Sunday, 18 September 2011

My First Large, Fondant Covered Cake (with Chocolate Roses)


Actually making a fondant covered celebration cake is something I've been meaning to do for at least the last year. This was one of the things on "my baking bucket list" along with swiss rolls, bagels, layered jellies and sour dough bread. All things that I've been really nervous of for some reason - yet when I've actually made the effort, found the nervousness totally unfounded.

The sour dough remains on that list - but I've actually booked a sour dough artisan bread class on the 9th of October. I'm going with my friend Victoria and am really looking forward to the day out !

The thing that worried me most about this was not baking the cake. I made a classic madeira cake which was ok, but nothing special. I'm not going to post the recipe, as I've found a far better recipe since that I would use next time I make a large covered cake.

My concerns lay in how good a job I'd do in fondant covering it. I was worried my fondant would all be cracked or bumpy and not smooth. If I'm going to take on a project, I like to make a good job of it. If I think it'll be a total hash - I'd rather not attempt it in the first place !


Given the fact that I was going to attempt this and also hoped it was something I could continue to do in future, I invested in a turntable. It really is not required, but does make the job of covering a cake so much easier.

On reading, I found that crumb coating is essential for a nice smooth surface. I had made two 8" madeira cakes. I trimmed these to level and used wild blueberry preserve and buttercream to fill. The buttercream needs to be quite soft and smooth to crumb coat. Basically, it involves covering the whole outside of the cake in a thin layer of buttercream. This fills any little air holes in the cake's surface and seals the crumbs in.

After leaving it to dry, I covered with my fondant. I used 1kg of regular pre-made block fondant. It was a bit on the sticky side (brand I've never used before) - so I decided to add a little colour and 3/4 cup of melted belgian chocolate. I simply kneaded the chocolate into the fondant, wrapped in cling film and left it to firm up.

There are loads of good youtube videos that show you how to fondant cover a large cake and I'd suggest watching some before your first attempt. Using a silicone work / rolling mat with a tiny amount of shortening rubbed in made the job easy. I had no need to dust with icing sugar or cornflour - there was absolutely no sticking whatsoever.


After fondant covering, the fun bit of decorating could commence.

I've recently been playing with modelling chocolate. It's basically melted chocolate mixed with corn syrup and mixed to a paste. Once left to harden, this turns into a clay that can be used almost like (or instead of) fondant. It's super good fun turning it into roses !

Corn syrup is not widely available in the UK - unless mail ordered from specialist American online stores.

As an alternative, I tried Agave nectar. That worked pretty well, but took a lot of beating with a spoon and a considerable time to get to a paste consistency. Golden syrup works well. It's thicker and I found I needed a little more of it. The final modelling chocolate is more resilient though and does not melt and stick to my hands at anything like the speed of the agave equivalent.

I used 300g of dark chocolate (54%) and 125ml of golden syrup. Only about 100ml of syrup is needed with white chocolate as this has a higher fat content.

Do have a look at this YouTube video which shows you how to make modelling chocolate and the roses. It really is fab....




I need some practice yet - but these are my first chocolate roses....

Sarah-Jane Nash,  September 2011 - www.siliconemoulds.com


23 comments:

  1. Look absolutely beautiful! gloria

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  2. This cake is beautiful! You did well decorating this cake!

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  3. Can't get over how smooth and perfect your fondant looks - it's an unforgiving colour too!
    Your roses are beautiful - I particularly love the two-tone one

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  4. wow Sarah! what a beautiful job. congratulations...first try and brilliant! LOVE teh roses...makes me want to make a fondant covered cake n roses too :))

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  5. Goodness that looks amazing, well done :-)

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  6. Your chocolate roses are so perfect and the cake looks amazing!!

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  7. For a first time, I think you had done this beautifully!

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  8. Great job on your first time using fondant! I am addicted to using fondant now... it's so great! Your roses are beautiful by the way!

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  9. Wow - you did a GREAT job! The cake is perfection and I bet everyone loved it!

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  10. Thanks For stopping by Sarah Jane, of course you canb partipate in Secret Recipe Club is really fun and you have wonderful recipes, talk with Amanda, xxgloria

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  11. Thank you everyone for your lovely comments. Once my initial fear was overcome, I really enjoyed making this and was rather pleased with how it turned out.

    Ive been amazed at how easy modelling chocolate is to make and work with - and how good it tastes. I really thought that this sort of thing was out of my league - what I make often tastes better than it looks ! So looking forward to having a special occasion to make another :-)

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  12. Oh, this is so inspiring! I too want to make a fondant cake and I am amazed at the endless creativity that's involved with fondant..pretty looking cake and the flowers are very cute!

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  13. Gorgeous cake!!! And your first chocolate roses are amazing (mine would look like blobs!).

    PS...I jump on the treadmill nearly every day plus do a couple hot yoga classes per week. I usually have pretty good will power, but yesterday I had a few big spoonfuls of a wonderful chocolate buttercream...yikes...can't skip the treadmill today :)

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  14. Bravo for you and your success with the fondant cake. It looks absolutely gorgeous! One birthday in Paris my hubby found a chocolate shop with chocolate roses. I was so surprised and delighted.

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  15. Hi Jane! I'have always been intimidated with using fondant. You did such a great job and the chocolate mould roses is genius. Wish I know how to mould my own flowers. This is something in my to do list as well ;). Btw, thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend!! Cheers, Jo

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  16. I love playing with fondant, but it is time consuming. I got your package today, thanks I can't wait to play with everything. Hope you have a great week. I think those roses came out great for your first time. My first time with modeling chocolate and it was too stiff.
    -Gina-

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  17. thank you all for the comments. Sorry I've not been around much recently to comment on everyones blogs. I'll do a blog post shortly and update everyone with what's going on...

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  18. Hi Sara-Jane-Thank you for the follow...followed you back. I ama in awe of your amazing, and fantastic cake with the fondant, but mostly mesmorized by the beauty of the chocolate roses. If this is your first try, I wonder what will be next to top this:DDD

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  19. Oh Sara-Jane, this is absolutely gorgeous! Perfection as far as I'm concerned. Definitely too pretty to eat! Although I guess you could twist my arm if need be! ;)

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  20. Both the cake and roses are absolutely perfect, amazing first fondant covered cake hun! The roses are very impressive, especially for a first try!

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  21. Well Done, For a first attempt on covering and doing the roses. You have done well in shapeing and getting the roses to look right.Welcome to the World of Sugarcrafting.Doesn't this want you to learn more?? :o)

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  22. thanks... yes - I'd love to dip more into sugar craft. So many things to try !

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