It's All About the FoodChristmas Baking with SusieJ

Recently in Shawn-n-Steve Category

As Shawn and Steve's wedding draws ever nearer (It's almost summer, and you know what comes after summer? Fall! And that means Halloween weddings!), it is time to try my hand at a fondant cake.

Well, actually, the plan was to take a class at Fantes, but, if you follow my tweets, you might remember that they started the class early, and they think they left a message on my phone, but I can't find it and learned of this only when I called a few days before the original start date to ask why I hadn't received an equipment list in the mail like I did for the last class. So, yeah, still pretty aggravated. And my knives are still dull, too.*

Panic ensued -- could I get into a class before the Fall? Is it possible to learn this stuff from books and the student guides you can buy on line? Thanks to the miracle of YouTube, you can learn how to smooth the damn stuff onto the cake -- something all the Wilton instructions gloss over.

This weekend saw the first fondant-covered cake from my kitchen. It was an acceptable first attempt. The fondant wrinkled terribly at the bottom, but was covered with a fondant haunted house, fondant gravestones, fondant grass, fondant ghosts, fondant stars, and a fondant moon. The covering was quick. The house and its landscaping took three hours. At the end, I jettisoned the planned black fondant roses in favor of cleaning the kitchen and taking out the recycling. And a gin and tonic.

The cake was also a test: Rose Levy Berenbaum's genoise moistened with almond syrup, then covered in vanilla mousseline buttercream**. Cake test successful, but the fondant ...

My six-year-old son loves eating fondant. He also loves to eat sugar from the canister, and says he's eaten an ant. The chocolate smells chocolatey. But in the end, the fondant was just chewy sugar. By the last piece of cake, I'd peeled all the fondant off and scraped the buttercream off it. I used Duff's purple (made by another well-known fondant manufacturer, although I've seen conflicting stories on whether it's Fondariffic or Satin Ice) for the deep color, Wilton white (left from the lightsaber experiment) and Wilton chocolate (to dye black). None was tasty.

On the other hand, fondant is so easy to work with, no wonder so many decorators and bakers love working with it. Because it has the consistency and forgiveness of playdough, it's much easier to get a good-looking result than with buttercream.

As long as you can ignore the taste.

* Fantes sharpens knives, and as I don't trust myself, I usually take a sackful of cutlery to the Italian Market once a year.

** RLB's mousseline buttercream from The Cake Bible is, even with the sugar syrup, and amazingly easy and fast buttercream. It's so very smooth, and so very rich. The lightness of the cake and the small amount of buttercream RLB recommends using kept it from being overwhelming.

    You can follow me @ChristmasBaking on Twitter.

    Powered by Movable Type 4.32-en