Fondant is used for decorating cakes (especially wedding cakes), cupcakes, and fancy cookies. It creates a beautiful and smooth covering that makes your homemade desserts look professionally made. Fondant is actually quite easy to work with, but store bought fondant is expensive and, in my opinion, doesn’t taste good. Homemade marshmallow fondant, however, is easy to make, is much more affordable, and tastes good. Thanks to the step-by-step photo instructions from this website, I was able to make my first wedding cake.
I definitely recommend making this fondant by hand. The first time I made marshmallow fondant, I used a stand mixer. Although I was able to use it for my 3-D penguin cookie, the texture of the fondant wasn’t stiff enough and couldn’t be rolled out properly. The second time I made it, I kneaded it by hand and it turned out the way that it was supposed to. I also learned that one must first sift the icing sugar for the best (ie. smoothest) result.
Marshmallow (MM) Fondant Recipe
makes enough to cover one round cake or a 9″ x 13″ rectangular cake; adapted from Peggy Weaver (I highly recommend her website for further details and instructions on how to cover a cake.)
16 ounces/454 g store bought white mini-marshmallows (Note: Use a good quality brand such as Kraft Jet Puffed; large marshmallows work too)
2 to 5 tablespoons water
2 pounds (at least) icing sugar, sifted
approx. 1/2 cup Crisco brand vegetable shortening (Note: It is important to use a good quality brand.)
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and set aside. Place the marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a heat safe bowl. Heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds and give it a quick stir using a rubber spatula. Repeat until the marshmallows are melted. This will take between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Place approximately 3/4 of the powdered sugar on top of the melted marshmallow. Then grease your clean work surface and your hands generously with the shortening. I used a silpat (silicone) mat as my work surface. Pour the marshmallow and sugar mixture onto your greased work surface with the help of a rubber spatula. Make sure that the mixture isn’t too hot before you start to knead it with your hands. Knead until the marshmallow and sugar are well mixed. Grease your hands with more shortening as needed. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and knead until the fondant is smooth and elastic. If it looks dry and tears too easily when stretched, then knead in a sprinkle of water at a time. It will take at least 8 minutes of kneading to get a firm, smooth elastic ball that stretches without tearing. If it is still too sticky after 15 to 20 minutes of kneading, add a bit more icing sugar. It is okay if your fondant is slightly sticky, because this will improve after resting and with a little bit of cornstarch prior to the rolling stage. Form the fondant into a ball, spread on a layer of shortening and wrap it in plastic syran wrap. Then place this in a ziploc bag and squeeze all of the air out. Let this sit at room temperature over night for best results, or store it in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
When you’re ready to use the fondant, knead it a bit so that the outside layer of shortening gets incorporated and make sure that you don’t see bits of powdered sugar in your fondant. If you do see bits of powdered sugar, or if the fondant tears too easily, knead in a sprinkle of water at a time. If the fondant is too stiff to knead from being in the refrigerator, you can microwave it for 10 seconds at a time as necessary. You want the temperature to be at least room temperature.
Lightly dust your clean work surface and your rolling pin with cornstarch. I used a silpat (silicone) mat as my work surface. Then roll out the fondant to your desired shape and size, keeping in mind that it should be larger than the cake that you want to cover and 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. A long, non stick rolling pin works best but a wooden one will work too. Sprinkle a very light dusting of cornstarch over the top surface of your fondant and rub it in gently with your hands. This will prevent it from being sticky and will allow you to use your fondant smoother (a plastic tool).
For covering a cake: Keep in mind that your cake must be completely cooled and already frosted with 1/4 inch of frosting. The frosting will act like a glue to hold the fondant to your cake. It will also help to give your cake a smoother finish. I like to start off with the cake already placed on a cake board or serving platter. Roll the fondant around your rolling pin or lift the fondant up while still flat using the silpat mat and gently place it on your cake, covering it gradually from one end to the other. Be sure to have excess fondant around all sides of your cake. Use your hands to adjust the fondant as necessary. Once your cake is completely covered, you can use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut the excess fondant off at a 45 degree angle along the edge of your cake, keeping in mind that the fondant may shrink a little and may leave the bottom of your cake line exposed. If this happens, you can always pipe a frosting border. If you see any air bubbles, use a sharp knife to pierce them from the side and then smooth out the hole using your fingers. Use your hands or a fondant smoother to smooth out the fondant covering and to shape it to your cake. Finish decorating the cake as desired. Store it in a box at room temperature until you are ready to serve. Although fondant by itself can be stored in the refrigerator, a fondant covered cake should not be placed in the refrigerator, because when it comes back to room temperature, moisture will condense and alter the fondant surface.
If you are decorating a cookie, lightly brush corn syrup onto the cookie before adding the fondant. You can use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of your rolled out fondant.