When our kids began celebrating birthdays, we baked cakes and decorated them with butter cream icing. My husband was the patient one and would do the majority of the piping. We did several cakes that way, a Diego, a dinosaur, a car, even a United States map cake (our oldest has always been the studious type).
Somewhere in that time my husband and I became fans of Ace of Cakes. They do all these fantastic cakes using fondant. We decided that we would like to try it out when the next birthday came around.
When our oldest turned five last year, we took the fondant plunge. Much to our dismay, fondant was quite costly. A small box from Wal-Mart was about $12! But, we already had a plan in mind for his Angry Bird themed birthday, so we just purchased the box and went with it. The cake turned out fabulous and we had a ton of fun using the fondant to make the figures.
We had two months until our middle son's birthday and wanted to use fondant again, but we did not want to have to shell out the cash for the pre-made fondant. That's when I began the search for a homemade recipe to cut costs.
I was very excited to come across a recipe for fondant that seemed relatively simple (and cheap). We have used this recipe (and tweaked it a little) now for four birthdays.
This recipe (if you can call it that) is so simple. Honestly, there is two ingredients. Powdered Sugar and mini marshmallows. Well, three, if you count 2 TBSP water.
The recipe mentioned above calls for 8 oz of mini marshmallows. I go ahead and use an entire 10 oz bag. Add 2 TBSP water to a large bowl and fill with the marshmallows. Microwave on high for one minute. Take out the bowl and stir. Continue to heat the marshmallow in 30 second increments until all the lumps are gone. (Our wimpy microwave takes an additional couple minutes.)
Once marshmallows are smooth, add one pound of powdered sugar. (I know, it's a lot. But, hey, it IS a birthday!). I buy the two pound bag and just estimate half and pour it in. Mix fairly well with a rubber spatula.
It is very important to heavily dust your counter top with more powdered sugar. Think of this like the flour you would use to roll out pie dough with, except use more or the fondant will stick. Dump the mixture onto your surface and begin to knead as you would a bread dough. Knead until the fondant becomes smooth and not sticky to the touch. And, when in doubt, add more powdered sugar. This stuff can get VERY sticky!
When the fondant is finished, you add any food safe coloring of your choice. We purchased a box of Wilton's dye especially for cake decorating. Use the coloring very sparingly. A little goes a LONG way. We use a tooth pick to put the coloring on the fondant. Then just knead the dough to incorporate all the color.
My husband and I are by no means professional cake decorators, but we make cakes our little ones love and have a good time spending time making them together.
Our finished product for our little birthday boy!
(if by chance you have questions about using fondant, just ask! we have a few tricks .)