Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cake Couture's Marshmallow Fondant

All parts of this cake on the left: the boat, the flags, the waves, the lettering, and the entire cake was made using our marshmallow fondant recipe (just in case I will say modeled topper work does involve a gum agent like Gum Tragacanth or Tylose Powder).  We love, love, LOVE the look of fondant.  And, like most folks, the taste... not so much!  So how to get a great tasting cake fondant?  Marshmallow fondant of course!  Our original marshmallow fondant recipe was somewhat inconsistent, varying greatly in how fast the marshmallows absorbed the sugar. Another marshmallow fondant recipe (Liz Marek's actually) was awesome, however, difficult for us to source the exact same marshmallow brand.  So in the past we turned to national fondant brands.  Satin Ice was a nice one giving a beautiful finish and saving all that prep time.  However, it is a little finicky when rolling it out and sensitive to the non-stick agent used (a lot of them dry it out).  Satin Ice was also not a big winner in the taste department.  So that led us back to our marshmallow fondant, however, we had to find a way to use Jet Puff marshmallow brand as they are the easiest brand to source for us (we love our Davis Target!:)).   So here is our latest and great marshmallow fondant recipe!  It is fast, easy, and the absolute BEST marsmallow fondant we have every worked with:).


First off, the benefits of this recipe:
  • FAST & EASY to make
  • EASY to use
  • EXCELLENT taste
  • BEST for fondant 2D cut outs 
    • For cut outs roll out a piece of marshmallow fondant to desired thickness
    • Let it stand for 10-20 minutes minimum (this step is a must for firmness and clean cuts)
    • Using a sharp knife and templates or freehand cut out your 2D figures
  • EXCELLENT coverage even when thin (not opaque)
Now for the recipe!!

Cake Couture's Marshmallow Fondant Recipe

Materials

  • 1 lb Jet Puff marshmallows
  • 2 lb powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup of Crisco shortening (do NOT use high-ratio shortening)
  • 1 1/4 lb (20 oz) Wilton Fondant (1/2 of silver package see picture)
  • Extra powdered sugar as a non-stick agent
  • Wilton White (Optional)
  • Plastic storage bag (grocery produce bags are the best for this)

Directions

1. Place your marshmallows in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat the marshmallows for 90 seconds, remove & stir, heat another 30 seconds, remove & stir, heat a last 30 seconds, stir in water.


2. Place about 1 lb of powdered sugar in your standing mixer bowl.  Add the marshmallows, shortening, some Wilton White (optional to get your fondant whiter and brighter) and pour the remaining 1 lb of powdered sugar on top of all the ingredients.  

3. Attach your dough hook.  Stir at low speed just enough to start incorporating the ingredients.  Next  KEY STEP:  Mix at high speed to fully incorporate all ingredients.







 4. Place some of the extra powdered sugar on your work surface.  Remove the marshmallow fondant mixture from the bowl and place on top of the sugared work surface.




5. Place the Wilton fondant on a plate and heat for 30-40 seconds.  Place the heated Wilton fondant on top of the marshmallow mixture.  Knead it all together adding sugar to avoid stickiness, and you are done!!



Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cake Board Efficiency

It's no secret, custom cakes are very labor intensive, some taking so much time you need to count the number of decorating days and not the hours!

So how can we keep making beautiful cakes and keep costs down for yourself and for your client?
Get lean! Eliminate waste!! (Ok so I really can't stop thinking like an engineer:))

Which brings us to the cake board.  From my experience clients want to pay for a beautiful cake and not so much a beautiful cake board.  This tutorial is all about cake board tips in order to ensure you give your client as much value as you can for their money while at the same time keeping your costs down in order to ensure you can remain profitable in your cake business.

First, when it comes to overall cake presentation, here are the personal preferences I like to stick to when it comes to our Cake Couture custom cakes:

3 Cake Couture Board Rules

1. Keep it simple.  While a very detailed board is pretty I think it takes away from the cake itself.  Of course there are occasions when a dressed up board is required to get the right look, however, in that situation your the board decor becomes part of the cake rate you provide your client.  I am focusing here on the cakes that do not require a decorated board.

2. Keep it narrow.  I like to use a board that is 1"-2" wider than the decorated finished edge of the finished cake.  The wider you go the more empty the board will look if not decorated and some people actually think the cake starts to look more like a hat!  
  

3. Keep it neutral.  I think the cake really stands out when you keep the board white or a similar matching color (at least in the board ribbon).  I think shiny cake foils take away from the cake and can make it look too busy.  (On the right is the baby shower cake I made for my first little girl... pre-Cake Couture:))




Now on to the eliminating waste part!
We are going to go over 4 different styles of cake boards that we like to use on our Cake Couture custom cakes: 
Style 1 - Board with fondant
Style 2 - 2 tier board for buttercream
Style 3 - A 'Mother' board (ok so that's just a really big board!:))
Style 4 - Sheet cake boards

Materials for ANY board style

* Regular cake circles or squares (aka cake pads).  You can purchase these individually from your local cake supply shop or in bulk at your local restaurant supply shop (such as Cash & Carry or Restaurant Depo). 
* Electrical Tape.  Yes, electrical tape.  Preferable the Scotch brand or any other brand that sticks real well to itself.  

Style 1. Board with fondant


This board is the standard board.  The cost savings here is the use of electrical tape rather than board tape made for cakes.  

Step 1.  Take 3 like cake pads and holding them against you center and position the electrical tape around the board.  The electrical tape will not readily want to stick to the cardboard, but be patient, and once you get all the way around it will sit securely once it sticks to itself.  
Step 2.  Coat your board with your preferred fondant sticking media.  I like to use shortening.

Step 3.  Roll out and cover your board with your preferred fondant.  I like to use marshmallow fondant (yes I will eventually put my recipe up:)).  Smooth your fondant once on the board.  Cut the edge with a knife and smooth the rough sides with a fondant smoother.

Let your board dry overnight (6-8 hours) and you are done!  



Style 2. Two tier board for Buttercream

I love this technique.  Some of the biggest decorating challenges are getting a super smooth buttercream cake.  The board technique will help you do that and save you time which also means money (since time = money:)!).  Also, you will not have to worry about making a special fondant or other covered board for this technique.  This is ONLY when you are make the following:
* 6" & 8" two tier (or just a 8" one tier) use a 9" cake board 
OR 
* 6" & 9" two tier (or just a 9" one tier) use a 10" cake board

Step 1. Using 4 cake pads prepare your base cake board (the 9" or the 10") with electrical tape.  Use electrical tape to wrap around the bottom 3 boards and use another round of electrical tape to wrap around the fourth cake pad securing it to the bottom 3.

Step 2.  Place electrical tape around the top rim of this base cake board.  This step eliminates the need to have any other cover on your board and keeps your cardboard from getting oily.  It will have little folds but flatten them out with any straight edge and it will be nice and smooth.  

Step 3.  Take your tier cake boards and individually wrap the edge with electrical tape.

Step 4.  Position your cake tiers on their individual cake boards and crumb coat.  


Step 5.  Using glue position your bottom tier on your base board to start your final coat (you will see that only a nice white edge and boarder peeks through).  Start your final coat on the top tier separately on your turntable.  You will see that using the electrical tape gives you a smooth edge to lean on for your scraper/smoother and again only white peeks through.  For final smoothing I like to use the paper towel method (use VIVA paper towels - non print side - and with a fondant smoother gently smooth).


  Step 6.  Stack your top tier appropriately and pipe your edges.  So smooth so clean you will LOVE the finish!! Trim your board with a pretty ribbon:).


  



 Style 3:  Mother boards (really big boards:))

When you are making large fondant cakes 12", 14", etc. and you want to get a nice fondant look but hate the thought of using so much expensive fondant that doesn't even get seen and ends up getting thrown away here is what we like to do.  This technique saves you on using expensive material but doesn't save on a lot of time since the preparing takes some getting used to.

Step 1.  Prepare your very large cake boards using the standard method of Style 1.

Step 2.  Take a cake board smaller than the actual cake tier that will go on top of it, center and glue it on.  
Step 3.  This is the tricky part.  Roll out a long strip of fondant (preferable measure it) even in thickness and with enough width to cover the gap between the glued center board and the larger board.  Trim one side of the long strip.  Cover the board gap with your fondant sticking material (I use shortening).  Take the trimmed edge and position it around the center board.  Trim where the fondant strip meets.

Step 4.  Smooth with your fondant smoother trim the edge, smooth edge, and let your board dry overnight (6-8 hours).
Step 5.  Using glue on the center board, position and place your prepared (and already to decorate) fondant covered cake on top of your large board.  You are done and you have the look of a fondant covered board without the waste of fondant!




















Style 4.  Sheet Cake Boards

I like to always have half sheet cake boards on hand.  With a half sheet cake board either a quarter sheet, half sheet cake, double half sheet, or even a sculpted cake fits nicely.  You also only have to worry about buying and storing half sheet cake boxes.  Standardize your supplies to get the most of your inventory.  So when it comes to the basic half sheet cake boards they are regular cardboard material and I DO NOT like the look of greasy cake boards!  You can purchase the gold style the supermarkets like to use that do not absorb the buttercream grease, however, at Cake Couture we are not fans of gold or anything shiny as a board for your cake (takes away from the cake).  And I have never been crazy about the scalloped edges either!:)  So I stick to my half sheet cake boards and cover them in... cabinet liner!!!  You can also use this technique on different boards to incorporate colors by using colored paper and covering it with clear cabinet liner.


Step 1.  Select board and preferred cabinet liner.

Step 2.  Glue or tape paper to board (optional).  

Step 3.  Apply cabinet liner and smooth out air bubbles with a scrapper.

And you are done!  Yes it is that simple!!:)

Happy cake making cakers!! 

Christie