Monday, March 17, 2008

First Fondant Lesson? Check!

Even though I'm going to make my wedding cake on my own, I want it to look classy and (dare I say?!) professional. After deciding on wedding cupcakes, I began looking for design ideas and to see what other fall wedding cakes were out there. Do you know you could waste a whole day online googling wedding cakes? Not to mention the hours upon blissful hours one can lose at Barnes and Noble sipping a latte and perusing wedding cake magazines or watching the cake decorators' challenge on the Food Network!

I think the most polished and professional-looking cakes by far are the ones decorated with fondant. Fondant can be colored in any hue, molded to any shape, and just has that clean beautiful look that makes it such a perfect match for wedding cakes. I love the cakes and cupcakes I've seen in my research with fondant fall leaf cut outs painted with luster dust and the like. So next mission: learn how to create fondant decorations for each one of my 100+ cupcakes without losing my mind. Or going broke. Or scaring my fiance.

My first inkling was to sign up for a professional class. Most of the craft stores in my area offer the Wilton 3 class and also the fondant class. The only problem with those classes is that they are spread out over 4 consecutive Saturdays. I travel about twice a month for my job, and Saturdays I often find myself sitting in an airport. So the traditional method just wasn't gonna work for me. Hmmmm....

I have to tell you, it's been a lot of fun meeting and getting to know the old friends of my fiance. One of his best friends has a lovely wife who, I learned, makes cakes in her spare time. She graciously agreed to show me the ropes of working with fondant last weekend.

So we packed the dog in the car and headed 3 hours north to the woods to meet with the wonderful and gracious Lauri. While the men drank beer on the couch, we got down to the business of coloring, cutting, and sculpting fondant leaves.

For those of you who have never worked with fondant - do not be afraid! Did ya ever work with playdoh as a kid? OK! You're qualified to be a fondant guru. Really! I was shocked at how easy it is to use the gel food coloring to color the fondant, roll it out using the plastic fondant rollers, make leaf veins with -yes!- a toothpick, and sculpt the edges of the leaves to add dimension using these plastic fondant tools and a simple sponge. Within about 2 hours, we had cut about 40 leaves out and had a lot of fun in the process. I even got brave and marbled a few leaves by mixing 3 or 4 colors together.

Admittedly, the results were not perfect. We didn't make the colors all that fall-like (just didn't want to use all the food coloring necessary to get the deep browns and maroons) and my layer cake was a little lumpy and the frosting uneven. But it was a GREAT start to my journey, and I hope to find a lot of excuses to make cupcakes over the next few months to practice all my techniques until they are second nature!

Here are a few pics from the cake. Unfortunately I took them with my cell phone, so they're a little fuzzy. Lesson learned! The next pics will be with my fancy-schmancy digital camera. Enjoy!


evil cake lady said...

Congrats! I've never worked with fondant so it is nice to hear that is isn't so hard. And even though you didn't go all out decorating the leaves, they look very pretty on your cake!

And hey, thanks for sticking me in your blogroll! I'll reciprolink you here in a minute. I look forward to reading all about your adventures in cupcake baking, and hopefully more about your wedding. One of my best friends crafted most of her wedding herself--the invites, the table runners, the placecard/gifts, her bouquet, the thank you cards, etc. She had the same goal as you do: to save money in order to have great food, which we did.

By the way, I don't know if you thought about how your are going to bake up all those cupcakes in a timely manner. May I suggest using the foil cupcake liners? They are study enough to stand up without needing a cupcake tin, so you can bake between 18-24 cupcakes on a baking sheet at one time. It saved my sanity when I baked cupcakes for a party.


CaraCakes said...

I tried just the foil liners for my latest post. They worked great! Thanks for the idea!