Birthday cake is a marshmallow treat

Recently, I had the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe that I have been wanting to try for quite some time. That recipe is marshmallow fondant.

I’ve used regular fondant before, and while I liked the clean, smooth texture and backdrop that it provides, I didn’t particularly care for the taste of it, and the people who eat the things that I bake agreed.

With all the things that I have baked, I’ve tried never to sacrifice taste for the overall look of the cake, even when it comes to a themed birthday cake or sugar cookies. If it looks simple, but tastes great, then I’ve met the goal.

What’s the point of making something with sugar that looks pretty but tastes terrible?

If you’re going to make things that are bad for you, they had better be worth the calories, right?

Sure, there are a variety of preferences that come into play here, for one thing – some people actually like, or don’t mind the taste of fondant. Many people also like different types of frosting, not everyone likes buttercream.

This is where it all comes down to knowing what your personal strengths are in baking, and what your target audience is.

If you’re going to make something your own, then don’t hesitate, and make it the best way that YOU would make it.

Even when you’re making cookies, there’s no reason they have to be, ‘cookie cutter,’ or exactly like everyone else’s. Pun completely intentional.

Last week was my daughter’s fourth birthday, and she had her heart set on a, ‘Mary Poppins,’ theme. Both movies are family favorites of ours, so I was thrilled to run with this idea.

I was shocked when I came to realize how hard it was going to be to find things to coordinate with this party theme.

That meant that everything specific to the party was going to have to be personally paired and customized, which meant lots of baking and brainstorming around the corner.

In other words, a fantastic reason to do some of my favorite things!

Even though I had ample notice of Ellie’s party request, narrowing down what to do on a birthday cake was a bit difficult to do.

After all, there are so many whimsical, fun ideas in Mary Poppins, especially when you combine both the original movie and the new one.

Finally, with some help of the birthday girl, we decided on a sky filled with balloons cake which coordinates with one of the final scenes in the movie.

The name of the song from the scene is, ‘Nowhere to go but up’, which has such a great meaning behind it, especially when paired with a celebration of a toddler’s birthday.

This might be starting to sound like a movie review, and while that isn’t intentional, I can’t exactly apologize for it as it has everything to do with this cake.

I knew we were going to need something three dimensional to create the balloons from, to make it a bit more interesting than just piped on buttercream.

Here was the time to try out this recipe — finally.

To sum things up, it turned out far better than I expected, and I can hardly wait for the chance to use it again, which will definitely be happening at some point in the future.

It cut beautifully, had a great sheen to it, and was perfectly smooth. The smoothness of the fondant cut balloons could definitely be compared to that of a real balloon.

The taste was much like what you would expect of something made from marshmallows – it was sweet and almost fluffy. Not something you would need to avoid or peel off of a cake.

Although I could probably keep telling you about this wonderful, and wonderfully fun to make, fondant, I’ll leave you with the recipe now.

As always, thanks for reading, and happy baking from hbk!

Marshmallow Fondant

INGREDIENTS

1 pkg. 16 oz. white mini marshmallows

2-5 Tbsp. water

2 lb. powdered sugar, or 8 cups

1/2 C. solid vegetable shortening

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Optional — gel food coloring

1. Spray a rubber spatula and your hands in non-stick cooking spray.

2. Stir together the marshmallows and 2 Tbsp. water in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds on high, then stir. Repeat microwaving in 30 second increments and stirring until completely smooth.

3. Stir in about 3/4 of the powdered sugar, and vanilla and continue combining until smooth.

4. Coat a large countertop, and your hands again, with the shortening, and sprinkle with some of the remaining powdered sugar. Keep the shortening close by to recoat the surface as needed.

5. Knead the fondant until stretchy and smooth. If the fondant tears when stretched, it will need a bit more water kneaded into it. Form into a large squishy ball, and store in plastic wrap or a resealable bag.

6. At this point, you can knead and work in other colors if needed. Separate into different amounts and work with each individual color until you achieve the color needed.

This will yield enough for an 8-inch, 4 layer cake, with some to spare for decorating. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Katy Wise is a Fredonia resident.

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