Hobbyist Days: My First-Time Fondant (Sugarpaste) Making Disaster

The first time I made my own rolled fondant (referred to in the UK as sugarpaste) was an absolute disaster.

This was before I started Delicious Cake Design and took up cake decorating seriously. I’d agreed to make a friend’s birthday cake for a party and decided to give cake decorating with fondant a go.

Being from Australia, I was a devotee of the Women’s Weekly cook books. I had a copy of a Women’s Weekly cake decorating book so I decided to use their rolled fondant recipe, which certainly looked easy enough in the book and had only 2 steps to follow.

I thought I’d followed the recipe exactly, but I had a hell of a time using the liquid glucose which was just too damn thick and would not come out of the bottle. The glucose, glycerine, and gelatine-melted-in-water congealed after I mixed them all together so I had a mostly gelatinous lump of goo, and I ended up heating them on the stove to return them to liquid form. Stirring the now liquid (but very hot) mixture into the icing sugar left me with an incohesive, crumbling mess which just would not come together at all.

I tried adding water, which didn’t seem to help all that much, (I now know of course that adding water is the last thing you want to do as it dissolves the sugar). So then I started adding in globs of liquid glucose. This seemed to help, but I kept adding more and more till it resembled lumpy porridge. It clung to my hands in big clumps making them look like a melting wax work. I was nearly in tears.

Not wanting to give up though, I decided the sensible thing to do was to reduce it’s liquidness, so I started adding more icing sugar. Eventually it came together, though it was very stiff and VERY sweet. BUT it was at least kneadable and I could roll it out (though it was a lot of hard work with such a stiff mixture!). Luckily it was just a practice batch. The next batch I made, I decided to ignore the recipe and make my own one based on the experience I’d gained through the disasterous first batch. Being a baker for many years, I also decided to trust my own instincts, and it turned out much much better!

I have now of course developed my own rolled fondant recipe through a lot of trial and error, which makes fondant that is much more flexible and easy to use. And of course, tastes great!

I am curious though, I wonder what other people’s first-time-fondant horror stories are? And has anyone else used the Women’s Weekly recipe successfully (I’m more than willing to admit I could have been a muppet and done something completely wrong!)?

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3 Responses to “Hobbyist Days: My First-Time Fondant (Sugarpaste) Making Disaster”

  1. LnddMiles says:

    The best information i have found exactly here. Keep going Thank you

  2. graziella says:

    Hi, I’m french and I found your marvellous blog… I have just discovered the cake design and I am absolutely addicted to it… of course i’m a complete beginner and here where i live, it is difficult to buy sugarpaste… I live in reunion island (french island in indian ocean).May you share your recipe of fondant and butter cake? I don’t want to buy already mix (cos i fear about the products used)… I tried the fondant with glucose (and I met your same misadventure)… the paste kept brreaking and it was not nice to cover the cake… I hope you will answer me, even if it is to telle me that you don’t give your receipe…I am planning to make the 2nd aniversary cake for my daughter on the thema of mikey mouse…hope i’ll be good enough at it… congratulations for your work.
    yours sincerely

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