Friday, February 11, 2011

Homemade Marshmallow Fondant and Homemade Poured Fondant

These cupcakes were designed by a special 5-year-old girl for her kindergarten class to enjoy on the last day of her week as "Student of the Week". I did my best to deliver exactly what she wanted.

The request: a carrot cupcake with smooth, shiny, white icing decorated with a pink heart inside a bigger red heart.

Immediately, my mind starts churning. It's a little more complicated than it seems. I couldn't use cream cheese icing or buttercream and achieve the smooth and shiny she was looking for. So I came up with two alternatives: a white chocolate ganache or a poured fondant (the icing generally used on petit fours), neither of which I had any experience with. I decided the white poured fondant would be the better choice considering the age group. Had I been serving to adults, I might have tried the white chocolate ganache.

{Is there a choice I am overlooking? I'd love to hear your thoughts!}

I found a recipe for poured fondant and thought it looked easy enough. It required four ingredients, plus a candy thermometer and a food processor, all of which I had on hand. The result was good, although I wished it had been a little thicker as I had a few cupcakes that had icing running down the sides. Next time I'll reduce the water by a tablespoon or so. This icing is very sweet, much like royal icing so it's not packing a lot of flavor. For kids, though, sweeter is just fine and my testers didn't seem to mind the sweetness at all! Poured fondant doesn't dry hard like royal icing, however. It stays soft, similar to the consistency of a thick honey.

I chose the best looking ones to give away, and these are what were left. As you can see, the icing was a little thin and drippy on a few. The consistency would have been perfect for petit fours as you want the icing to drip down and cover the sides in that case.

The next decision was how to do the red and pink hearts. I'd wanted to try my hand at homemade marshmallow fondant for a while and this was my chance. I already had some marshmallows and plenty of powdered sugar. Surprisingly, that's all you need!

You wouldn't believe how easy it is to make your own fondant. If you like to knead dough or play with playdough, you'll love making this. I view kneading as a mini work-out for my upper body to make me feel better about doing all that work. (This also makes me feel slightly better about not exercising!) Knowing that you're saving a few bucks (premade fondant is not cheap) doesn't hurt either. I viewed a couple of YouTube videos on making the fondant before I took the plunge. This one in time lapse is pretty entertaining.

Below are the red hearts, ready to be placed on the cupcakes. Food coloring is kneaded into the fondant (wearing latex-type gloves help keep your hands clean) and the dough is rolled out super thin with a fondant rolling pin and then cut with a cookie cutter. The fondant will dry out when exposed to air, so I keep them covered in plastic wrap until they're ready to be used.

I placed the red hearts on the cupcakes while the icing was still wet. I brushed the pink hearts with a little water and sprinkled on some pink shimmer dust. Then I brushed the underside with water and placed them on top of the red hearts. I ran out of red hearts for the leftovers, but I think the single pink heart is adorable too.

Why not try your hand at fondant hearts for Valentine's Day this year? Get your kids to help out too - it's like playing with edible playdough! It's fun and the results are worth the effort!

Food Processor Poured Fondant
Adapted from The New Pastry Cook by Helen Fletcher

2-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water (or a little less)
1/4 cup corn syrup

Heat sugar, water and corn syrup to the soft-ball stage (238°F; 114°C). Pour into the food processor fitted with the steel blade. Wash the candy thermometer well and reinsert into the syrup. Let the syrup cool undisturbed in the workbowl to 140°F (60°C), about 30 minutes. Remove the thermometer.

Add any coloring or flavoring (vanilla, almond extract, etc.) and process 2 to 3 minutes, until the syrup completely converts from a glassy syrup to an opaque paste. Transfer to a container with a lid. Allow to cool slightly and then press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the fondant and cover with the container's lid. Store at room temperature for 24 hours. Use or refrigerate for later use.

Marshmallow Fondant

Note: This recipe makes enough fondant to cover an entire cake. If you only need a small amount of fondant, it would be easy to cut this recipe in half and make only what you need.

10 ounce bag mini marshmallows
1 to 2 pounds confectioners sugar
2 tsp flavorings (vanilla, lemon, etc)
2 Tbs. water
vegetable shortening for coating hands and bowl

Measure out confectioner's sugar into a bowl and whisk to remove lumps. Use some vegetable shortening to coat the inside of another bowl. Add marshmallows to the coated bowl. Add 2 tablespoons water to the marshmallows. Melt the marshmallows in the microwave, stirring and checking every 30 seconds until completely melted. Once marshmallows have melted, add any flavoring and then add the confectioners' sugar a little at a time and stir to incorporate. When it becomes too thick to stir, transfer the dough to a surface greased with a little shortening. Continue kneading in the confectioners' sugar, a little at a time. Stop adding sugar when the dough is no longer sticking to the counter as you knead. Lubricate hands with shortening from time to time to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands as you knead. Divide the dough if needed and knead in any colorings at this point. Once the color is incorporated, rub a small amount of shortening all over the dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Let the fondant rest at room temp for 30 minutes. It is then ready to use. Wrap any unused fondant tightly in plastic wrap and place inside a resealable plastic bag. Fondant will keep at room temperature for up to 6 months.


  1. Thanks for the marshmallow fondant recipe. Store bought fondant tastes disgusting!!!!! So happy you made your own.

    The cupcakes look divine!

    Janet xox

  2. Beautiful! I've always wanted to try marshmallow fondant!

  3. Thanks guys! Let me know if you try it and how it works for you!

  4. Wowza!!! had me at cupcake! :) I've never even heard of marshmallow fondant!! What a super lucky 5 year old!

  5. WOW, i would never have thought of making my own fondant. and what that 5 YO, what a visionary indeed!

  6. How to prevent marzipan from cracking. I am planning to cover my wedding cake with marzipan (1/8 inch thickness) under the marzipan I am planning to have a thin whipping cream and between the cake (white cake) layers appricot or rasberry jam.

    Any thoughts?

    Another question. Has anyone tried pouring fondant over marzipan? I am thinking that it might help prevent cracking. Your thoughts?

  7. Lora,
    I have to admit that I have no experience with covering cakes in marzipan. My only thought is to try it on a small cake and see how it goes. The cake sounds lovely and delicious!

    Good Luck!

  8. 1-2 lbs of confectioners sugar? That's quite a bit of difference. Is there a more accurate amount?

  9. I would have 2 pounds of confectioners sugar on hand and keep adding it a little at a time until the fondant is no longer sticky, but not dry and crumbly. The amount will vary depending on the amount of flavoring you use and the humidity of your kitchen. I'm sorry I can't be more specific. Good luck!

  10. Marshmallow fondant is so easy to make and a great way to learn to cover cakes/cookies because it is really smooth and drapey.



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