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Wedding cake trial #1 Utter Failure (help please?)

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

So I've got my wedding coming up here in January. The big DIY project I'm doing is my wedding cake. I've done fussy pastries before, but OMG!!! Fondant...

All I want is a white cake, with royal blue ribbon trim and few snowflakes stuck to it. Maybe a winter Reindeer or two.. I know well enough to get some practice in before the big event. But fondant...Let me tell you about fondant....

So, here's what happened to me. I grab my nice home made fondant. Nothing fancy, just confectioners sugar, glycerin, corn syrup and almond extract (strawberry next time?) I used the recipe from Foodnetwork.com as it looked like any other candy recipe I could find.

Other than waiting to work my color into the finished fondant. The finished product was easy enough to produce and was exactly like the wilton's stuff you get in the shop. (My sister spends a fortune on this stuff if only she knew how easy it was to make)

First mistake. I left the cake in a cake plate for a couple of days because I got busy. It was covered in wilton's recipe of buttercream. This is probably why my fondant didn't adhere. (I'm all meh on this, it was only practice of course)

Second mistake: The darned thing started to get dry and crack, then it started to get wrinkly. Like..as I've heard it called before. Elephant skin.

Any suggestions on how to fix rapidly drying fondant? Or prevent this from happening? How can I make it softer to roll out? How can I re-hydrant aforementioned fondant?


I refuse to use MMF. Firstly because my wedding will be partially Jewish. And finding kosher marshmallows is a royal nightmare in my area. Also some of my family doesn't think it's possible to have kosher marshmallows. Secondly: I don't like the way it tastes, I don't like the way my sister curses when she uses it. And it's certainly not any easier to make than the recipe I've been using.

Thanks for any help in advance.

(And this is totally off topic, but can anyone suggest a set of pans suitable for 100 servings and wedding cake decorating? The ones I have are too narrow for any sort of respectable decoration.)

post #2 of 27

I've had no luck with gelatin free homemade fondants, so when I need kosher I use satin ice.

I have to admit, I'm in the 'not trusting kosher marshmallows' boat as well, lol.

post #3 of 27

The pans you're referring to, are they 2" deep pans?  If so, you make a second layer to stack on the top then you have a 4" cake, or make three and stack on top to have 6".

 

Can't help with the fondant b/c I use MMF so it's not kosher.  But everyone says it's great.  If yours is drying out, you can use crisco. But I'm not sure if crisco is considered kosher or not. But that's what I do to revive my MMF.

Don't be afraid of cake, make cake be afraid of what you will turn it into!

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Don't be afraid of cake, make cake be afraid of what you will turn it into!

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post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeRae80 View Post

The pans you're referring to, are they 2" deep pans?  If so, you make a second layer to stack on the top then you have a 4" cake, or make three and stack on top to have 6".

 

Can't help with the fondant b/c I use MMF so it's not kosher.  But everyone says it's great.  If yours is drying out, you can use crisco. But I'm not sure if crisco is considered kosher or not. But that's what I do to revive my MMF.


Yes, crisco is kosher.

post #5 of 27

Good to know, thanks! Thought it might be, but wasn't 100%. 

Don't be afraid of cake, make cake be afraid of what you will turn it into!

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Don't be afraid of cake, make cake be afraid of what you will turn it into!

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post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 

Gah! I forgot about that! Yes my recipe did include gelatin! It's nice to know someone out there is with me on the marshmallow front. I don't care either way but I'm not paying a premium for something I can't get readily avaliable

Yes, I am using 2'' pans, I did stack them, maybe the layers fell?

I'm not sure if Crisco is kosher or not. It's vegetable shortening so yes, yes it's kosher. Is it 'kosher' like certified kosher, idk, but I do know of brands of vegetable shortening that are genuine kosher. So maybe I'll give that a try. How would you use it? Slather it on, or work it in or what?

post #7 of 27
Crisco is kosher - there's s hechsher on the label. Satin Ice is kosher parve.
post #8 of 27

I have made 2" cakes and stacked and they were fine. I'm sure a little less than 4" after trimming, but it's close enough.

 

Yes I slather some on it and knead it a little.  Don't put too much on though....well that's for the MMF, not sure about yours.

Don't be afraid of cake, make cake be afraid of what you will turn it into!

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Don't be afraid of cake, make cake be afraid of what you will turn it into!

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post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by CIcerolover View Post

Gah! I forgot about that! Yes my recipe did include gelatin! It's nice to know someone out there is with me on the marshmallow front. I don't care either way but I'm not paying a premium for something I can't get readily avaliable

Yes, I am using 2'' pans, I did stack them, maybe the layers fell?

I'm not sure if Crisco is kosher or not. It's vegetable shortening so yes, yes it's kosher. Is it 'kosher' like certified kosher, idk, but I do know of brands of vegetable shortening that are genuine kosher. So maybe I'll give that a try. How would you use it? Slather it on, or work it in or what?

Did you use a kosher gelatin? I have terrible luck with them! I don't know what I do wrong, but they never work the way they are supposed to for me.

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Did you use a kosher gelatin? I have terrible luck with them! I don't know what I do wrong, but they never work the way they are supposed to for me.

I have no idea why it wouldn't work. I'll spare you the details on where gelatin comes from, chances are you may not want to eat it after I tell you (I don't care I love jello). Suffice it to say gelatin at that point is a chemical, organic in nature but the fact that one is kosher beyond another shouldn't make it any different from regular gelatin. Depending on the recipe one should start with cold water, add the gelatin and then gently heat it up until it turns clear. Believe it or not gelatin will not *dissolve* in cold water. It has to first absorb the water, then once heated it will dissolve. Funny chemical that gelatin huh?

But yes my gelatin was kosher.

 

Any tips on how to roll the fondant thinly? Mine just would not work it was hardening I think because the fan was on, I might have used too much corn starch to keep it from sticking to my work surface, so I ended up rolling it out way too thick. A good 1/4 inch thick, I'm telling you.


Ugh, this cake thing! I'm about ready to just make a batch of cupcakes and just practice instead of giving everyone cake constantly. If my wedding budget wasn't so sparse I wouldn't be doing this! All I can say is after all the work I've put into my failure of a cake I really think my sister in law was desperately over charged for her cake. Smooth icing with daisies stuck on top. No piping, no little border shells. nothing.

post #11 of 27
Did you let the glycerine/glucose/gelatine mixture cool completely before working in the powdered sugar? If the liquid mixture is hot, it will cause the fondant to "eat" too much sugar and you'll be left with a crumbly inelastic too-sweet mess.


More glycerine or crisco. Not sure your position in candy melts, but working those (melted) or candy clay into the fondant can help the texture.
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by CIcerolover View Post

I have no idea why it wouldn't work. I'll spare you the details on where gelatin comes from, chances are you may not want to eat it after I tell you (I don't care I love jello). Suffice it to say gelatin at that point is a chemical, organic in nature but the fact that one is kosher beyond another shouldn't make it any different from regular gelatin. Depending on the recipe one should start with cold water, add the gelatin and then gently heat it up until it turns clear. Believe it or not gelatin will not *dissolve* in cold water. It has to first absorb the water, then once heated it will dissolve. Funny chemical that gelatin huh?

But yes my gelatin was kosher.

 

Any tips on how to roll the fondant thinly? Mine just would not work it was hardening I think because the fan was on, I might have used too much corn starch to keep it from sticking to my work surface, so I ended up rolling it out way too thick. A good 1/4 inch thick, I'm telling you.


Ugh, this cake thing! I'm about ready to just make a batch of cupcakes and just practice instead of giving everyone cake constantly. If my wedding budget wasn't so sparse I wouldn't be doing this! All I can say is after all the work I've put into my failure of a cake I really think my sister in law was desperately over charged for her cake. Smooth icing with daisies stuck on top. No piping, no little border shells. nothing.


Lol, I know what it is, that is why I asked if you used kosher. I was raised kosher, and there are a few substitution type ingredients I haven't had much luck with, gelatin being one of them.

If your fondant is too dry, (too much sugar/starch), it's pretty much unworkable. Like others have said, add some shortening or glycerine, until it's workable again.

 

I don't quite follow what you're saying about your sister's cake though, you are realizing how hard it is to decorate so you think she was overcharged?

post #13 of 27
Have you considered just doing buttercream and getting in a lot of practice on smoothing? If you search on YouTube there are thousands of great videos on smoothing buttercream, it can look as good as fondant with a lot of practice.
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post #14 of 27

You've mentioned that your sister works with fondant etc. so maybe she can help you? (If she lives close to you of course...).

Did you let the gelatin bloom before you dissolved it? It will have a much better binding capacity if you leave it to bloom for 10-15 minutes.

Otherwise, I agree with the PP - maybe more glycerin? Oh and did you let the fondat rest for at least 6-8 hours or overnight?
 

post #15 of 27

I am not trying to rain on your parade at all but this sounds like a disaster in the making that could very well put a damper on the happiest day of your life. There is much more to making a stacked cake than making good fondant. Cakes settle and bulge if not done properly. They require boards in between and support systems. Are you sure you want to risk it? It sounds like you are experienced at baking but not so much with cakes? You do not want to get close to the wedding and have to be searching for a last minute baker. If cost is an issue this could end up costing you a lot more in the end...not to mention what it will save you in time and pulling out of hair....The last thing a bride needs is to walk into her venue and find that her cake is collapsed upon itself. If you do choose to tackle this then I wish you the best of luck!

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