(Photo Credit: Dreamstime.com Free)
What a magical wedding weekend it was!! I am so happy for my big sister and new brother in law! Everything turned out so beautiful and wonderful =) And the cake/frosting nightmares have finally stopped! I’m not kidding, I literally had three different frightening dreams of being covered in frosting sliding off of cake. I’m very relieved that the cake and frosting was such a success, and I can’t wait to share it here with you.
I ended up doing a few trial cakes and even more trial frostings before the wedding, but it really paid off in the end. The first frosting recipe I tried was from a gluten free cookbook that I had loved for great dinner recipes. I figured since the other recipes were so delicious, the frosting/icing recipes must be just as good. Wrong! The “wedding cake frosting” recipe I used was terrible–so terrible in fact it slid off the cake and collected in a moat-type fashion around the cake, which made it kind of look like an interesting yummy castle, but hey! I needed a frosting that would stay on the cake =P I thought there was definitely some kind of typo in the book, since the recipe didn’t even call for powdered sugar, but regular coarse sugar instead. That really just doesn’t hold up in good fluffy frosting, so don’t waste your time experimenting with that too much, unless it’s a very trusted source telling you to do so. (I tried this recipe 2x just to make sure it wasn’t me or my mixer with the issue; it turned out just as terrible both times).
The second problem I ran into was with a second batch of white frosting that held up well, but wasn’t really easy to cover a chocolate cake with. As some of you may know, gluten free or allergen free cakes tend to be a little more difficult to frost as sometimes they can crumble off the top, even if they are very moist. It was a pretty cake after the frosting job, but the tiny pieces of dark chocolate cake that came off the top colored the frosting to more of a mocha/coffee color–which was great, but not for 4 layered wedding cake.
Finally, I decided to experiment with fondant; a more professional type of frosting/icing that is great for decorative cakes. I looked at different recipes online for fondant and picked, pulled, and tweaked ingredients until I came up with a good allergy free mix of ingredients and substitutions. Here’s what it looked like when I got it all rolled out:
Here’s the recipe for the allergen free/gluten free fondant that I made: (Please note that according to sensitivity levels, you may need to experiment with different brands of the following ingredients. I am very sensitive to soy and gluten, and had no reaction to the following. I had trouble finding glycerine that didn’t contain soy, so I omitted it from my recipe and it turned out perfectly roll-able anyway. Free of the top 8 most common allergies, and yeast!).
~ Just over 1/4 cup of water
~ 1 tablespoon of unflavored gelatin (Make sure it’s unflavored! Many of the flavored kinds contain soy. I used Knox brand gelatin).
~ About 8 cups of powdered sugar (You may need more or less after mixing depending on the consistency of your fondant).
~ 1/2 cup of corn syrup
~ 1 teaspoon 100% pure vanilla extract
~ 1 tablespoon of olive oil (Most recipes call for vegetable oil, but often that is made from soy, so I switched the oil and had no problem).
~ 2 tablespoons Olivio Coconut Spread (Usual recipes call for shortening, but the switch works well).
~ Corn starch for rolling out the fondant, and for reducing stickiness if your fondant turns out too wet. (I used Argo brand).
Directions: Add the water to a saucepan over low heat and melt the gelatin. This may take over 5 minutes. While heating, add your powdered sugar to a large mixing bowl and make a “dent” in the middle of the pile with your fist, but not to the bottom of the bowl. Add the corn syrup, vanilla extract, olive oil, and buttery spread into the dent you made and mix with an electric stand mixer, electric hand mixer, or by hand. I did a combination of an electric hand mixer and my hands. After mixing a bit, add in the melted gelatin/water mixture and continue mixing. Be sure to add either powdered sugar or corn starch to your kneading/rolling surface before kneading. When well combined, begin to knead the mixture with your hands. When your fondant is soft and moveable without being too sticky, dust your surface again and roll it out. Here’s what half of my wedding cake covered with smooth fondant looked like:
I found the following video helpful as far as rolling out the fondant and placing it over the cake. I take zero credit for this video, as it was made and uploaded by someone who is clearly a pro baker/cake decorator. Hope it’s helpful to you too =)
For the Allergen Free Wedding Cake, I used two boxes of King Arthur Flour’s Chocolate Cake Mix. Here’s what the product looks like, and you can usually find in your local Meijer, Kroger, Whole Foods Market, or health food store:
For tweaking the cake to be completely allergen free, I used Ener-G brand’s “Egg Replacer” product in place of the 4 eggs. I also used 2/3 cup of So Delicious Chocolate Coconut milk and 2/3 cup of water instead of just using 1 1/3 cup of water as the original directions call for. Make sure you are using 100% pure vanilla extract in the mix as well to avoid any unwanted allergens. Follow the directions on the back of the box closely and your cake will turn out moist, delicious, and very chocolatey =)
*Note: Please let your cake cool completely before placing the fondant on top. I also used a basic powdered sugar frosting to frost in-between the layer of the cakes to make sure the cake held together well. I used the following recipe:
~ 2 cups powdered sugar
~1/4 cup softened non-dairy butter replacement (I used Earth Balance Soy free buttery spread, but you could also use a coconut spread such as Olivio soy free coconut spread for a coconutty flavor. Coconutty might not actually be a word, but I don’t mind )
~1-2 tablespoons of Orange Juice (I squeezed my own fresh, organic orange juice for this, but you could also use pure vanilla extract if you want, or a different type of juice or liquid that you like).
Directions: Basic Frosting: Beat or Whip all ingredients together until light and fluffy. Add your liquid by the tablespoon though to make sure that the consistency stays like frosting. If your frosting is too thick, add more of your liquid by the drop. If your frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar.
I’ll have more pictures of the completely decorated and finished wedding cake that I used at the wedding once the wedding photographer gets them to my sister. For now, I only have pictures of the bottom double layer covered in the fondant, but you get the idea. For the top layer, I cut out a circle using a large bowl as a cookie cutter and made another double layer round cake. I placed it on top of the square cake for a little added interest. Here’s my thumb being very proud of my nearly finished product (at 1 a.m. the night before the wedding!)
Please email me at Soyfreeglutenfreehaven@gmail.com if you have any questions regarding steps and directions for the fondant, frostings, and cake! Remember: Have fun with it! And give yourself plenty of time to get the cake and frostings done if you’re making them for an event. I placed the cake in the fridge after it was finished until the reception. It really kept the fondant looking great!
You can do anything you set your mind to. Here’s a quote I really enjoy by Louise L. Hay. Positive affirmations like this one really help me feel determined and strong when life gets difficult. When you think positive and take control of your life, you can achieve great things.
“I find relaxation, enjoyment, and healing in the simplest things in life.”
Here’s a link to more positive affirmations by Louise L. Hay: http://www.louisehay.com/affirmations/
Sending good energies,
P.S. Congratulations again to my lovely sister and brother in law! Love you lots! Here’s a picture of me from the wedding. I was humbled to be the maid of honor =)