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JeanneCake

Tools for Fondant Cake Decoration

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I need help finding a tool that will help me extrude fondant ropes. I've been using the Wilton Ultra Pro cookie press because it was recommended by Earlene Moore (Earlene's Cakes) to use with a wooden stand she makes specifically to support it so you can make long ropes, etc. But I've been through three cookie presses in the last year, and I'm tired of buying them and having them stop working after a few tries. What happens is that the mechanism stops clicking and I end up having to press down on the plunger with a cake pan (it works, but my shoulders and arms take quite a beating...)

Fondant is stiffer than cookie dough, I know; I'm softening it up with some piping gel but still am having to replace them every few months. Any one have a particular favorite brand that they think can hold up to the abuse? Is there such a thing as a manual professional-grade cookie press?

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mizducky   

I have never worked with fondant in my life so I don't know how much stiffer it is than cookie dough. But if you want to do a thinking-outside-the-box experiment, how about trying one of those Play-Doh Fun Factory extruder toys? Instead of that click/trigger mechanism on cookie presses, the toy has a simple lever that you press; it comes with several die shapes; and the price is so low that, hey, if it doesn't work out, you're not out a lot of, erm, dough. :biggrin:

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chefpeon   

To expand on MizDucky's idea, which is positively brilliant....PlayDoh is very similar in consistency to fondant I do believe......you can also look into perhaps a heavy duty clay extruder, which mounts on a wall or a table. Sorta pricey ($400-ish), but may be worth it if it will last a long time. Here's a link.


Edited by chefpeon (log)

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what a great idea - the play doh thing! Lots less $ than these cookie presses that I seem to be burning through, and with the bigger lever thing, probably a whole lot easier to use. After all, if a child can do it...! Very brillant idea, thank you! :biggrin:

That clay extruder looks promising, though pricey. The advantage there is the amount of fondant it can have in the barrel so you can get a really long rope. Considering the amount of $ I've spent in cookie presses, I'd be a third of the way there already!

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chefpeon   

Yes, perhaps the only drawback with the Play Doh machine is that you're limited on the length of rope you can extrude. I've always hand rolled my ropes myself. I was taught how to (patiently) roll them out without having parts of the rope get thin spots in it. A lot of the time I will cheat, however, and use modeling chocolate for ropes...they are much easier to roll by hand as they are not so stretchy.

Here's another tip too......I get a lot of my impression and relief tools for cake decorating at Seattle Pottery Suppy. Any pottery supply place will do I suppose. Lots to choose from and OH! so much cheaper!!!! :wub:

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chefpeon   

Was shopping at Target yesterday. Went to the toy department....the good news is that the Play Dough "Fun Factory" is only $4.99. The bad news is that it only holds enough clay (or fondant) that's about the size of 2 walnuts. So although you can get a rope out of it, it won't be a very long one. :sad:

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Though I am filled with misgivings about helping anyone who is involved in serving fondant, it occurred to me that fondant is much like caulk (I won't get started, but I believe that it's more like caulk than just consistency :wink: ) and some of the same tools that are used in caulking might be useful in this project of yours. Also, I love adapting industrial hardware for kitchen use.

I would think that a few refillable caulking tubes (google on refillable caulking tubes or refillable caulking guns and you come up with many choices) and a cheap caulking gun would do the job for you. The tips, with a bit of fiddling, could even be shaped to give you some redimentary shaping to the rope. The tubes come in a couple of sized so you could make ropes as long as you wanted and they are plastic, so, generally, should be pretty easy to clean.

Anyway, the whole thing would be under $20 and it's hard to go wrong at that price.

And if you really wanted to save some time you could just buy some caulk and, well, nevermind.....

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Darcie B   
Though I am filled with misgivings about helping anyone who is involved in serving fondant, it occurred to me that fondant is much like caulk (I won't get started, but I believe that it's more like caulk than just consistency :wink: ) and some of the same tools that are used in caulking might be useful in this project of yours. Also, I love adapting industrial hardware for kitchen use.

I would think that a few refillable caulking tubes (google on refillable caulking tubes or refillable caulking guns and you come up with many choices) and a cheap caulking gun would do the job for  you. The tips, with a bit of fiddling, could even be shaped to give you some redimentary shaping to the rope. The tubes come in a couple of sized so you could make ropes as long as you wanted and they are plastic, so, generally, should be pretty easy to clean.

Anyway, the whole thing would be under $20 and it's hard to go wrong at that price.

And if you really wanted to save some time you could just buy some caulk and, well, nevermind.....

I think fondant is much stiffer than caulk, and I think the amount of pressure needed to push it through a caulking gun would be formidable.

I was thinking maybe an electric pasta extruding machine? Although I don't know how thick a rope it would make.

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I need help finding a tool that will help me extrude fondant ropes.  I've been using the Wilton Ultra Pro cookie press because it was recommended by Earlene Moore (Earlene's Cakes) to use with a wooden stand she makes specifically to support it so you can make long ropes, etc.  But I've been through three cookie presses in the last year, and I'm tired of buying them and having them stop working after a few tries.  What happens is that the mechanism stops clicking and I end up having to press down on the plunger with a cake pan (it works, but  my shoulders and arms take quite a beating...)

Fondant is stiffer than cookie dough, I know; I'm softening it up with some piping gel but still am having to replace them every few months.  Any one have a particular favorite brand that they think can hold up to the abuse?  Is there such a thing as a manual professional-grade cookie press?

Thanks for bringing this up I have been having the same thoughts about the best way to extrude fondant without killing your hands.. :wink:

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Kathyf   

http://www.clay-king.com/itemkikeg.html

That extruder looks interesting - haven't tried it myself but if it works for clay.....

I'll let you know - I'm going to order it because I wrestled with the Wilton one way too much this past weekend.

I called to find out the size - 15" long. They are currently out of the gold model but have an identical silver model.

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chefpeon   
http://www.clay-king.com/itemkikeg.html

That extruder looks interesting - haven't tried it myself but if it works for clay.....

I'll let you know - I'm going to order it because I wrestled with the Wilton one way too much this past weekend.

I called to find out the size - 15" long. They are currently out of the gold model but have an identical silver model.

Yow....there's one that's more reasonably priced! AND it looks just like a cookie press/caulk gun!!!

You'd probably have to buy the additional die set for $18.95, as the dies that come with the press are sort of on the skinny side......

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Kathyf   

Yow....there's one that's more reasonably priced! AND it looks just like a cookie press/caulk gun!!!

You'd probably have to buy the additional die set for $18.95, as the dies that come with the press are sort of on the skinny side......

I did buy the extra set :biggrin: And a really cool 20" silicone non-stick rolling pin. And some fun looking stamps....And then I ran back to my corner before I did any more damage to the debit card :rolleyes:

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It does look a lot better (price-wise!) than the other things we've seen. Kathyf, let us know how well it works out. I have two small clay guns - the silver one with the plunger and the red/black one that Beryl's sells. Both leave my hands feeling as if I have arthritis after a day of using them!

Let us know what you think in terms of use, how much it holds, etc. Thanks for the info!!

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Desertm   

Maybe this will help you: I have been using a clay gun for some time now, and I found that it is much easier to extrude fondant ropes from it if first I add some shortening to the fondant, in order to soften it.

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Kathyf   

Good news- the new toy works great. To give it a real test, I started with fondant that has been stored at about 60º. With the cold fondant it was about the same to push out as slightly microwaved fondant coming out of the Wilton cookie press. Zapped the cold fondant for about 6 seconds in the microwave and it worked beautifully. It still takes some hand strength to work it but the gun has a trigger that can be easily operated with two hands. I bet kneading some Crisco into it would make it even easier but that experiment will have to wait for another day.

It feels much sturdier than the Wilton press and is much easier to operate.

The small red and black clay gun dies work in it - I used a bit of damp fondant to stick the small disc inside one of the large dies.

The gun fits in Earlene's wood stand better than the Wilton press.

The only down side is the barrel is aluminum and that could cause some gray to come off on the fondant, similar to some pasta machines. I was using leftover dark tan fondant so can't tell. If some gray does come off I'll just wrap the fondant in saran wrap before I drop it into the barrel.

The barrel is 15" long and 2" wide - I only filled it about 1/4 but I bet it would hold 4 lbs of fondant easily.

The dies that come with it are large enough for average sized borders so you wouldn't have to buy the extra set unless you want more variety.

http://www.clay-king.com/itemkikeg.html

When I talked to the guy about the size he mentioned they also sell silicone rolling pins. Got the 20" one and had to play with that before I get back to work. Grabbed the fondant chunk with damp hands to toss it and decided to see just how non stick that pin was. Works great - rolled the fondant out like it was dry.

I also bought a couple of MKM stamps but they're wood and may not be food safe. I may use them to make a couple of silicone patterns when I find a few spare minutes because they would make great borders for men's cakes.

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stscam   
The only down side is the barrel is aluminum and that could cause some gray to come off on the fondant, similar to some pasta machines. I was using leftover dark tan fondant so can't tell.

The photo shows a tube that has been anodized (gold in this case). This coating, similar to electro-plating, should eliminate any oxidized aluminum from contaminating the fondant in the tube.

I just ordered one of these on E-bay, same price. Can't wait to try it out (for cheese straws, mainly).

Cheers,

Steve

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Kathyf   

The photo shows the gold tube but when I spoke to the guy he mentioned they were out of the gold but had silver. I didn't give it a thought and said silver would be fine. Silly me. Hopefully it won't be a problem but if it is a little saran wrap or cellophane will solve it.

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stscam   

The silver tube is more likely to be anodized than not. They can do a silver or a clear anodizing. So you should still be all right. If you rub the inside of the tube with a clean finger and a grayish smudge sticks to it that would mean it's not anodized. Still waiting for my unit to arrive.

Cheers,

Steve

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heleen1   

I'm planning my parents 40th wedding anniversary cake, and have found a design with a garland of white flowers and leaves on the sides of the cake. I will make a three tiered cake (three tiers on a tiered cake stand, so no stacking) of which the sides will be covered with rolled fondant. I was planning on making gumpaste flowers, but the only thing I have is a can of Wilton gumpaste mix and it didn't come out as white as I like. As I have no access to anything else at this point, I'll probably mix it with fondant to get it whiter and still (hopefully) sturdy enough. My question is: do I need to wire these fairly large flowers in order to get them to stay on the cake sides or can I attach them with royal icing?

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You might have better luck using melted white chocolate to attach the flowers to the sides - the chocolate will set faster than the royal icing, especially if your fondant cake is chilled first; how big are the flowers? Full-blown roses are heavier than something like a hydrangea so you might need to support the flower with a toothpick.

When I use purchased gum paste flowers that come on wires, sometimes I wrap the wire around a toothpick, or I wind the wires from two or three flowers together and put the wires into a coffee stir-stick "straw" because the sticks are longer and protect the cake from direct contact with the wires.

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heleen1   

I never thought of using chocolate, that's a great tip, thanks! The flowers are apple-blossom like, so no heavy roses that are built of several layers. I think I might get away with just attching them with the chocolate to the fondant.

One more question though: I thought I wasn't upposed to chill a fondant covered cake? I wanted to chill the cakes, then apply the fondant and leave them out until they are eaten, just storing them in a cool place for a few hours. It would help tremendously if I could just refrigerate the whole thing.

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In school, our german chef instructor told us to never refrigerate fondant covered cakes (I still hear her admonishments when I do it now); but as Annie (chefpeon) pointed out, how can you get multiple cakes done for a particular day if you can't refrigerate them? So, on her encouragement, I've been refrigerating my fondant covered cakes and haven't had any problems.

I try to build my cakes on Thursday during the day or evening and then on Friday (usually late in the day due to the schedule), cover the individual tiers and stack them. Then into the cooler they go. On Saturday, I take them out and start working on them. Sometimes condensation has been an issue when the weather is warm, the fondant becomes "dewy" and shiny and you need to take care with decorating it. If I'm doing a design that requires painting or elaborate piping, I'll schedule that cake for covering with fondant/finishing it for the day of rather than the day before. So, it works and it makes my life easier. If you have time, you could do a small test cake in fondant to see how your fondant will behave (with condensation and all) in your particular refrigerator or cooler.

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you could do them on tooth picks that can be inserted right into the cake or use flower picks and set the tooth picks or wires into them. For stability fill picks with royal icing.

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heleen1   

Jeanne, thanks for all the helpful information. I think in my case I could swing it to cover the cakes with fondant and then decorate shortly before serving, so I might not need to refrigerate them fondant covered. I'll see, but if I do have to, I think I'll just go ahead and do it. I don't have easy access to fondant so I'd hate to waste it on a test cake. If all fails, I might use marzipan as a last resource.

Again, thanks very much for sharing your knowledge, I really appreciate it :o)

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