Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wilton Gum Paste and Fondant - Lesson #1

I enjoyed the Decorating Basics class and have always been very curious about working with fondant, so I signed up for this class.  As with the intro class, this is a Wilton sponsored course that is taught at craft stores throughout the country.  It is taught in four lessons of two hours each.

One of the most common comments I've gotten from friends and family is why bother putting fondant and gum paste on cakes if those materials aren't very tasty (Dad equated them to being like construction materials).  I love the smooth look that fondant can give cakes (and their ability to somewhat preserve a cake's freshness) and the instructor recommended using the good-tasting Marshmallow Fondant once we learn the basics using the easier consistency of the pre-made stuff.  As for gum paste, it is nice to have sculpted decorations on a cake in a food-safe material, although I agree you'd probably want nice tasting decorations on the cake too!

Here's what we did in Lesson 1:
  • Learned tips and how to overcome challenges in working with gum paste and fondant (ex: add some shortening if the fondant dries out and becomes crumbly, microwave a package of pre-made gum paste for no more than 10 seconds if it is too hard to work with)
  • Learned how to make a 50/50 gum paste/fondant mix and how to color this mixture
  • Learned how to make a glue out of gum paste dissolved in water for attaching gum paste and fondant
  • Learned how to roll out the 50/50 mix and cut it with a cutting tool
  • Made bow loops out of the rolled and cut fondant
  • Made flower bases (rose, mum, carnation) out of pure gum paste (flower petals coming next week)

The first class has a smaller "wow" factor than the first Decorating Basics class because you spent a lot of time making pieces that don't get assembled and finished until the next class (they need the extra time to dry out).  For example, my fiance's first response was "why did you make nipples?"  However, I do think that there will be some very cool looking final products as the class goes on.  Only preemptive complaint -- this course focuses a lot on flowers.  Let's have some more modern designs!

Wilton Class Resources

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