Fondant is something I have a love hate relationship with. Basic, store bought fondant, while technically edible, tastes nasty. For me, if I’m going to go to the effort of making a cake, I want it to taste good. Every part of it. After my first couple of times using the store bought garbage, I started to do some research and found a recipe I really like. It is still crazy sweet, but it actually tastes good. My kids love it. MC often eats that and the icing and leaves the cake.
That said, it is kind of a finicky recipe. Easy to make, but not so easy to get just right. I say that because fondant really kind of needs to be perfect to do certain things. If you want to cover a cake, it needs to be smooth. It needs to be soft enough to roll out and not crack, but still firm enough to not fall apart when you pick it up to cover your cake. If you want to mold it, again, soft enough to shape and not crack, but it has to be firm enough that it doesn’t droop over time (a problem I tend to have).
Marshmallow Fondant Recipe
1 16oz Bag of White Mini-Marshmallows
3 Tbs Water
2 lbs Powdered Sugar
1 /3 C. Shortening
1 tsp. Flavoring (Normally Vanilla)
Additional Shortening for Surfaces and Hands
Cornstarch to roll out and work with finished fondant
Coat all surfaces/utensils with shortening to prevent sticking. In a medium sized uncoated pan (stainless steel/copper/aluminum – no non-stick materials), melt marshmallows and water over low/medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Add flavoring when completely melted.
Hand Mix Method:
Coat counter with thin layer of shortening. Using about 1/2 of powdered sugar, create a well or bowl on counter. Cover hands in shortening or use shortening coated gloves. Pour melted marshmallow into well and begin to mix with sugar. Mixture will be HOT! Gradually add sugar and 1/3 cup of shortening as needed until mixture incorporates all sugar and is no longer sticky. Finished fondant should be firm, but pliable.
Using a heavy duty stand mixer with a dough hook, coat bowl and hook in shortening. Pour about 1/3 of sugar in bowl. Add about 1/2 of shortening and melted marshmallows. Mix slowly, gradually adding sugar and scraping sides of bowl until ball forms and is no longer sticky. Add remaining shortening as needed. Should incorporate all of the sugar.
Wrap in plastic wrap or sealed container to keep from drying out. Freeze any unused fondant.
I have learned a couple of lessons working with this recipe over the years. One is to watch the marshmallows carefully when melting. If you start to stick because you’ve not stirred enough or have the heat too high, DO NOT scrape anything that really sticks to the bottom or you are going to have these tiny weird pieces in your fondant. It is the same with kneading in the sugar. If you have particularly lumpy sugar, sometimes, you end up with tiny sugar chunks. Both of these things ruin this for cake covering. You could potentially still use it for molding, but that is about it.
The other, and probably biggest help I’ve found, is corn starch. I tried using both powdered sugar and shortening to keep this from sticking when I working with it, but both continue to work into the fondant the more you work with it, changing the texture. Using cornstarch is an absolute lifesaver. You can still work in too much and make the fondant too stiff or get it too dry it cracks, but it takes a whole lot more to get it to that point. It also gives a matte finish to the fondant if you prefer that look, though even that doesn’t do much if it is too warm or humid.
This batch I just made is the first time I ever mixed this up using my stand mixer. It is my new favorite way of doing this as both batches came out amazing. AND… it didn’t take a half an hour of kneading for each batch. The mixer did all the work and I was done with 2 batches in no time.
Oh! And always, always, ALWAYS pay attention to the package size of those marshmallows! It took me getting ticked that this recipe never came out the same about half a dozen times before I realized I was getting different amounts of marshmallows (my original recipe didn’t specify a size, just a bag of marshmallows so I never thought to look).
The last thing I’ve learned is that if I’m using this to cover a cake, do NOT roll it too thin. I’m still trying to figure out the absolute best thickness, but I tend to go too thin making it harder to work with, especially on larger cakes.
Besides actually tasting good, this takes color really well. I always use the gel icing colors. Starting with a small amount and kneading in until it is completely blended and adding more until I get the color I want. This also stores beautifully in the freezer, something I love since I always make way more than I need to ensure I have enough to mix colors and not run out.
I’m pretty sure that the store bought fondants aren’t quite as finicky to work with as this is, but it is something I’m willing to put up with if it tastes good.