Saturday, July 9, 2011

Why Fondant Makes Good Handcuffs

Last year I made Lucy's birthday cake myself. And I iced it myself. And you could tell. She turned one, and SHE could tell. In case you haven't noticed, I am not a domestic diva. Cooking really isn't my thing. It was the mother of all pathetic homemade cakes. If you don't believe me, here's a picture:

In my defense, at least it tasted good.

This year I thought I would learn something about cake decorating, so that her two year old cake is slightly less embarrassing. Maybe she'll at least smile for her picture this year. Maybe if I improve a little bit each year, we'll have a cake she's willing to eat by the time she turns sweet 16.

I started googling cakes, and I thought that the fondant iced cakes looked really nice, and kind of like they were made out of sculpy. I like sculpy. I can relate to sculpy much better than I can to a sticky can of icing. And - bonus points! - when I googled fondant recipes it turns out that fondant only has TWO ingredients! Totally my style of cooking.

So we (as in Lucy and I) made fondant. How hard can it be? Ha. Don't ever think that when cooking with a two year old.

We dumped all the marshmallows in the bowl.

We microwaved them so they got nice and mushy. And sticky. Very Very VERY sticky.

Then we added powdered sugar to the mix. Lots and lots and LOTS of powdered sugar. But not enough. Lucy was in charge of adding the sugar. And she added sugar to the counter, to the floor, to her hair, to my hair, to her shirt, to her shoes, and to the dog as well as to the marshmallows. So when we dug our hands in to knead the marshmallows into a sculpy-like dough they were still Very Very VERY sticky. My hands, Lucy's hands, the bowl, and the marshmallow/sugar concoction ended up glued to the counter.

On the plus side, poorly mixed fondant makes great handcuffs. Lucy's hands stuck together so well she couldn't get them apart.

It took most of a bag of sugar to get the fondant to the right consistency and unstuck from the counter. While I was working on fixing that, Lucy got her hands unstuck from the counter and glued them to the bowl. This was slightly concerning as the bowl was breakable. I dumped Lucy, and the bowl, in the sink and put her in charge of "washing dishes." It took lots of hot water, but I eventually separated most of the fondant (aka glue) from Lucy and evicted her from the kitchen while I cleaned up the rest. 

This is Lucy's sad face:

It took us two more days to finish the project. On the second day we baked cupcakes (from a box). Aside from making them too large for the cups, they turned out well (because they came from a box). On the third day we rolled out the fondant and decorated the cupcakes. Cookie cutters were a bit beyond Lucy's comprehension, but she was very very good at greasing and sugaring the counter top so that the fondant wouldn't stick. Of course, she was also very good at greasing and sugaring the chair, my hair, the floor, her clothes...I'm not sure the fondant experience was worth the amount of laundry it created.

Here is our finished product:

I'm not sure I have the energy to do this again for her birthday, although I might consider using poorly mixed fondant as a toddler restraining device in the future. I can just hear my husband now: "Honey, where's Lucy?" "Oh, I glued her to the ceiling with fondant."


  1. Except for the sticky, teary eyed Lucy (with hair bow)
    the end result is Impressive!

  2. I think it definitely was worth it. And I think you should definitely do it again for her birthday.