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Monday, February 14, 2011

Week Six - Fondant

This blog post is late, but the project for week 6 was on time.  I promise.

Okay, so you know how the 52 Weeks of Projects resolution officially says "knit or sew" one project a week? Well I changed the parameters for this week only.  For week six, the parameters are Any New-To-Me Creative Project.  Given that caveat, this week's project was created for my youngest son's fifth birthday.  I had too much going on to get ready for his birthday to do both a cake and a project, so here we are.

Every year, I make special cakes for my boys for their birthdays.  The cakes never look professional, but I am fairly happy with the results, as a general rule.  But I always, always, use icing.  This year I wanted to make a minion from Despicable Me, and it just needed to be smooth.  So I tried my hand at fondant.

And I must have done it right because while it looked okay, it tasted like sweet chalk.

Which is how every bite of fondant I have ever tried has tasted.

This cake was a challenge, for while it seemed a simple design, the cake batter was very, very delicate.  As soon as I trimmed a section of cake, it became very crumbly.  So crumbly that the icing I covered it with (to go under the fondant), peeled right off if I tried to smooth it.   It got very frustrating, very fast.  However, once I gave up and just covered it with fondant, the bulk of the cake came together quickly.  I did have to improvise the eye, but my sister and husband saved the day on that.  Apparently they had so much fun that they also took over design of the mouth.  I think they did a great job!

I will probably never make fondant again.  Even though this did have a nice flavor (lemon marshmallow), it still had an unpleasant consistency.  Everyone just peeled it off the cake or ate around it.

What I liked about this project:

  • I like that I learned a new technique, but I think that goes without saying. 
  • I like that I got to share the experience with my family.  My mother and sister, and even, at times, my husband, watched with bemused expressions while I turned a pile of confectioners sugar and molten marshmallows into a thick putty.  My mother was especially worried about the food coloring staining her counter tops. (It didn't, thank goodness!)  
  • I liked that fondant became an achievable product with this recipe.  I always see the cake decorators use it on TV and it looks lovely, and so difficult.  Mine was nowhere near perfect, but I can see how I could get better with practice.  If only fondant tasted good.  Cake should taste good!
  • And I liked the look on my son's face when he saw the cake.  "It's a Minion!"  That shout told me I did something right.

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