Make a Fondant Birthday Cake
Today is Stella’s first birthday! I can’t believe it! We celebrated her birthday with family and a few friends this past weekend. Eating her cake was the first time she had ever had sweets, other than fruit. We waited to give her sweets until her first birthday, so that we could see her reaction on her special day for the first time. Since it would be her first piece of cake ever, I wanted to make it super special.
The cake batter itself was store bought, but I made homemade butter cream icing and marshmallow fondant. This was my first time making my own icing and fondant, so I used the What’s Cooking America website to direct me. I ended up tweaking a few things with my fondant to make it easier to work with, which I will share with you as I go. Not really sure if what I did was right, but it still turned out looking good to me.
I used a two tier cake stand to display the cake. The bottom cake was 2 tiers. The bottom tier was just one 10″ circle and the top layer was one 8″ circle. Most cakes use two of the same size stacked on top of one another to make one tier, but I didn’t want to make my cake that big, but still wanted the 2 tier dimensional look. The smash cake was a 6″ circle, but I didn’t cut off the top of the cake to make it flat like I did the other two. I left it with the risen mound look. The smash cake sat on the top tier of the cake stand rather than on top of the other tiers, so that we could easily give it to Stella to dig into without ruining the other part of the cake for the guests.
I based the colors of Stella’s cake off of the colors in her tutu: magenta, pink and lime green. The theme of the party was stars, so I of course put marshmallow fondant stars all over her cake!
To make one batch of fondant, the recipe calls for:
1 16oz bag of Kraft Jet Puffed mini marshmallows
2-5 Tbsp of water
1 2lb bag of C&H; confectioner’s powdered cane sugar
1/2 c Crisco shortening (used only to grease counter or mat, hands and to smooth the fondant)
I could not find 16oz bags of mini marshmallows, only 10.5oz bags. I just used one and a half bags of the 10.5oz bags. I also could not find the C&H; brand of powdered cane sugar, so I used Domino’s.
I had no idea how much fondant I would actually need to cover each layer, so I made a whole batch each of all three colors. I could have gotten away with making half batches for all three layers and still had enough to make all the fondant stars and balls.
Directions: Pour all your mini marshmallows in a large glass bowl. Add 2-5 Tbsp water and microwave until the marshmallow is creamy with no lumps. The website says to microwave in increments of 30 seconds for 2 and a half minutes, stirring the melted marshmallows in between. I stirred every 45 seconds.
I bought the 12 pack of Wilton’s icing coloring, which I picked up from WalMart. I dipped a toothpick to scoop out the food coloring and dipped it into the melted marshmallow. I’m not sure exactly how much I used to get the colors I did, but I would just advise to add a little at a time until you get the color you want. For the magenta, I mixed the pink and burgundy at first and then added some red to make it brighter. No mixing for the pink. To get the lime green I mixed the yellow and kelly green.
Now that you’ve colored your fondant you can add your powdered cane sugar. The website said to pour 3/4 of your powdered sugar onto the melted marshmallow, so I poured out 3/4 of the 2lb bag. I found this extremely hard to knead the fondant like you would bread dough. For the next two batches, I added about a cup of powdered sugar at a time until the stickiness went away rather than all that powdered sugar all at once. I found this much easier. Again, I am no experienced cake maker or decorator, so please excuse me if this is not the “right” way to do this. Tip: use Crisco shortening for your hands repeatedly! It’s very sticky!
Once you’ve made your fondant spheres, wrap them up in saran wrap and place in zip lock bags. Refrigerate until you are ready to use. The website recommends allowing the fondant to settle overnight, but I didn’t make mine until the day before the party. I needed to have the cake completely ready the night before, because I wouldn’t have time the day of to finish the cake. My fondant was refrigerated for about 7 hours at least before I needed to use it.
While the fondant was setting in the refrigerator, it was time to bake the cakes and make the butter cream icing. I used two boxes to fill the 3 cake pans (10″, 8″ and 6″). I spread Wilton’s cake release on the bottom of the pans before pouring the batter in. Once the cakes were cooled, I cut off the tops where the cake had risen in a dome shape, so the tiers would sit flatly on one another. I left the cake for Stella’s smash cake in it’s dome shape, though.
I used this butter cream icing recipe. I flipped the cakes out of their pans, turned the pans over and set each of the cakes on the bottoms of their respective pans to make applying the icing on the sides of the cakes easier. Apply the butter cream icing about 1/4″ thick all over each cake layer. This helps the marshmallow fondant to adhere to the cake. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to cover the cakes with the fondant.