Thursday, 29 November 2012

Fondant Fun!

So I was asked (a little while ago) to make some cupcakes for a friend's mother's milestone birthday, which is now coming up next month (how time flies!). I am both excited and nervous about this, as her request involves a few things I haven't tried to do/make before:

1. Red Velvet cupcakes - both the mixture; and the complementary cream cheese icing.
2. A cake (sounds silly, but I prefer cupcakes over a cake and generally steer clear!) - which will be going on top of a cake stand with the red velvet cupcakes below...
3. (This one is probably self-inflicted) Use Fondant.

Wanting to do the best I possibly can for my friend, I decided that I needed to practice making these things first, just to make sure I actually can make Red Velvet cupcakes, along with the icing, and ice an entire cake using fondant...

I walked into a nearby cake shop and upon looking intently at the thousands of items related to baking, icing, and fondant, looking clearly perplexed and in need of assistance, a lady came up to me and offered some. I said, "Hi! I'm looking to start working with fondant, but have no equipment or fondant. I have this in mind. What do you think?" To which I explained as best as I could my intentions for the cake/cupcake order...

I left the shop feeling positive, with red fondant, white fondant, a couple of cutters, a cake board, and a head full of information about what I needed to do next.

I will admit, that YouTube has become my best friend for the moment. There are so many videos on cake decorating and using fondant! I probably spent far too much time researching techniques, and looking up different Red Velvet recipes, but I now feel confident that I can do this, and I can do this well.

With cornflour, I dusted my kitchen bench ready to start making some flowers!

This is (or something similar to) what I had in mind for the cupcakes:

Pretty. Simple. Elegant, and Red.

Probably without the hearts, though... But maybe with leaves instead!

This is  *drum roll*  my first fondant experiment:

I rolled the red fondant out onto my cornflour'd bench top, and began pressing my new flower mould press into it. Once I had them all cut out and on baking paper to dry, I used a pastry brush (I know, not the most elegant thing to use, but it still worked alright) to brush off the excess cornflour :)

To make them slightly rounded, I put them into the container of a packet of 12 plastic ping pong balls that I bought at a $2 shop on my way back from the cake shop...

Which I thought worked brilliantly!

Then with a damp cotton tip, I moistened the middles of the flowers,
and pressed a silver cachous into each of them.

Meanwhile, in my new red silicone cupcake moulds, I had a batch of vanilla cupcakes (experimenting with Red Velvet cupcakes will come later - it's fondant day today) baking.

Using 'Apple Green' colouring paste, leftover from a green and blue #1 cake I made earlier this year for church, I coloured some white fondant so that I could add leaves to my flowers.

Using the littlest of my 3 leaf cutters, I cut out so many leaves! It occurred to me that even a little bit of fondant can go a very long way! I had more than enough.

Later in the day, when the cupcakes had cooled down, and the fondant flowers were dry enough to start decorating (or I was just impatient by then), icing had just been mixed and piped onto the cupcakes, and I began to create the flowers on top!

I am so glad these turned out as well as they did for my first time using fondant! I couldn't decide whether I should use no leaves, two leaves, or three leaves on the cupcakes (still deciding, really, but leaning towards either three leaves or no leaves). My son has informed me that all I needed to do different was add a little 'line' on the leaves to make them 'look more real'. Good to know!

This little experiment has certainly given me a boost of cake-decorating confidence, and I am even more excited about recreating these next month!

... Except with more red, velvet, cream, and cheese of course ;)

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