If you're as obsessed with cake shows as I am (big fan of "Ace of Cakes"!), you know that fondant is a big part of cake decorating. Fondant is a thick paste made of sugar and water, which makes cakes look clean and professional. Wilton makes blue pre-packaged fondant for $10 but I find it to be too... what's the word... stale. Especially if you roll it out too thick, it's not an enjoyable addition to a dessert. So when I saw this post by Seddy5 on how to make your own out of marshmallows, I thought this would be a great addition to my husband's birthday cake!
I. Was. Absolutely. Wrong.
Here's what I started with:
1. A bag of mini marshmallows
2. Confectioner's sugar/icing sugar/powdered sugar (why does this stuff have so many names?!)
3. Food coloring
4. Optional - Flavored extract (if you want it to taste like something other than sugar - lemon, almond, etc.)
First, start with a few handfuls of marshmallows, put them in a microwave safe bowl, add a few teaspoons of water, until they're all relatively damp. Put it in the microwave in 15 second spurts. It took mine 55 seconds to completely melt into a big bowl of white goo.
I recommend spraying your spoon with PAM or grease with butter so the marshmallow goo doesn't stick to your spoon while you stir it.
Next, add your food coloring. Now the original post made it sound like the color would drastically fade as you add the powdered sugar but I didn't find that was the case at all (maybe because I only used half a bag of marshmallows instead of a full bag). The color below was the color of fondant I made by the end!
Finally, add your powdered sugar. I can't tell you how much I added to both the mixture in the bowl and on the table but I can tell you it's a lot. So if you decide to make this, buy a big bag and plan on using at least half of it. The reason being, it takes quite a lot for it to eventually become solid enough to knead on the table and roll out. Plan on getting your hands covered in food coloring and powdered sugar.
Now here's why I think think this fondant would be better for the tops of cupcakes, something on a smaller scale, rather than a cake:
Pre-packaged fondant - the kind you would buy from Michael's, Wilton, etc. is quite thick but for a reason. I found when rolling this out, I couldn't get it on the cake without it ripping, tearing, and worst of all, falling off the cake (even with buttercream frosting underneath!). I did try putting it in the fridge after it was on the cake, to see how well it stayed and by golly, it stays on there well enough, but it didn't look as clean and professional as the store-bought kind.
So it's completely your call and maybe you'll have better luck than I did!
TOTAL COSTS: About $5
$2.49 for marshmallows
$1.99 for powdered sugar
Food coloring on hand (I used Wilton's coloring gel)
TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME: About 20 minutes
EASY-PEASY SCALE (1 super easy - 5 very difficult): 3 out of 5
As I said, maybe if you use the entire bag of marshmallows and maybe if you put it in the fridge before using it, it might be thicker and therefore easier to cover a cake without ripping but I think I'll buy my fondant from Duff's Cakemix (for $3!) moving forward.