Monday, August 10

Oops…. or, How to Estimate Fondant Needs

and How NOT to Estimate Fondant Needs

1) Make one batch, measure the dimensions of the finished brick, and calculate the volume of one batch: approx. 75 cu. in.

2) Figure out how much cake area you’ll be covering. (Remember area of a circle? Diameter times pi (3.14159)? And area of rectangle? Length times width?) My total area was about 2500 sq in.

  • Regular-sized cupcakes need a 2-3/4” circle. A biscuit cutter in that size would be perfect. Don’t have that? Try a jar lid. We used a pint-sized canning jar lid – the hole in the top was helpful so we could reach through and push the circle out when it stuck a little.
    A 10” x 8.5” rectangle will fit about 12 circles. IMG_1008
  • For a round cake, you need to roll out circle with a diameter of height of cake + diameter of cake + height again + 1” just in case. My cakes were 6” rounds about 4” tall. So I needed 15” circles.
  • For a rectangular cake, you need to roll out a rectangular shape with sides of 2 x height of cake + length of cake + 1” and 2 x height + width + 1”.

3) Multiply your total area by the thickness you’ll be rolling your fondant. I multiplied by 1/4” because that’s the thickness I remembered reading about online. I forgot that I rolled the fondant for my practice cake closer to 1/8” thick. Those who are adept at math are already laughing at me now. Total volume I thought I needed: 2500 x 0.25 = 625 cu. in. Total volume I actually needed: 2500 x 0.125 = 312.5 cu. in.

4) Divide your total volume by the batch volume (75 cu. in.) to get the number of batches you need. 625 / 75 = 8.333 so I rounded up and made 9 batches!

IMG_1001
But then went and rolled the stuff HALF as thick as what I’d thought I would. Which means I only used HALF of what I made!!! Which means this is what was still leftover after all the cakes and cupcakes and decorations were done:

IMG_1094

Oops.

At least the stuff stores well. It just needs to be wrapped tightly to keep it from drying out. Some people just leave it out at room temperature; considering the long shelf-life of the ingredients—marshmallows, powdered sugar, water, and a tiny bit of shortening—this should be fine. But I’m a “throw it in the fridge” kinda girl. I think I’ll put a small bit in the freezer too, to see how it works after it thaws.

Guess I’ll be making some more cakes in the coming weeks…

* * *

Oh, and no photos of the finished cupcake tower yet, but here are the cupcakes all spread out on my dining room table, after we added the last little heart and flower:

IMG_1028IMG_1031

Luckily, the bride’s mom is better at estimating than I am. Out of the 288 cupcakes we made, there were only a little over 2 dozen left! That’s a 90% consumption rate. (OK, OK, no more math for a while. Well, not until the Hankie Hem How-To…)

9 comments:

  1. Love the cupcakes!! I want to try a gnome and mushroom cake, and needed an easy way to make fondant. Love the marshmallow idea!!

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  2. Wow. I hereby abdicate my position as (former) Queen of Mass Production and dub thee High Empress Over All That Is Made In Vast Numbers.

    Another phenomenal labor of love, K. They are so absolutely gorgeous, those happy little cupcakes. Of course there weren't many left after the wedding guests laid eyes on them. I bet they tasted even better than they looked!

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  3. can you make flowers by hand such as Lilly and roses suing this fondent? My niece is getting married and my brother just lost his job so I am trying to find all the supplies I need and make her the cake she really wants

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  4. Thanks, all!

    Anon, good question. I'll try it this weekend and let you know.

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  5. Oh, and do you know for how long you can actually store the fondant? Because I have a batch still lying around ... (am also not very good at estimating obviously!) ... and am slowly getting nervous! I know it should keep long ... but still ... how long ist long? I was already thinking of making many small decoration thingis (like little toppers, flowers and stuff) and let them dry ... cause I thought they might store longer ... but am not sure ...
    I also did not put it into the fridge. Did you already try whether the frozen fondant will work after you get it out of the freezer?

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  6. Hi Miss Muffin -- I don't know the answer to how long you can store it. By the way, are you talking about the marshmallow fondant? Because I have even LESS experience with the "real" stuff. But I figure: marshmallows have an insanely long shelf life. And so does powdered sugar. There's a bit of shortening in there, but that can stay for ages too. And all at room temperature. So I don't see how you suddenly drastically reduce the shelf life just by mixing the stuff together. It's not like it has milk or butter or such in it. So my guess is you could keep it for weeks if not months, provided it's well wrapped so it doesn't dry out.

    Now, would I tell people eating the cake that the fondant is 6 months old? Perhaps not -- seems like many people tend to not like the idea of eating something that old. But if it still smells good and tastes good and feels good, I say it probably is good. (Ha, now any of my local friends reading this will never want to eat one of my cakes again...)

    Oh, and the frozen fondant? Sadly, it did not stay on my counter long enough for me to really tell; some munchkins came and ate the flowers right up. The fondant does get shiny from the moisture that condenses on its surface, after being in the fridge and freezer. And while it does eventually "dry off" somewhat, it never goes back to that truly matte look like when it was put on the cake. At least, not that I've observed so far...

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