Friday evening, our waitress at a local wine bar, Betty, asked if I might be willing to make a cake for her friend and how much notice I need. I said usually 3 or 4 days to gather ingredients, bake and decorate, just in case I have other things going on. Monday was the friend's birthday, so we talked about doing something at a later date.
Saturday morning, I realized that I had nothing planned for Sunday and I could fit in a cake for Betty's friend. We contacted a mutual friend to get Betty's phone number; it took all day to connect and work out the details.
That brings us to Sunday in Poland, where resources for the home baker are limited at best. What to do when you need fondant to decorate a cake for a builder in training? Make your own!
I read several recipes online. They reminded me of making taffy with my grandmother. A hot syrup is worked until it's stiff and white. It was so similar that I had to check a taffy recipe. The key thing seems to be that the syrup for fondant isn't cooked as long. Many of the recipes used melted marshmallows to keep the fondant from getting too dry and cracking. Not having marshmallows, I added a spoon full of the closest thing I could get to gelatin, powdered pectin.
The fondant stayed soft and flexible. I'm doing a test now to see if it will dry out. I'll definitely try this again, probably without the pectin next time; it certainly tastes better than the purchased fondant.
|Hard to believe, but 10 minutes earlier, this was a clear syrup, 1/4 inch deep in this pan|
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons corn syrup
- Combine all ingredients over medium-high heat
- Stir until sugar is dissolved, cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes
- Uncover and cook to softball stage, 240 F
- Pour into a baking sheet lightly sprinkled with water
- Allow to cool for a few minutes
- When warm, but not hot, use a scrapper, spatula, or wooden spoon to lift and push the syrup to the center of the pan
- The syrup will become white and firm as you continue to fold it
- Kneed to soften the fondant for rolling, working in gel colors if desired
- Lightly dust work surface and rolling pin with cornstarch, proceed as usual
- Store unused fondant tightly wrapped in plastic