Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

Ok, well, I have used fondant in the past, and was not successful, but have not given up. I used it again this past week, and more problems. Not sure what I am doing wrong, so let me start from the beginning:

 

My cake idea was for a two tier cake. Bottom would be 10 inch, top was a 6 inch. Cake was double stacked with only one layer of filling. Didn't want to go too high. It was the Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake (Very Moist) filled with Cream Cheese frosting, drizzled with Chcocolate Ganache, and topped with fresh strawberries. Then the whole thing was dirty iced with Cream Cheese frosting. I place both cakes in the fridge overnight to set. The next day I iced with Cream Cheese, smoothed sides and top, and placed back in the fridge overnight. At this point I was pretty proud of myself for doing such a good job on the smoothing. Patted myself on the back a little too early.

 

I noticed my wooden rolling pin had a curve to it over many years of use, and decided to go buy a PVC pipe at the local hardware store. Washed it real good to make sure it was sterile, and was ready to go to town. Started to roll out the fondant (Satin Ice Pink Fondant) on my Ateca Silicon Mat. I made sure I kneaded what I needed, and it had that Play-Doh like feel to it. I was really excited cause it seemed to me things were going to be good. No Powdered Sugar, No Corn Starch as per a video I saw with Julie Bashore on the Satin Ice website. (Trust me, I had issues with the PS last year.) So it took me a while but I was going as fast I could to get it rolled out since I know time is important, and got it out to about a 20 inch circle (cake was 10 inch and with 4 inch sides came out to 18 so decided to play it safe and go with 20 inches).

 

Got it ready, moved my mat, pulled the cake out of the fridge, and layed the mat on top of the cake. Started to peel, and it kept tearing on the sides. Would not come off clean from the mat at the edges. I was hoping it would get better, but kept getting worse. I decided to keep going. Got the mat off, and moved out of the way. I noticed the air bubbles on the top and started to smooth with the palm of my hand as instructed by so many tutorial videos, but this was not happening. The top was very sticky, tacky, and seemed to be almost like it was wet. The only thing I can think of was the cold cake/icing was causing the fondant to absorb some condensation. Not sure. I decided to move onto the sides since I was planning to put decorations on the top and would cover the air pockets.

 

Sides had same issue. Tried to lift and and lay flat to get the so called "Pleats" that were forming out, but it was so sticky/tacky, that the fondant was sticking to anything it touched. I thought maybe it had to do something with the heat of my hands so got out my fondant smoother from Wilton, and that was worse. It wanted to stick to that and started to pull to tear in different spots. So, I decided to make the best of it, and just leave the pleats. I tried to smooth them out, and pretended they were drapes.

 

The longer I had the cake out, it was getting this almost gooey appearance to it, so while I was getting my decorations together, I put it back in the fridge. I cut a strip of fondant to put around the bottom tier to hide the areas that had torn while pulling the fondant to get it to lay flat. Put my decorations on, and got it back in the fridge.

 

Luckily for me the decorations looked so good that it drew the attention away from all the issues. I was not happy, and felt I failed my daughter on her birthday cake, which made me upset, sad, and frustrated. She did give me a big hug, and told me it was her best cake ever, which helped out. Not to mention that so many at her party were impressed at the gumpaste roses I made (for the first time BTW), so I guess it wasn't so bad.

 

I am just not sure what happened. Was it the Cream Cheese frosting since it is creamy and not as hardening as Buttercream? Buttercream had way too much of a sweet taste which is why I didn't use it, but should that have been used instead? Was the cake too long in the fridge? Did I not work the fondant correctly? I am just a little frustrated since I see so many people use it and talk about how easy it is to use. Not sure what to do, but I do know this, I don't give up. Trying to find a way to do this without all the headaches. I wasn't originally going to post a pic of the cake, but I have posted it anyway only cause of the roses I made. It is under my photos section on my profile. Thanks for any advice in advance.

 

- J.D.

 

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Thanks Kevin!! I have seen the MM fondant out there in the forums, but not too sure about it. I will have to give it a shot inbetween cakes to just give it a try. Maybe I will test it out on one of our weekend BBQs with just the family. I will get the recipe from this website, and see how it goes.

 

- J.D.



Kevin Jackson said:

J.D.       I think you may want to try (MMF) marshmallow fondant. It is sooooo much tastier than any of the pre-made fondant you can purchase. It's easy to make, easy to color, flavor,  and work with. Like you I haven't been decorating cakes that long and am self-taught, but I have to say the MMF saved my sanity!!! Don't give up and just keep trying. Good luck!!!!

Thanks Cindy!! It is frustrating some times, but failure is not an option, so I will keep trying to get it right. I have seen the video you are referring to, and will probably order it soon. It looks pretty amazing, and a lot easier for those of us who are not experts with fondant. I am going to give the MMF a try. I have also looked into getting a small portable AC unit for my guest room in our apartment, and maybe when the next cake comes up, turn that room into my little AC run work area. :)

 

I have to say one thing, my daughter and some of her friends are still talking about the cake I made, and are absolutetly raving about the gumpaste roses I made. Made me feel good that it was a total disaster, but like you said, it doesn't help to be a perfectionist. :) I posted that pic on here, and I am pretty proud of myself for the roses. They really did turn out nice. I just have to figure out to use the petal dust a little better. Not sure what I am doing with that just yet.

 

Thanks again for your support!!

 

- J.D.



Cindy Zoesch said:

J.D.  first of all thanks for your service to our country!

I had all the same problems that you did, am also a perfectionist.  I was determined to get this right.  It is a matter of practice and trying different things.  I vote for The Mat.  Since it has a top and bottom the fondant does not dry out and you have lots of time to roll it our just right.  They have a great video which has tips about fondant that you can use even if you don't get The Mat.  It is on youtube.com, by sweetwise.  Just search for The Mat.  I always use MM fondant, great taste and you can put it in microwave BRIEFLY to soften it up.  It will then roll out like a dream.  Take heart, my last cake was my best.  Good luck! 

I just have a quick question Karen. I am getting ready to use this recipe, and I am somewhat confused. Is there really 3 pounds of Powdered Sugar? Sounds like a lot, this is why I am asking. Thank you!!

 

- J.D.

 

 



Karen Underdahl said:

This is the recipe for cream cheese frosting I use, and it has worked really well under fondant.

Crusting Cream Cheese frosting

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

1 pound cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract

3 1/2 pounds powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream- butter, shortening, cream cheese and extracts. Gradually add powdered sugar and salt. Beat on low speed until nice and creamy.

 

This is a stiff frosting that will be slightly ivory (from the butter). 

Yes, 3 1/2 sifted powdered sugar.  I just made this again yesterday and it really works well.  If I am using it as a filling I change it around a little, so it's a creamier. 

If you are using the cream cheese as a filling, you would have to put a dam around first right? The dam would be medium to stiff buttercream icing?

I had a problem just last week with the filling just seeping out from the sides, even with a DAM!! How do you do  it Karen?

I create a dam 2 ways:  If I use ganache instead of buttercream to crumb coat, then I use a stiff ganache as a dam.  I pipe the dam on -  put the cake in the fridge to firm up, then fill.  The other way is to take about 1 to 2 cups of the buttercream filling I am using and mix in more powdered sugar until it forms - almost a dough consistency.  Then I roll it and make a dam out of it, then fill the cake.  This works really well from me , hope it helps you!

JD, I love Satin Ice.  When I roll my fondant out, I use shorten, it keeps it softer longer.  I do find Satin Ice does dry faster, so much that I dont have to use gum paste to make thing I want to dry hard.  Also you don't want it to thin when covering a cake.  I don't use a mat, I roll mine up on the roller and lay it over the cake.  I do find if my cake is still to cold it gets condensation on the fondant, but it does go away.  Keep working with fondant, the more you work with it and get use to it, you will love it.  I use to hate it but once I learned how to use it and discovered Satin Ice, (it taste so much better then Wilton), I use it all the time.  I couldn't tell you when and if I still could make a buttercream icing rose, but I can make a pretty nice fondant one!  Keep trying.

 

J.D. - I'm definitely not an expert, but what I have found that works is to make sure my AC is turned down low (unfortunately for everyone around) so that it's not hot and humid (I live in Atlanta... it's always hot here). Also, my hands get clammy when I'm concentrating or working, so I always wear glove with fondant - not a good idea with gumpaste, it sticks to the gloves - but the gloves work great with the fondant. Also, I don't roll my fondant out too thin, instead, I keep it a little thicker than "suggested" that way it kind of stretches down the sides and there aren't any creases. It works so well for me that when I tried to do a "tablecloth" for a tea party cake, I didn't have the ripples that I wanted! :) Another thing, I think I might do my crumb coat a little thicker than some to allow me to smooth the fondant better. It's a little more forgivving.. however, if it's too thick, it will ooze out the bottom. You have to find that happy medium. The last thing is that, I don't know what the Hershey's cake is like, but if I'm using a mix, I stick to Pillsbury because Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker just fall apart, they can't support the fondant - found that out the first time I tried to make a teapot using the Wilton Sports ball pan for my daughter's birthday. The fondant literally squished the cake to the ground, it didn't stand a chance. I tried it again with Pillsbury and I didn't have any problems. I don't know anything about the mats, so no advice there, but if your house is hot/humid, that might be your biggest problem.

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