Cake decorating ideas without fondant
January 11, 2011 8:08 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a cake decorating book that does not use fondant (except for things like flowers on top of the cake). I despise the taste of fondant and refuse to cover the entire cake with a layer of it just to have a smooth surface. Buttercream and royal icing, and ideally -- but not necessarily -- also gum paste.

I'd call myself intermediate, but would be happy with an advanced book. I do not need any cake recipes, but don't mind if there are a few, as long as it isn't half the book. I'd like more focus on cakes and less focus on cupcakes or cookies. But really, anything where there are no (or almost no -- vast minority) examples of cakes entirely covered with a sheet of fondant is fine. Any little fondant animals are fine.

I'd like to avoid Wilton. I want instructions on how to make the flowers (I can do some, but not all, and I like text better than youtube) and some sample cakes, if possible.
posted by jeather to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Yay! Cake! I love cake!

Fondant is totally yucky, true, but marshmallow fondant* is AWESOME. It tastes good (like marshmallows), takes flavor well, and is easy to make and use. And it looks just as good. (My profile pic is of my non-professional cake-baking self holding a marshmallow fondant-covered cake.)

So give it a try before turning your back on fondant entirely. :)

*Note: you really don't need to use anywhere near as much crisco as the recipe leads you to believe.
posted by phunniemee at 8:34 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Err it's too bad you don't want a recipe book, because The Cake Bible has an excellent, detailed section on frostings, including instructions on making all sorts of decorations. Just putting it out there.
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 9:06 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Cake Bible would be my best bet- as well as the Wilton classes. Yes, they do cover fondant- but do keep in mind that just because they cover a technique does not mean you have to like or use it for yourself. You can also usually buy older Wilton books on ebay or at garage sales that have the instructions for the flowers, and not take the classes.

You might also want to consider looking for sculpture books. I can recall at least one polymer clay book comparing fimo clay and frosting work.

Beyond that.. my best suggestion is to practice as much as you can. Do the scrape-off-and-dump-on-a-practice-surface trick on uncolored icing over and over until you're satisfied with the results. Four years of culinary school got me paying 300x as much for the same stuff I'd done in Wilton classes, some of the time.
posted by Hwin at 10:19 AM on January 11, 2011

Response by poster: I have the Cake Bible, and I love her recipes and not her decorating, which is dated looking. I do not like Wilton books, I have looked at them. Most cake decorating books have almost all of their sample cakes covered in fondant -- sure, I do not need to use them, but that excludes many of the ideas. I know to practice, but I like having books with diagrams to look at when I am practicing. Polymer clay is a rather different texture than buttercream, and even royal icing.

I really want a book that is just cake decorating, and heavy on the how to make stuff, with pictures of sample cakes that are generally not covered with fondant.

The marshmallow fondant idea looks interesting, though, and I intend to try it out.
posted by jeather at 10:51 AM on January 11, 2011

Sorry if this is super-obvious, but couldn't you use marzipan instead of fondant and use the same techniques & designs you already like? There's the nut allergy issue, I suppose, but marzipan beats fondant (which is truly disgusting) hands down.
posted by widdershins at 10:57 AM on January 11, 2011

This one sounds like it might be up your alley- only a short chapter on rolled icings but mostly about royal and gum paste.

This one is all buttercream no fondant or anything else, but is this the one you wanted to avoid?
posted by rmless at 3:02 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

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