It used to be the case that fondant was too expensive but with the popularity of baking on the rise, it has become much cheaper and more common these days. The average 500g bag of white fondant costs £1.39 but when you break a bag of fondant into its basic ingredients, it is just sugar and water. It is this combination of icing sugar and water that many use to take a standard cake into a phenomenal cake.
I have already made a guide to USING fondant icing and you can read it here.
If I was a keen cake decorator, I would be cycling my way through bags of fondant every week however I am not the biggest fan of fondant. Too many people keep it too thick and it becomes incredibly sickly. I am a firm believer that fondant should be used sparingly to enhance a cake, not become the cake. Whenever I do use it I make a very small batch of fondant by hand and there are many advantages to this, I have found:
- You can control the texture much more easily
- Smaller batches are a lot easier to work with
- It is much cheaper and reduces wasting the whole packet
If you search for homemade fondant on the Internet, most recipes will return marshmallow fondant and reading the recipe and seeing how it’s done, this version is much simpler. There’s no need to wait for it to cool down and my fondant is pretty well instant. You can make this around 4 hours in advance, as long as it is kept at room temperature and not exposed directly to air.
To colour this fondant, take a small ball of fondant and shape it into a sausage that comes to a point. Dip it into the food colouring paste and knead it into the whole mixture. If you overdo the colour and need to lighten it up, add white fondant as this neutralises the strength of the colour.
Here’s my guide on how to make your own fondant in less than 15 minutes. This is enough to make 75g of fondant.
75g icing sugar
3 x 5ml cold water
A range of food colouring pastes
Clean your work surface well and ensure it is dry. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and then cover the tray loosely with clingfilm. Set aside.
Add the icing sugar into a bowl and add 1 teaspoon (5ml) of the water. Mix until it comes together into a ball, adding more drops of water as required. The final fondant should feel soft and pliable and not sticky on the outside. Place under the clingfilm until you need to use it.
To make fondant carrots, you will require red, yellow and green food colouring pastes.
Take one quarter of the fondant and colour it a rich green stalk colour. Shape the fondant into a long sausage and divide it lengthways down the centre and cut each sausage up into 16 pieces. Place them under the clingfilm and dust the surface lightly with icing sugar.
Take 2 pieces and shape into a rounded rectangle. Taking a table knife, cut about halfway down whilst pinching the uncut end to create the stalk of the carrots and return under the clingfilm while you repeat for the rest of the stalks, ending up with 16 in total.
For the carrots, colour the remaining fondant a rich carrot orange by using an equal mix of red and yellow. Divide the fondant into 12 pieces and shape each piece into a long triangle. With the table knife, make a small slit at the unpointed edge and slot the stalk in, pressing the fondant together if necessary. Make small creases on the carrot using the back of the knife. Place under the clingfilm until you need to use it.
There are many other methods including this beautiful tutorial from fellow baker and food blogger Becky Chester (@Becksbake) who blogs at https://becksbake.wordpress.com/