I’ve never done much in the way of decorating cakes – just a bit of buttercream, plain icing, frostings, and I did make a train cake once for my nephew, but I don’t remember with what! So, fondant I haven’t tried before. While I got the recipe from Taste (see below), I also found this page useful for understanding how to work with it.
I made the carrot first. I didn’t have much success in getting the leaf to stay connected to the carrot, and it was quite soft. I decided to have another go the next night, and using a plastic container as the form, rolled out some fondant to spread over the container. I was able to achieve a fairly thin layer without it splitting, and I also found it easy to shape it. I cut the leaves out with a knife, and used a cutter to create the circles. I dusted the fondant with copious amounts of icing sugar while I worked with it so it wouldn’t stick.
Once I had each piece in place, I used a wet pastry brush to clean it off. The damp surface helped stick the next layer on – this is how I could have made the leaf stick to my carrot. Brushing made the fondant wet and it took about a day (24 hours) to dry. I was pleased at this point to observe that it had also set hard. The thinner bits were brittle.
Several recipes I looked at had glycerine added to the fondant, which helps keep it pliable and stops it from drying out. I’m sure this helps but I didn’t have any on hand and still managed to successfully work the fondant. I kept it in a sealed plastic bag over a number of days and was able to get it to a workable texture with a bit of manipulation.
I had some spare glaze from a fruit tart, but rather than making my fondant decoration shiny, it made it sparkly. I found another site that tested a few methods for achieving shiny fondant.
A final note: brushing my fondant with a damp pastry brush made some of the colours run – you can see the purple has run onto the green leaf. The brush was too wet – it really only needs to be damp.
Recipe by Kathy Knudson, Taste Australia Online