Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sally at the French Culinary Institute!

Here I am at the French Culinary Institute! I love the look of the school is just so clean and cozy inside.

Here is my classroom..the beginning of it all...

I'm nervous but the excitement and determination has taken over!! :D
I am taking the Fondant and Royal Icing course taught by Cynthia Peithman at the FCI. Below I have my final project that I completed on my last day of my class. I absolutely love Pink and green combination. My cake reminds me of the Simply Shabby Chic bedding linens and thats probably where I got my inspiration!

The cake is a genoise (french sponge) cake layers washed with Grand Marnier and vanilla buttercream. The exterior is a pink colored fondant with quilting pattern. The border of the pink fondant is green bands dusted with pearl dust and adorn with green ribbon and the cake is topped with a large bow dusted with pearl dust. Can you believe that I drove this cake from NYC to my home in Virginia in one assembled piece, which is 5 hours!!

So now we begin the Adventures of Sally at FCI from the beginning..

The first couple of classes began with mastering the recipes for Rolled Fondant - a white moldable sugary paste that is used to cover and decorate wedding cakes. The rolled fondant produces a smooth, matte, porcelain like finish on a cake, that is why it is choice pick for wedding cakes.

There is also a Poured Fondant is cooked is thinned into a sugary syrup and used for confections such petit fours ( mini french cakes) or the gooey center of a chocolate covered cherry.

Day 1
Mastering your fondant recipe, consistency and rolling and decorating a styrofoam cake dummy. Then practice all piping techniques with Royal Icing.

Colette's Fondant Recipe:


- 2 pounds confectioner's sugar
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 cup glucose (found in cake decorating stores) or white corn syrup
- 1 1/2 tablespoons glycerine (used as a softener) used in the winter when dry, not needed in humid times
- 1 teaspoon desired clear flavoring (vanilla will give the fondant an off-white color) suchas lemon or almond extract
- powdered sugar or cornstarch for dusting


In a large mixing bowl, sift the sugar and make a well in the center.

Then In a small saucepan, add the water and sprinkle the gelatin on top to soften ( called blooming) for about 5 minutes. Begin to heat the gelatin water mixture and stir until the gelatin is dissolved and clear. Do not boil. Turn off the heat and add the glucose ( corn syrup) and glycerine, stirring until well blended. Add the flavoring and blend.

Pour the gelatine mixture into the well of sugar, and mix until all of the sugar is just blended. Then scrap the mixture out of the bowl into a well dusted surface. Use hands to knead fondant mixture until it becomes a smooth and even consistency. Work small amounts of confectioner's sugar if the mixture is sticky until smooth and dough like.

Form the mixture into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in an airtight container. Making sure no air gets in. The fondant can be used immediately in cooler temperature weather like winter time. This icing works best if allowed to rest at room temperature for about eight hours before using, particularly if the weather is humid.

Be sure to knead the fondant until it is really pliable before covering cakes with it. It helps to prevent tearing on the edges of the cake.

A great thing about class that they feed us dinner every night at 8:30 pm! Its food that the student chefs cook also in the kitchen..its great!

We also get nice breads, pastries and desserts to try sometimes! Yummmies! I ate all the almond and the raspberry ones!

Day 2

Making Fondant again and decorating dummies to get practice.

Then practice more Piping , while Chef Cynthia Peithman prepares to demo like 15 different fondant techniques:




Texturing/ Embossing

Making Pearls

Molds - using silicone lace and molds to create designs

Piping with Royal Icing - Snail Trail, Star, Leaf, Rosettes and Swiss Dots, swags

Making Ribbons, bands and bows

Clay Gun - different types of borders made with clay gun


Day 3

We made our own french genoise cakes and buttercreams from scratch :)

We also filled our geniose cakes with buttercream filling and cake wash. My cake wash was Grand marnier and vanilla buttercream.

Day 4

Chef Cynthia shows us how to crumb coat the cake and what we need to do to prepare the cake and boards in order for cake building.

It was the day we crumb coat our filled cakes and make and decorations needed in advances. I had a lot of things to do to ensure a timely execution on Day 5 (last) day of class.

-To crumb coat the cake with buttercream.

-To cover the cake base board with fondant.

-To make any type of wedding topper, bows and ribbons in advance to dry and harden for cake assembly on last day of class.

Here are my bow loops that I made for my large bow topper for my cake.


For my final project I made a pink fondant wedding cake with avocado green bands and small bows and a big ribbon bow wedding topper. The technique I used a quilted pattern on my fondant cake with green bands and a ribbon cake topper.

I also made the little bows to use on the side of my cake to cover up where the bands of green fondant connect :)

Then after the quilting and the green band, I made a creative decision to add 3 little swiss dots on each quilt diamond for an extra something,...

Here is my final product!!!! WOOOWEE! It took me 4 hours to put all the details on this one! The top 2 tiers are made with styrofoam dummies and the bottom tier is a buttercream geniose cake. The cake sizing is 3 inch, 6 inch and 9 inch!

So we gathered all the cakes and had a cake showcase and here are some of the other cakes that my fellow bakers made...

The student next to me decided to go crazy and and do a Jungle cake. She sculputed the trees and branches and then painted the different shades of green on green fondant. Then the she used cookie cutters to make the animals and she airbrushed the color onto the animals. She was the more amibitious

Here is a really nice pastel blue and white fondant cake with opposing color bands, swiss dots all over the cake and beaded border.

The cake behind mine that is white uses the technique of stenciling royal icing onto your cake surface which was nice and pretty too.

A picture of me and Chef Cynthia with my cake! I'm so pleased and excited to come back and try out everything I learned. YAH!


Timothy said...

I love these wedding cakes. Thanks for sharing how they are made! It was great to see the step by step process.

Thanks for sharing.

Doug said...

Jungle Theme with Monkeys!!!

Lisa's Azalea said... much pounds of fondant does your recipe yield???