Saturday, May 23, 2009

How to Make a Mountain Cake, Part I: Fondant (from scratch!)

In my first attempt at working with fondant, I decide to make it from scratch! Why bother? The Mountain Cake, of course! Every year at work, we have a major Deadline-Completion Party this time of year. On the agenda? A cake contest dealing with this year's theme (something about climbing a mountain... yeah, I know)! Well, duh, of course I had to enter. So along with two birthdays to bake for, there are baking projects abound these two weeks. Not to mention all the last-minute things that popped up with work, trying to shop for/buy a major appliance, and trying to work overtime at work on top of all that (who knew I'd turn into a work-a-holic)! I have everything planned out, to the minute, every tiny detail. But then my procrastinating ways take over, and now I'm behind schedule.

Anyway, back to the fondant. Part of the reason I decided to make fondant was cost. I figured I needed 5 -10 pounds of fondant, and at $30 for a 5-lb bucket, I decided to make my own. Final cost? $5 for 10-lbs. The only kicker, is having to actually make the fondant.

The recipe was easy enough. Or should I say "seemed" easy enough. Having never worked with fondant before (brilliant move), I had issues gauging the texture. I knew it had to be pliable enough to roll out smoothly, but my first batch came out stiffer than I'd thought. For the second batch, I added less 10x sugar in the mixer stage. This seemed to come out better, but as I was kneading the rest of the 10x into the mix, I feared it becoming too stiff again. The recipe called for kneading in the full amount of 10x, but as I made the remaining batches, I kneaded in enough to keep the texture at what I thought it should be. I bundled up the batches of fondant, and hoped and prayed it would turn out by the time I needed to work with it.

And so ends Part I of my little escapade.

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