Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy 30th Joe - and a lesson in Fondant!

When I asked Joe about a month ago what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, I was secretly wishing that he would say something easy - last year's German Chocolate Cake, while delicious, was pretty labor intensive. But since I've had another year of baking under my belt AND because its his 30th (!) birthday, I was prepared for whatever he would throw at me.

So when his answer was "I want one of those cakes with the really smooth frosting", I replied "Really, fondant? You know it tastes like crap right?" Oh no, he says, "I like the way it tastes". After a few minutes of silence, he then tells me "If you're going to make it yourself, you should probably make a practice cake before you do it for my birthday."

At this point, I'm convinced he's just trying to make my life difficult. No one actually likes eating fondant! And while I know I could have just ordered the cake (as he reminded me multiple times), that's just not my style. And - he was right, I did need to practice, so I did that with an egg cake for Easter. I don't have any photos and while I was reasonably pleased with the results, I am glad I practiced.

Now, what I couldn't have predicted when I took on the cake and planned a party for 30+ people, was that I would be leaving the country for a month for work - THE NEXT DAY.

That's right, as soon as I finish this post (and a piece of leftover cake), I need to pack enough clothes to take with me to London for the whole month of May and head to the airport.

All this week, I've gotten many different reactions from people when I told them what I was up to this weekend, ranging from "Why don't you just cater the party?" to "You are certifiable and need to be admitted to a mental hospital."

Well, a sure fire way to get me to do something is to tell me that I can't. And I really wanted to do something special for Joe's 30th. It was totally worth it to see his face when he saw the cake.

Luckily, a good friend insisted on coming over to help me, and Joe and one his friends pitched in right before the party to get everything ready.

The party was a success (of course, what else would it have been?!) - we had over 30 people here and NO BROKEN WINEGLASSES. This is a first for us, maybe its a sign that as Joe is turning 30, we are more responsible? I didn't get any pictures of the food, but had a great spread with lots of food involving bacon.

Oh - and I don't think I will be updating my blog for the next month - I don't think the Tesco Express meals I'll be heating up for myself while I'm gone will be all that blog-worthy : )

The fondant recipe and idea for the cake came from Annie's Eats.
I made a basic white cake recipe with a strawberry and buttercream filling - YUM! The fondant recipe is a marshmallow fondant and definitely tastes better than most fondant I've had.

Marshmallow Fondant
Vegetable shortening, for greasing bowls
16 oz. bag plain marshmallows, regular sized
2 tbsp. water
1-2 tsp. clear flavoring
2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar, divided
Pinch of salt

Using the shortening, grease a large microwave-safe bowl, the bowl of the stand mixer, a spoon/spatula (or two), and the dough hook.

Add the marshmallows and water to the prepared microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 60 seconds. Stir with the greased spatula/spoon. If not all the marshmallows have melted, microwave for 30 more seconds. Stir in the flavoring.

Reserve 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and add the rest to the bowl of the stand mixer, along with the salt. Create a well in the center. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the well and turn the mixer on to the lowest setting. When the mixer sounds strained, turn the speed up one setting. Turn off the mixer once all the sugar has been incorporated. If the fondant is sticky, add the reserved sugar 1/4 cup at a time until it is no longer sticky.

Turn the fondant out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Rub a bit of shortening on the outside of the ball. Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap, place it in a Ziploc bag and let rest for at least 2-3 hours. Keep the unused portions covered when not in use. If the fondant becomes stiff, microwave for 20 seconds at a time until it becomes pliable.

Source: Annie's Eat's & Confections of a Foodie Bride

Close up of "Joe", made by my friend Katherine - thanks for the help Kat! (Somewhere along the line someone came up with the genius idea of putting a little cigarette in little Joe's mouth).

Joe, posing with his likeness.


  1. Yes, I am very impressed! Have a safe trip!

  2. I love it! Funny enough, I just taught a cake decorating class yesterday and we did all kinds of fun stuff with fondant. I will upload a photo to twitpics of my little fondant bunny rabbit. A little late for Easter this year, but maybe I'll save him for next year!