rods and cheering me on. Just watching yourself insert the rods into the bottom cake (and therefore destroying the flawless finish you just spent forever creating) and hoping you measured correctly is nerve wracking to the fullest extent. Next came placing the top tier onto the bottom, (or in layman’s terms - waiting for the bottom cake to collapse when you let go.....) My "assistant" had the important job of watching to see if any bulging occurred, and the first sign of it I wanted him to say "problem" and I would quickly remove the top as to save at least one half of the cake from total destruction. But guess what? It didn't happen!!! Next came Will wiping sweat from my brow, and me placing the center dowel rod down through the entire thing. If I made it through this I was going to celebrate with a nice margarita or two or three. Much to my surprise it went much smoother than my nerves would ever allow me to believe it could be. I had to just step back at that point and say "I did it”!!! I was so excited I think I cried happy tears. :) Sure there are a few minor flaws I have to work out and things I really would have been "better" with the cake but overall I guess for the stepping into to virgin cake baking territory (I’ve never taken a cake decorating class in my life) I didn't do too bad, did I?
Okay here is my list of questions for the fondant fans.....
* Other than the counter having some residue, is there anything else that could be making it stick? I am using the Marshmallow fondant recipe as seen here.
* I noticed that I got a few air bubbles even after I smoothed it out, any tips on how NOT to have that happen?
* What do you do it you accidentally mark the fondant after it is on the cake - like a finger nail scrap as you put the decorations on to the cake. Is there a way to smooth it out?
* How do I achieve a more realistic bow affect? I tried and still don't totally like how my bow creation turned out despite following an absolutley AWESOME bow making tutorial here (if you are a baker/cake maker you MUST check out there site for the most amazing software to assist you in running your business.)
* How long do you wait until you put ribbon on the bottom of the cake if you are indeed doing that so that it doesn't appear that it is bulging over the ribbon (and I also think I put it on too tight).
In the end, I did what I set out to do; I baked it, assembled it and transported it all in one piece, AND still lived to write this post. I guess it's true what they say, what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. I promise I’ll be back shortly with an actual recipe. Thanks to all who got this far in the post for my “therapy session”. You can all send me your bill in the mail.
Oh and on a side note - how many times can I say fondant and tiers in one post? I think I just set the record. :)