Easy Homemade Marshmallow Fondant
A week or so ago (is time blurring for anyone else these days??), my baby brother became an Eagle Scout. Having 4 brothers who have all gone through the scout program, I’ve been to my fair share of Court of Honor ceremonies!
For the last two ceremonies, my mom has talked me into making a cake (you can see the first one here)– despite my vehement protests that I am not, nor do I have any desire to be, a cake decorator. Frankly, my idea of decorating a cake doesn’t extend much beyond opening a tub of Cool Whip. And I’m okay with that! I’m happy to leave the incredible decorating to some of my uber talented friends like Amanda and Christi (have you seen her cookie cookbook yet?!)
Anyway. My mom talked me into making a cake again. And when it comes to decorating cakes that need to look in the least bit fancy, I always turn to fondant. It’s so easy to work with, easy for fixing mistakes, and always looks gorgeous.
Once I discovered this marshmallow fondant recipe, I never looked back.
For one, it tastes LIGHTYEARS better than any store-bought fondant I’ve ever tried. I mean, it’s marshmallows and powdered sugar– what’s not to love?!
Another thing: I think this stuff is much easier to work with. It’s really soft, even in a big batch, but not overly sticky. And I’ve found that as long as you work with a little shortening nearby, you can handle it a lot without it drying out too quickly.
I will admit that this marshmallow version does still dry out a little faster than the store-bought kind does (just a heads up if you’re used to using the store-bought variety!). So I usually just use this fondant to cover cakes and take care of any “big stuff,” and then I’ll buy small packages (yeesh– do they come in any size but teeny, tiny?) of colored fondant to use for embellishments over my marshmallow fondant.
Here’s a walk through the making process and a couple of tips for handling before you get started:
Everything mixes up together in a high-quality stand mixer using a dough hook. This recipe isn’t for the faint-of-heart mixers. You need a good sturdy one or else you risk blowing the motor and/or tipping the whole thing over. I’ve only ever used my Kitchen Aid 6-qt. Professional, so I can’t really speak for anything else.
Shortening is absolutely vital. Please don’t ask me if you can use butter instead. I love butter as much as the next guy. But it’s not right for this recipe, so steer clear. You’ll melt down the initial measurement of shortening to add to the mixer. After that, keep the shortening nearby. If the fondant doesn’t look like it’s becoming cohesive enough (stays crumbly), you can add more shortening about a tablespoon at a time until it looks just right.
I prefer to work with this fondant when it’s warm. It’s just a personal preference– not totally necessary if you’ve used enough shortening. But I like that it makes the fondant SO much softer for a short time, and I can just roll out my big piece quickly without much elbow grease. If I’m working with it straight from the mixer, it’s usually warm enough. But if I’ve had to leave it on the counter top (in a sealed zip lock bag!) for several hours, I’ll microwave it for about 30 seconds in a zip lock bag to soften it up again. Be careful doing this! There is a risk involved– re-heating will dry it out faster. I always keep the bag sealed why it’s in the microwave, and I don’t take it out of the bag until I’m at my workspace, ready to roll! I also tend to re-heat only in small batches. I wouldn’t ever re-heat the entire recipe at once. I would take as much fondant as I needed for one layer of cake, place it in it’s own separate bag, and re-heat and roll out and place all at the same time. Then go back for the next layer’s worth of fondant.
Use a non-stick workspace when possible. A Demarle Roul’pat is ideal and what I use. You can also use parchment paper that secured to a table (but I’ve found that still moves around quite a bit). If you don’t have a non-stick, non-slip surface available to roll the fondant out on, you’ll want to be prepared to make a big mess with a hefty amount of powdered sugar. When I would make this years ago, before my Roul’pat, I would toss down a handful of powdered sugar in between rolls, flipping the fondant each time, to keep it from sticking and keep a smooth surface. It’s a huge mess, but totally worth it. You’ll have an excess of powdered sugar on the fondant once it’s placed on the cake– just use a clean cosmetic-style brush to brush it off.
- 16 ounces marshmallows (this is about 1 1/2 packages plus a small handful)
- 5 tbsp water
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening, melted + more for kneading if necessary
- Place the marshmallows and water in a large microwave safe bowl, and heat in the microwave for 90 seconds. Stir until marshmallows are smooth.
- Add to the stand mixer: the melted marshmallows, the powdered sugar (yep, all of it at once), and the melted shortening.
- Knead on low with the bread hook. As the mixture starts to form a clumpy dough, increase the speed to medium, and then medium-high. Continue to knead until smooth fondant dough forms. Add more shortening if mixture is not pliable enough (too crumbly, clumpy). Add more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time) if the fondant dough appears to be too "loose" or thin.
- Remove fondant to a non-stick surface and knead by hand (adding shortening as necessary) until consistency is smooth and elastic (this shouldn't take much kneading at all, maybe even none). Use immediately or store tightly sealed in a zip lock plastic bag until ready for use. Do NOT refrigerate.
- See tips in the post for handling and use.
Covers at LEAST two 10-inch rounds. I had a lot to spare and am guessing I could have covered two MORE 10-inch rounds if I didn't have to scrap much.
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