Which fondant is better?
Posted: 26 February 2008 04:12 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I am kind of new to fondant and am wondering what is the best brand to use…Bakels Pettinice, Satin Ice, or FondX?

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Posted: 26 February 2008 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You really need to try them all because everyone will have their particular favorite.  I use whatever I can get the easiest - mostly Albert Uster Massa Grischuna (it’s more expensive than the others, unfortunately but handles beautifully); Pettinice when my local distributor has it (I like this one too and use either one).  I haven’t had a good experience with Satin Ice - to me, it is very soft and I find I have to roll it on a chilled stainless steel table (a hint I got from Ron Ben-Israel when he hosted an online chat a few years ago - you put some ice on the table for a few minutes, wipe the condensation away and work quickly.  Otherwise I have to use a ton of cornstarch which dries out the fondant and makes it look horrible.

I do use the Satin Ice colored fondant when I have to, especially the red and black.  The FondX colors I found to be very dry.

I have not used FondX.  I have used the fondant from various to-the-trade distributors and still go back to Pettinice and Albert Uster.

You really have to find what works for you in your kitchen.  Everyone has their favorites!

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Posted: 27 February 2008 12:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Jeanne - your cakes are so elegant!  My favorite is #2.

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Posted: 27 February 2008 02:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Jeanne, congratulations on your award. You certainly have an impressive portfolio on your website. Would you care to share with us hackers how long you have been doing this and how you came to it?

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Posted: 27 February 2008 08:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Well… it all started with a copy of the Cake Bible and getting engaged… well, ok, not entirely.

My mother says that from an early age I was always more interested in dessert than in the rest of the meal; I would pore over the cookbooks she had and want to make all the desserts from them.  Rose’s Cake Bible came out a few years before I got married, and at the time, no one in my area was doing fondant covered cakes.  Having been a passionate amateur for many years, I decided I would make the swiss dot wedding cake from the cake bible.  We had four cousins getting married in the same year, so I practiced by doing all of their shower cakes.  I ended up buying fondant from Albert Uster as well as the pink marzipan roses and never looked back!  It was pretty stressful doing my own wedding cake, and my husband will occasionally remind me that it ranks right up there with some of the really dumb things I’ve ever done (because of timing and getting the cake to the reception facility the day before the wedding) but everyone still remembers how delicious it was!!

I got commercial kitchen space about 7 1/2 years ago; I agreed to do the package wedding cakes for a banquet facility in exchange for being allowed to do my own work there.  When that building was sold, I moved in with a caterer and after three years with her, am now in a bigger kitchen (still sharing but with a different caterer, which is great because they provide a lot of referrals).

But it wasn’t until after my son was born and was toddling around that I realized I didn’t want to be in high tech any more, travelling constantly so my friend Beryl said “for crying out loud, just open your own place and stop wishing for it!”  So it took a while to find commercial kitchen space, and when I found it, I could get started (every state and town has different regulations.  The town next to us allows separate residential kitchens, my town is not fond of the idea). The first kitchen gave me the chance to really practice my buttercream skills (all their cakes were buttercream), but I have more fun with fondant.  In fact, I’m faster with fondant than with buttercream because I never stop fiddling with it and want it to look as perfect as fondant does.

I work harder than I ever did but this is a happy business.  Everyone is always in a good mood planning for their celebration!

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Posted: 27 February 2008 06:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Jeanne, your cakes are out of this world! Absolutely gorgeous and perfect. Congratulations on being selected by Bride’s Magazine as the most beautiful cakes.

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http://heavenlycakesenjoyedonearth.blogspot.com/

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Posted: 27 February 2008 09:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Jeanne, thanks for sharing . It’s great when a hobby can become a business, then it doesn’t really seem like work. Have you had any formal training?

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Posted: 27 February 2008 11:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The same year I opened my bakeshop, I took several professional baking classes - one of my chef instructors was Ursula of Art of the Cake fame who is an incredibly talented pastry chef and provided a lot of nuts-and-bolts training. I was also lucky enough early in my career to take a few classes with Colette Peters. My friend Beryl provided the best on-the-job training (she’s owned her bakery for 20 years).  I’ve never been interested in breads, though; just pastry and cake.  So I don’t have a well-rounded pastry and baking education.  Chocolate is something I could spend forever on but haven’t yet and soon I will get to the Notter school and learn how to pull sugar.  I have been lucky enough to be in the right class at the right time with some phenomenal chef instructors.  I think culinary school helps you to learn technique, how a kitchen works, and the basics.  Technique you get to refine by working for other chefs, which I haven’t had the chance to do.  But working in a kitchen is the best experience - working in a restaurant kitchen is beyond amazing.  I have such respect for guys on the hot side, I’ll stay over here in pastry thank you very much!

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Posted: 28 February 2008 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Just had a look at your website, your cakes are beautiful!

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Posted: 29 February 2008 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Jeanne, which cake recipes do you use for your wedding cakes.  I have a dilemma:  I like to decorate cakes about 4” tall with only one layer of filling, but most of the recipes in the Cake Bible produce layers that are less that 2” tall.  Do you have any advice on how to get 4” height?

Thanks!

ps…I’ve had your website on my Favs for a long time!

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Posted: 29 February 2008 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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zenu - 29 February 2008 04:30 PM

I like to decorate cakes about 4” tall with only one layer of filling, but most of the recipes in the Cake Bible produce layers that are less that 2” tall.

Use the base formulas multiplied by the “Rose Factor” in the back of the Cake Bible.  AFAIK, they’re “scaled up” for 2inch pans, not 1-1/2inch pans.  I’m using the “Base Recipe for Butter Cakes” (p. 491) and they’re damn near spot on for 2inch high layers.

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Posted: 29 February 2008 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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zenu - 29 February 2008 04:30 PM

Jeanne, which cake recipes do you use for your wedding cakes.  I like to decorate cakes about 4” tall with only one layer of filling

Hi Zenu all of these cakes were made using Rose’s white or chocolate butter cake recipes.  All the tiers consisted of 2 layers of cake with one layer of buttercream or ganache filling.  Each tier was 4” tall after decorating. 

http://s169.photobucket.com/albums/u206/Patrincia/

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Posted: 29 February 2008 09:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I use a combination of different recipes from different sources.  I love the Silver Palate carrot cake; the yellow and white cakes from RLB and the Whimsical Bakehouse - I like the chocolate cake from Martha Stewart’s magazine (or it might have come from the site, I can’t remember).  I also have recipes from classes that I have no idea who the original author might have been since we learned using the notes given to us in class and they weren’t attributed.

For books, I use Wayne Gisslen’s professional baking book a lot as a professional reference; but I have hundreds and hundreds of cookbooks.  Some I go back to over and over again - my favorites are everything from our beloved Rose, and Maida Heatter; The Village Baker’s Wife, books from Flo Braker, Nick Malgieri, Carole Walter and Dorie Greenspan.  For decorating, my favorite authors are Debbie Brown, Lindy Smith, Margaret Braun, Toba Garrett, and the Australian wedding cake magazines, Modern Wedding Cakes and Chocolates, and Bride to Be Wedding Cakes.  Those are annual editions that are good to have to show clients.  People are rough on them so I buy two of each issue.

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