Marriage. I guess it's what happens when you enter your mid-twenties, but it's still pretty weird. I was one of the first in my group of friends to do it, but it still weirds me out. We're dropping like flies! I got married at the end of last year (yes thats us in the picture to the left, yes we took professional picture with beer cans in our hands haha), a had two of my very favorite people in the world get married a few months before. My wonderful Jen got married a few months ago (On the Starship Enterprise!!!), I have a wedding in 20 days, I have a wedding in August, and I have another set of friends who got engaged on New Years Eve. Sheesh!
I think I have more wedding fever now then I ever did planing my own wedding! All these weddings have got me thinking about my favorite part of the wedding... cake. I won't be able to eat the cakes at most of these weddings-- eggs, butter, milk... yuck. Before I became a vegan most wedding cakes were still a no-no because of fondant (gelatin and glycerin were always on my "no" list). So you can imagine my joy when I found a vegan fondant recipe (PPK message boards for the win!)!
According to Wilton's personnel their glycerin is completely corn derived and their pre-made fondant is completely animal ingredient free! I wanted to try my hand at making my own fondant, but was so glad to hear the pre-made stuff is safe for animals of all shapes and sizes!
Following the advice of the PPK message bored I used Wilton's fondant recipe and replaced the gelatin with agar-agar powder. Worked like a charm! I've never worked with fondant before so I decided to do a small cake and make it like the top of a wedding cake. I kept my friend Jen (the Starship Enterprise) in mind while designing the cake. I wanted it to be simple but dramatic. I was planning out something pretty elaborate-- it wasn't really working on my average sized cake, so I wasn't too upset when my cat sat on it and I had to start over (okay thats a lie, I was pretty pissed, but whatever my cat is awesome)
I used the same cake recipe as I did for Ian's birthday cake. Instead of adding food coloring I added 1/4 cup mini carob chips to one batch of batter and 1/4 cup colored sprinkles to another batch. I ended up with 5 layers (we ate the 6th layer while watching a movie haha). I prepared the cake with a light layer of butter cream frosting (the same recipe I always use) before draping it in the fondant.
(As you can probably see from the picture, I forgot to layer the cakes in any sort of order so there are two chocolate chip layers on top of each other. Oh well!)
Here are the results. For my first time I'm pretty proud of it. It can only get better from here, right?
I marbled the fondant on the side by just patting the cake with a wet paper towel dipped in black food coloring (I use the gel type that comes in jars). Some of the shades came out a bit green-ish for some reason.
I made the marbled fondant roses by mixing in black food coloring in the white fondant-- but not fully mixing it in. The roses needed 24 hours to dry, so I made these the day before making the whole cake. The mini flowers were made with a small fondant color and lots of black dye fully mixed into fondant (also dried 24 hours). I used a small icing tip to put the white middles in the day I made the cake. The flowers were "glued" to the cake using vegan butter cream.
While it wasn't exactly as I had imagined it in my head, I think my first time playing with fondant was a success. I feel my original idea would have worked better with a taller, thinner cake-- so I may invest in some specialty sized pans soon.
A note, we had some friends over for pizza (made with Teese) and cake last night-- they enjoyed eating the fondant (I think it tastes disgusting) so maybe vegan fondant tastes better then regular? I've never heard of people actually enjoying the flavor of fondant!
Here's the fondant recipe in case you don't want to search around the Wilton site:
1 tablespoon (+2 teaspoons) agar agar
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup glucose
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (I used Earth Balance shortening sticks)
1 tablespoon glycerin (I used Wilton)
4-6 cups powdered sugar
Combine agar and cold water; let stand until thickened. Boil 5 minutes or until agar has dissolved. Remove from stove, add glucose and shortening, mix until dissolved. Add glycerin. Cool until lukewarm. Make a well in 4 cups of powdered sugar, pour the agar mixture into the well and stir with a wooden spoon, mixing in sugar. Add more sugar little by little until mixture is no longer sticky. Knead in remaining sugar until fondant is smooth, pliable and does not stick. If fondant is too soft/sticky add more sugar; if too stiff add water one small drop at a time.
When ready to use, knead fondant until soft and workable.