Working with fondant in hot and humid Singapore

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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 the 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. (My comments in blue).

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. For me, I love Bakels.  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. It did not taste and smell nice at all. 

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. 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! I would further place the cling-wrapped fondant in an airtight container or a recloseable sandwich bag.

 

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. Between the airport and the wedding venue, the fondant covered cake would have absorbed the moisture in the air (you can see and feel the condensation on the cake).  It is highly recommended, actually you must, place the cake in an air-condition room (preferably 18 deg C) immediately. Most wedding venues in Singapore are held under void decks (apartment blocks). As such the cake will be exposed to the humidity for at least 3-5 hours depending on when the cake cutting ceremony is held.  I would not recommend the cake to be exposed to the humidity for more than 4 hours (lesser is better especially when the temperature is higher than 30 deg C). 

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. Another good tip: use alcohol when you wish to get rid of stains on the cake.

If you apply all the above tips well, you should be able to achieve success making beautiful fondant cakes in the hot and humid tropics.

For a great step by step as well as a video on how to cover your cake with fondant – go to Cake Decorating Online.

EQUIVALENCY OF USE – approximate weight of fondant required to the size of round cake based on  6mm or 1/4 inch thickness (approx)
1 x 15cm (6″) 800g
1 x 25cm (8″) 1200g
1 x 25.5cm (10″) 1600g
For square cakes add an additional 100g per cake.

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