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Making fondant icing cake figures weeks in advance/gum tragacanth

(28 Posts)
Tinkjon Thu 22-Jan-09 10:26:43

If I made some fondant figures for DD's birthday cake (which I am STUPIDLY excited about, incidentally!) would they still look ok after a few weeks? I just use the standard fondant icing you buy in supermarkets, btw. Will they crack or lose their colour or something? I've made them a week in advance before but there are a lot to make this time and I wondered if I could do any of them now, even though it's about 5 weeks away.

Also I read about adding gum tragacanth (sp?) to fondant icing - is that a good idea and if so why? Or is that just if you're making your own fondant (I'm sure I read you can add it to shop bought ready-to-roll stuff)

CountessDracula Thu 22-Jan-09 10:31:16

the gum hardens the icing making it stand up better

Tinkjon Thu 22-Jan-09 10:36:04

Does that mean it's less pliable when you're working with it, or that you have to work quickly before it hardens?

PortAndLemon Thu 22-Jan-09 10:46:48

It's very pliable when you're working with it. You have to work moderately quickly, but not enough so to be an issue (now pastillage (which is for very hard bits when sugarpaste just won't cope) you do need to work very quickly with).

You're more likely to be able to get CMC (an alternative to gum tragacanth) than gum tragacanth itself (and it's much cheaper than gum tragacanth).

If making ahead, air dry and then store in an airtight container.

lucysmam Thu 22-Jan-09 14:56:57

PortAndLemon, what's CMC?

PortAndLemon Thu 22-Jan-09 18:15:46

I had a horrible feeling someone was going to ask me that...

<resorts to Googling>

Carboxymethycellulose, a modified plant cellulose.

lucysmam Thu 22-Jan-09 20:27:11

lol, sorry. I'll investigate in the morning, thank-you smile

Olihan Thu 22-Jan-09 20:44:05

I've just started a cake dec course and our teacher recommends using denture fixture powder instead of gum trag. It's dirt cheap but does the same job if you're just modelling with it and don't need it to go rock hard.

CMC is sold as Sugarcel sometimes.

As long as you keep the figures somewhere cool and out of the sun (ha ha) they'll keep forever, pretty much.

lucysmam Thu 22-Jan-09 20:45:22

are they meant to set hard?

Pennies Thu 22-Jan-09 20:49:31

Olihan, I just sneaked a look at your pics and am curious as to why you think you need to go on a cake dec course? Those cakes are amazing! Are you self taught?

Olihan Thu 22-Jan-09 20:56:06

Thanks, Pennies! Yep, I'm self taught so far but there is masses that I haven't done and various tricks of the trade that I couldn't learn purely from books. Plus, it's 3 hours every week when I can think of nothing but myself grin. Twas a birthday present from lovely DH.

Lucy, they should go completely hard on the outside within a few hours.

Pennies Thu 22-Jan-09 21:01:30

God I am so impressed. How did you get started?

lucysmam Thu 22-Jan-09 21:07:55

Very thoughtful present from your dh! Mine would never think of anything so original, am very envy

stealthsquiggle Thu 22-Jan-09 21:14:58

I am very envy of your course, Olihan.

What are you making, Tinkjon? You know you want to tell us!

Sugarcel makes icing much easier to work with - you can get clean edges without it cracking - and it will dry harder so figures won't 'sag' - and yes you can add it to shop-bought stuff (I always do) but get Regalice rather than the supermarket stuff if you can.

Olihan Thu 22-Jan-09 21:28:11

My mum always made us fab birthday cakes when we were little so I wanted to carry the tradition on for my dcs. I bought a couple of books and was instantly addicted!

Stealth, it's through the local FE college, I bet yours would do one too. Do one, I've learned LOADS in 2 sessions grin.

stealthsquiggle Thu 22-Jan-09 21:38:17

Olihan I have looked and the most local one doesn't - I must get around to trying the next-most-local - but it would have to be evenings and even then I would have to rely on my DM for all the times when DH didn't make it home in time....

A couple of books? blush - I think my collection is still just about in single figures...

SuperBunny Fri 23-Jan-09 00:52:59

Olihan, do you make your icing or buy the ready made stuff? And, if you make it, what recipe do you use?

Amazing cakes!

Olihan Fri 23-Jan-09 09:34:39

I buy it. It's a bit of a faff to make and the readymade stuff is a better consistency, imo.

I do have a couple of recipes if you want one though.

You can buy the ready made stuff in 5kg boxes for about £13 - 15 from most of the sugarcraft websites. If you keep it wrapped and in an airtight box it will last for months. I made Kipper, the Ferrari, the Christmas cake and the Power Ranger out of one box which worked out cheaper than buying the small boxes in the supermarkets.

stealthsquiggle Fri 23-Jan-09 09:44:07

I get 5kg boxes of Regalice too - from my local sugarcraft shop - who are often cheaper than online suppliers by the time you factor in P&P. I do also buy ready-coloured stuff sometimes if I am doing large areas of a strong colour (esp black) - but if DH ever takes the hint and buys me a big mixer with a dough hook I will stop doing that, as it is mainly because my hands are too stiff and achey for kneading huge quantities of icing.

SuperBunny Fri 23-Jan-09 18:01:23

Thanks - we don't have regalice here but there is similar stuff. Wilton, I think.

stealthsquiggle Fri 23-Jan-09 18:31:14

Are you in the US, SuperBunny? In which case Wilton or make-your-own are the only options I think. My American SIL calls fondant/moulding icing "English frosting" grin

SuperBunny Fri 23-Jan-09 19:05:59

Yes, in the US. When I have looked for recipes, there are so many different ones and I never know which just makes normal roll-out fondant. It's very complicated!

Tinkjon Fri 23-Jan-09 22:05:33

Sorry, have been away from PC for a bit, hence no replies! Superbunny, do you like fondant? I've been having a discussion with my US friend who says that fondant tastes disgusting and many people there hate it. I love it so I'm wondering if US fondant is different to UK fondant, or do my friend and I just have different tastes!

Stealthsquiggle, I am going to make a Charlie & The Chocolate Factory cake, as DD is obsessed with it at the moment. I'm going to use this cake as a model, but it's the Johnny Depp version which I won't do (has to be the Gene Wilder one!) and it won't be quite as complicated as this one. I love it though, it's one of the best cakes I've ever seen...

stealthsquiggle Sun 25-Jan-09 21:04:14

Tinkjon that is a fantastic cake - I am seriously considering getting one or other DC hooked on Charlie & Chocolate factory just to have an excuse to try it grin.

Can I make a suggestion? For the seated figures, I would be inclined to make torso/head and legs separately so that you can pose them on the final cake IYSWIM.

Have you got lots of Gene Wilder film stills to get all the characters right?

SuperBunny Mon 26-Jan-09 01:11:37

That is an amazing cake. I don't love fondant but its ok. I don't think it is hugely different to British roll out icing but its a long time since I had any.

please post a picture when you do the cake smile

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