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Buttercream ribbon?
Posted: 25 October 2010 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello! I am frying my brain trying to figure out how I am going to make a birthday “present” cake?
It is supposed to be a 1 tier, two layer square (probably 16”) in white and pink.
I have no experience in fondant so I am not sure if 1.5 weeks would be enough time for me to feel confident enough to use fondant…..sooooooo, I am thinking I will be using buttercream. Does any one know of tecniques in buttercream decorating to make “ribbons” and a “bow”? Do I just use a larger tip or is there another way?

Has anyone used real ribbons and bows? Which works better?
Thanks~

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Posted: 26 October 2010 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Fondant is easy.  Use Rose’s recipe from The Cake Bible and give it a try.  I had success the very first time I used it.  It’s like play-doh for cakes.

EDIT: The decorations in my avatar are fondant cutouts: numbers and stars. I didn’t feel like making cookies, so I used and colored leftover fondant that I had on hand.  I have no idea if anyone ate them, but they worked perfectly.

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Posted: 26 October 2010 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi!  My take on fondant is that if you can work with playdough, you can work with fondant—especially if you’re trying to do fairly large adornments like ribbons.  Making the fondant in the cuisinart is pretty straight forward, or you can purchase it pre-made at Michaels (although I’ve never actually tried the pre-made).  It is also fun to color the fondant, b/c you can do just about any color if you have brown or black on hand to darken it up, since the paste colors seem to come out brighter than you want them.  So I’ve used it to recreate logos and other special requests.  I’ve only done fondant 4-5 times so far (latest effort attached), but it is fun to work with.  My recommendations would be:

- make an ample portion, so you have some to experiment with.  Hold some plain white in reserve in case you need to lighten it.
- it does pick up lint and any other stuff in the vicinity pretty easily, so make sure your work area, tools and board are pristinely clean.  (wear white)
- you will need to buy glycerin (available in the cake section at Michaels)
-make sure the gelatin is COMPLETELY dissolved!  (Otherwise, you’ll end up with little unattractive blobs of gelatin in the finished product :()
- you may need to bevel the top edge off your cake to make a nice smooth edge for the fondant
- I’m not sure if others do this, but I typically coat the cake with a generous layer of buttercream (for flavor and smoothness under the fondant) then stick it in the fridge to harden up before applying the fondant. 
- those Cricket cutter plastic sheets make a great work surface since they have measurements right on them.  I tape two together for bigger projects.  (I don’t actually have the Cricket machine, though,  LOL)
- fondant will stretch a bit
- you can use the tip of a paring knife to pick out any imperfections. the other challenge is smoothing it out to get rid of air bubbles.
- If you’re not comfortable making fondant decorations, you can pipe royal icing on. 
- I suppose you could also tie real ribbons around the outside.

As for your question on buttercreams—I actually found it surprisingly hard to get those ribbons around the outside on neatly.  In retrospect, I probably needed to stick it in the fridge to harden the buttercream before putting the ribbon on.  Otherwise, the ribbon can get messy.  I’ve never tried to make a ribbon out of buttercream…at least not a big one, so someone else will have to weigh in on that!

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Posted: 26 October 2010 07:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thank you for the encouragement! I am going to make a practice batch of fondant! smile wish me luck!
Has anyone ever tried the Marshmallow Fondant? It seems to be easier that the other recipe,.....AND I already have all the ingredients!
Any thoughts as far as one over the other?
Thanks

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Posted: 28 October 2010 12:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ve heard that marshmallow fondant is WAY easy, but also way sweeter than in Rose’s book.  Also, I made chocolate fondant from Rose’s book and it FAILED because of CRISCO.  Do NOT use Crisco.  I guess they changed their recipe and although it tasted awesome, was a big pile of unusable brown stuff.  There’s some other brand you are supposed to use…not sure what it is at the moment.  Good luck!

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Posted: 28 October 2010 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Use Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Shortening.  I have found it in Sprouts Market (California) and Wegmans (NJ).  Basically, a store with a pretty good organics section should carry it.

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Posted: 28 October 2010 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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a store with a pretty good organics section should carry it

Unless you are in Canada confused   I believe they only sell food service quantities here.

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Posted: 28 October 2010 05:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Bummer! I am in Mexico…..sooooo, That sort of limits my resources! I experimented making a MM fondant, and it turned out pretty good. I think I am leaning towards covering the cake in buttercream and just using the fondant to decorate (ribbons and bow) ...... Hope it turns out!
Thank you all so much for your insight and helpfulness!

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Posted: 28 October 2010 08:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I made white fondant with Crisco and it came out fine.  Tasted good too.

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Posted: 28 October 2010 11:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Any good tips on how to make a pretty fondant bow? I have read that you are supposed to add tylose so it hardens better….(no tylose available where I live) do you think just the regular MM fondant will harden enough to make the decorations? Baker JD…your decorations are too cute! What fondant did you use?
Thanks again to everyone

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Posted: 29 October 2010 05:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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If you want the bow to get hard fairly quickly and not droop, I would suggest doing that in Gum Paste. That is also available from Wilton at craftstores like Michaels, and gets hard soon after you stop handling it. BTW - a tip for handling Fondant Ribbons! Get yourself a really good pizza cutter that doesn’t wobble. And don’t think you need to leave them out for a any time to “dry” before attaching to the cake! They will harden up, become brittle and be impossible to bend! I did that once after air-brushing some lace edgings - what a nightmare! If you want to make them ahead you must store them in very shallow tightly sealed plastic containers! Good luck!

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Posted: 30 October 2010 12:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Thanks for the advice kuchenbaaker. I made my MM fondant…and I did try a trial run of making the bows….BUT as the fondant dried, it started to “crack” a little. And then, even though it wasn’t super hard…..when I tried to move it, the middle fell apart! Boooo!
At least it was a trial run!
I have one week to keep practicing. I have not been able to successfully find gum paste here in Mexico (at least not in my city) so….I am going to have to keep trying with the fondant!

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Posted: 30 October 2010 12:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner…but Chocolate Plastic is wonderful!!! And I believe it can be used to do all sorts of interesting decorations.  I would suggest using the summer coating (or candy melts) chocolate if it’s your 1st time using it.  It is super easy to make—I recall it’s just corn syrup and candy melts—Dede Wilson’s recipe has worked well for me (I’ve had issues with Rose’s recipe, mostly because I think she accounts for powdered coloring).  It should stay flexible for you, but if you are in a dry climate, it will harden nicely but shouldn’t break or crack as easily as fondant.  I also think it’s possible to get thinner results with it than fondant!  I’ve used it to make roses, vines, and the like—no ribbons though, but I’m sure an internet search will bring up several options for you.

Oh…it’s also nice because it isn’t as suceptible moisture as fondant so it can go in the fridge provided the cake is covered and not opened until brought to room temperature (although I had one instance where there was too much condensation, the roses got soft, but still held their shape—could only tell by touching them that they were soft).  This makes it ideal for decoration on buttercreams that require refrigeration.

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Posted: 30 October 2010 02:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Great suggestion Sherrie - I have used Chocolate Clay with great success when I need really deep vivid colours as I don’t like to use so much food colour in icing and it also can ruin fondant. It is also great fun running Clay through the pasta maker to make smooth even ribbons! Just a note - Wilton’s Gum Paste (powder mix) is merely Gum Karaya - which is similar to Gum Tragacanth. I have been told that gum paste made with the latter, from scratch, is far superior to the mix type. You should be able to find recipes in good Confectioner’s books from England or Australia - they seem to specialize in that really fine detailed sugar-work there. Good luck and have fun! PS: if you add candy flavouring to your Clay it even tastes really good!

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Posted: 30 October 2010 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Here is a Pic of my trial bow….it still has some wax paper stuck in it to keep the form…but when I tried to remove the paper, that is where the problems started! Any advice or other methods I could try?

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Posted: 30 October 2010 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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It probably wasn’t dry/hardened enough.  I made some bows out of gumpaste for a minnie mouse cake this week.  You need to let them dry really well before you attempt to move them or else they will break apart.  I haven’t tried them with fondant yet, but you would definitely have to add tylose or gum tragcanth to the fondant so that it will harden.  I make my own gumpaste using Scott Clark Woolley’s recipe from his website, Cakes By Design.  It is alittle more involved than most gumpaste recipes but I have had great sucess with it.  Gum tragacanth is quite more expensive than tylose though.  His recipe makes quite a bit and if you wrap it really well in pastic wrap and in a ziploc bag, it will last a very long time in the fridge.

I haven’t tried making bows out of chocolate clay either.  I’m not sure that it would dry hard enough.  But I guess the only way to find out is to give it a try.

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