Slowly adding to my repertoire. Another wedding coming up in May. I now live and breathe wedding cakes, looking for inspiration on the internet, books, magazines, nature, wrapping papers, clothes… you name it, I have my eyes on it. As the colour theme is purple (no it is lilac, no…mauve, or is it aubergine or burgundy???) and silver, my eyes are drawn to anything which is in that colour scheme. No doubt, I will produce something to that effect :-).
As of now, I have decided to start off with an ivory base and have added electric purple (regal purple does not work for me) and then work towards lighter colours from there. I have been using the flower paste which I made (with VEGE Gum) and it was too tacky. I switched to the store bought PETRAUSE brand and they seemed not to be working either. The petals when dried are so brittle and in the process I have lost a few good ones. So frustrating!!
I am thinking of trying a few other sugar paste recipes and hopefully they would work better. Will try the recipe from Nicholas Lodge, Michelle (Inspired by Michelle), Alan Dunn or Tombi Peck.
I bumped into the following blog site and it pretty much sums the ‘dos and donts’ when working with fondant in humid weather. I have attached her article below and have made some further notes based on my own experience working with fondant in Sydney and Singapore.
How to handle fondant in hot and humid Singapore by Fait Maison
Rolled fondant is cooked mixture of sugar and water with a consistency of a stiff dough. It can be rolled out into a smooth thin layer, then draped over a cake to create a very smooth, flat coating. It is possible to make your own fondant, but I prefer to use a commercially prepared brand like Satin Ice. I use Bakels as I have read a lot of great feedback. An update: I tried Satin Ice sugarpaste whilst in Singapore in June and have found it to be less pliable and difficult to roll out thinly to make flowers.
General Rules when Using Fondant
Always wear gloves when handling fondant. This keeps the fondant safe to eat, and provides a barrier to slow down the heat transfer from your hands to the fondant.
Always make sure your work surfaces are clean. Fondant will attract anything that it comes into contact with. Do not wear dark and fluffy clothing! A white or light coloured apron is a good practice.
Knead the fondant with a little shortening to soften it before rolling it out or shaping it. Do not use icing sugar, you may use corn starch/flour. Only use tiny amount of shortening if you need to. Otherwise, refrain from it.
If colouring fondant, only use concentrated food colouring for icing such as Wilton’s and knead in a bit at a time until desired colour is achieved. Or Americolour.
Always wrap fondant that you’re not working with in cling-wrap to prevent it from drying out or absorbing too much moisture from the air. Too true!
How to Win the Battle Against Heat and Humidity in Singapore
1. Always work with fondant in an air-conditioned room and try to make sure the cake is displayed in a place with air-conditioning.
2. When rolling fondant out, use cornstarch instead of icing sugar to prevent the fondant from sticking to the table.
3. Try to cover the cake with fondant on the actual day it will be eaten, so as to avoid the need for refrigeration. I have never placed my fondant covered cake in the fridge. Some decorators do this and it is ok. Maybe I will try it one day.
4. If you really need to refrigerate the cake after covering it with fondant (which was what I did), place it in a cake box and cling-wrap the box or loosely wrap the cake with cling-film before refrigerating.
5. When removing fondant cake from the fridge, place it in a cool air-conditioned room still in its box or with the cling-wrap still on. You want to make sure the change in temperature is not too sudden or it will start condensing on the surface of the fondant. Also, keeping the cake from being exposed to the air will prevent the sugars in the fondant from absorbing the moisture in the air.
6. For fondant cut-outs, ribbons, and figures, use a 50-50 mixture of fondant and gum paste. Gum paste dries harder than fondant and will speed up the drying process.
7. To apply cut-outs, brush on alcohol or a flavouring that contains alcohol instead of water. Alcohol evaporates quicker and reduces the amount of water in contact with fondant.
If you apply all these tips well, you should be able to achieve success making beautiful fondant cakes in the hot and humid tropics. Good luck and have fun!