Alexa Largoza – Ania enjoys baking and cake decorating.
One of the things Largoza makes often are cakes. If you love to bake cakes, you may be wondering how to get your cake designs both smooth and neat. Fondant is the answer, and you can easily make your own fondant at home, and decorate your cakes like a professional. Here is one of her favorite recipes:
2 lbs. confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup glucose (found in cake decorating stores) or white corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons glycerin (found in cake decorating stores)
In a large bowl (do not use metal), sift the sugar and make a well in the center. In a small saucepan, add the water and sprinkle the gelatin on top to soften for about 5 minutes. Begin to heat the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is dissolved and clear. Do not boil. Turn off the heat and add the glucose and glycerin, stirring until well blended. Add the flavoring. Pour into the well of sugar, and mix until all of the sugar is blended. Use hands to knead icing until it becomes stiff. Add small amounts of confectioner’s sugar if the mixture is sticky.
Form the mixture into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in an airtight container. The icing works best if allowed to rest at room temperature for about eight hours before using, particularly if the weather is humid. Do not refrigerate.
To cover a cake with fondant: Dust a clean pastry cloth, or a smooth, clean surface, with cornstarch, and roll the fondant with a rolling pin until it is approximately 1/4 inch thick. Make sure that the fondant is large enough to fit over the top and sides of the cake. Slide both hands under the fondant and carefully center it on top of a cake that has been freshly iced with buttercream. (The icing makes the fondant adhere to the cake.)
Dust your hands with cornstarch and smooth the fondant, starting at the top and working down the sides until the entire surface is even and flat. Cut off the excess icing around the bottom of the cake with a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Decorate the cake with buttercream or royal icing. This fondant keeps a cake fresh for two days at room temperature. Do not refrigerate a cake with fondant icing.
1 teaspoon desired flavoring (vanilla will give the fondant an off-white color)
The key to perfect fondant decorations is its freshness. Fresh fondant allows you to bend, color, mold and design cake toppers as well as accents that you would like to decorate your cake with. Ready made fondant that are store bought usually tends to be hard and makes it difficult to work with.
You will need to use a variety of tools to make sure your fondant accents look as if they were done by a professional. Fondant cutters, molds and press are available in many local craft stores. You will need tools to roll it out, trim it, stretch it and color it as desired. You may be able to use many of the utensils you already have in your own kitchen or you may want to buy a fondant tool kit.
Cookie cutters can come in handy if you want to cut shapes or letters out of the fondant. You can find them at most craft and baking supply stores. You can also find fondant cutters which are similar to cookie cutters but come in smaller sizes and are better at cutting fondant.
If you are like Alexa Largoza – Ania, and enjoy baking and decorating cakes, you will need to know how to decorate with fondant. If you don’t want to make your own fondant, go to your local bakery and ask if they can make some for you to purchase, it is important to keep in mind that fresh fondant is easier to work with and above all, it tastes much better than the ones sitting on a shelf for months.