When it comes to decorating cupcakes, I’m pretty much the buttercream swirl traditionalist. I just love the way the swirls look! I’ve never used fondant before because, 1) it looks like too much trouble, 2) I never like the taste of it and 3) I prefer to pipe on buttercream frosting.
For my birthday earlier this month, my mother-in-law asked me if I would like to sit in on a 3-hour cupcake decorating workshop; she would buy me a ticket as a present if I did. The class would be learning to color, roll, cut out and decorate cupcakes with fondant. I said, “Sure, why not!”! Just because I prefer to pipe buttercream on my cupcakes doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in learning how to use fondant. I just decided I wouldn’t eat it since I don’t like the taste of it (in fact, I once ate a bite of fondant on a cupcake that tasted exactly like Band-Aids smell)!
The class took place this past weekend. I was looking forward to it, but was a little hesitant when I saw the teacher’s cupcakes that we would be making. Have a look -
“As if!”, I thought!
So the teacher and her helper passed around cupcakes, boxes of fondant tools, plastic bags to keep the fondant from drying out, food coloring gels, and a bag of fondant. The brand was Bakels, and I have to admit that eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I had to tear off a small chunk of the fondant to taste it. I was pleasantly surprised, as it had a nice marshmallowy taste to it. If I were to use fondant in my own home, I would definitely be using this brand.
Just a note on the cupcakes – we did not bake the cupcakes. They were already made for us. I was quite disappointed in them, to be honest. They were so lumpy, very firm and quite shiny on top. Because they were so lumpy, it was hard to get the fondant to lie smoothly on top. I was confused because the teacher actually bakes and decorates cupcakes as her job so I wasn’t sure why these cupcakes looked so terrible! Anyway…
First, we needed to color our fondant. We used Wilton’s gel food coloring for this. Here, I was coloring a chunk of fondant blue -
After wiping a bit of food coloring gel on the fondant, we just basically kneaded it to get the color worked through the fondant. It takes a bit of work, but other students viewed it as a form of relieving stress!
Here I was rolling out some chocolate fondant to use for the bee cupcake. Okay, yes, I sampled this fondant as well, and it did indeed taste like chocolate. Not like a bar of Lindt dark chocolate, mind you, but at least it didn’t taste like a chocolate-covered Band-Aid!
Working with fondant is basically like playing with Play-Doh. Roll it out, cut it into shapes. Pretty easy. What I did find most challenging is that the fondant was sticky. The teacher explained that it was because the room was warm and our hands were warm. She said it was best to work in a cool air-conditioned room with fondant. I also read on the package of fondant that you can dust it with icing sugar or cornflour to make it less sticky.
The time went by rather quickly in the class and most of the students’ cupcakes looked fantastic. In fact, some were so good that other students were using the cupcakes of other students as guides on how to do their own! Here’s a shot across the table of where I was working at some of the other cupcakes -
By the end of the class, I had 15 decorated cupcakes. I discovered that decorating with fondant wasn’t all that hard and not all fondant tastes like Band-Aids. It’s pretty easy to just cut out shapes and lie them on top of the cupcakes, but when it came to molding shapes with my hands like a handbag, or a present, or a strawberry, it was bit more difficult. I don’t think I have the shaping skills to make those! Here are my finished cupcakes -
A handful of people in the class didn’t copy all the teacher’s cupcakes and decided to create their own, which is what I did with the two in the very front of that photo. The “ET” on the handbag is my daughter’s initials and has no reference at all, whatsoever, to the alien with the same name!
I am very glad I attended this class as it’s given me a few ideas on how to branch out from just using buttercream. There really are endless possibilities when you’re using fondant, I just recommend using a brand of fondant that actually tastes nice. And perhaps layer the top of the cupcake with chocolate ganache instead of using something like “sugar glue”, like the class did, to hold the fondant circle in place, just to give it some extra flavor.
What’s your opinion on fondant? Are you as opposed to it as I was?