Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vegan Fondant

I must have been about four or five when my parents held a ceremony
to renew their vows. This was more out of a desire to hold an actual
wedding than for real renewal purposes.

I don’t remember much of the whole experience, just bits and pieces.
I do remember that it was in Vegas, my Mom made my dress, my brother and
I were constantly sneaking out of the hotel room down to the pool when
our grandparents snoozed off... and the cake.

My parents made their own fondant. Unfortunately, when I tried to
pick my Dad’s brain about it. He couldn’t remember entirely what they
used in it. I particularly wanted to replicate that taste and scent.

I’m going to keep working with fondant, but I think this is a good
place to start offering up what I’ve done. I’m starting to think
that maybe my Dad used marzipan, but who knows.

I’ve never been too much of a cake person, not enough a cookie gal.
I was more into the dough, which is scary looking back at all the
non-vegan cookie dough that I’ve probably consumed in my lifetime.
I’ve always enjoyed decorating cookies and cakes though. I love
sculpting and shaping little things. I used to make all sorts of
little ornaments and beads out of fimo(?) dough.

This cake was for my Monkey-Man and the first time I have ever ever
covered a cake in fondant. I wanted it to be a surprise and since
his chosen theme was dinosaurs-- this is what followed.

Let me warn you that this is only the beginning and the adventure
will only get crazier than this...

I baked the cakes in a glass bowl to get the semi circle and frosted
them with a basic cream frosting. Always make your cakes at least a
half day before, so you’re frosting will be smooth and the cake will
hold up.

Super Simple Vegan Fondant

1/2 cup sugar (corn or other syrup)
1/2 cup earthbalance or vegetable shortening
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1lb bag of vegan powdered sugar
+ about an additional half bag for kneading

I tried to make a boiled fondant without my candy thermometer on
hand, but failed and resorted to this. I will retry the boiled again
when I am equipped.

First whip all the ingredients, except the sugar together. Then add
the sugar, a little at a time so that it remains smooth. Add just
enough to get it to a point that you can knead it.

Sprinkle your clean counter top with sugar and knead the fondant,
adding in sugar to keep it from getting sticky, for about 15 minutes--
until firm and glossy.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight to ripen.

The next day when your are getting ready to prep your colours and/or
additional flavors, remove the fondant and cut into portions.

I made a bunch of different colours, incase I thought up something I
wanted to do later. But most importantly I wanted a basic skin to cover
the cake and shape into a head.

You can use a glove, but mine didn’t hold up that long and you may
be kneading for a while. Take the fondant you want to colour or
specific flavor and shape it to receive a couple drops. You won’t
need that much flavor extract, but you will have to keep adding food
colouring until you get the shade you want. Keep sugar on hand to
prevent it from sticking to everything as you knead in your colour/flavor.

Store again (airtight) in the fridge, until you are just about to use
it. The fondant will dry out, so work quickly if you can. Keeping your
workspace well powder with sugar or cornstarch is essential.
Once the fondant sticks or starts to tear in a spot you have to start
over and roll it out again.

I stupidly folded it before placing it over the first cake I covered
(green) and got a nasty crack across the whole thing. The second came
out much smoother- see what practice does for a gal?

Putting the fondant over a frosted cake gives it something to adhere to.
Your frosting is the glue, but don’t use glaze because fondant doesn’t
take to moisture well. And don’t think you can patch a spot with water.

Water will dissolve your fondant. If you have to try that, I’d use
shortening in an emergency.

From there on, you’re just shaping little bits and sticking them on.
Once the fondant is warmed from your hands, it will stick on fine.
I mentioned before that I was working fairly quickly and if I had time
to slow down, the result would have been much smoother and cleaner.

Keeping it out before serving will let it harden completely.
This was so much fun, I can’t wait for another birthday!!

... or maybe an ‘UnBirthday’!??
Tea Party anyone?

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