Cost-Effective Cakes with DIY Marshmallow Fondant


I have become the cake-maker in my family quite by accident. Or really mostly because I’m cheap. I cannot fathom paying $20 or more (usually much more) for some boring sheet cake from the grocery store when I can make something myself. Because I’ve never taken any lessons in cake decorating, my cakes often are a bit wonky. I would never claim to be good at decorating, but I have fun trying. The boys have always enjoyed requesting their birthday cake in the form of whatever they might be interested in that year. This has led to some strange experiments. Like this one below, a periodic table of elements in cupcake form for Ryan’s chemistry-themed 13th birthday party.

Sometimes I get tapped to make a cake for someone outside of the family. Always lots of pressure. Here’s one I made for a coworker from my old job who was leaving to become a plumber.

That one took forever to frost and it still didn’t look right. If I had only known then what I know now! I could have used cheap, simple marshmallow fondant! I previously thought that fondant could only be purchased pre-made in those expensive Wilton tubs at craft stores.  I found out about marshmallow fondant after a Google search when I was making this cake for my friend Heather’s bridal shower.

I really wanted the cake to look good since it was for her special day, but I couldn’t see paying the $30 it would take me to cover such a big cake with pre-made fondant. It would have been better to just buy one of those aforementioned grocery store cakes. Ugh, those are so boring though! In my frustration, I searched for “diy fondant.” Bam! Marshmallow fondant!

It consists only of softened marshmallows and powdered sugar. Two bags of marshmallows and one bag of powdered sugar cost around $3.50. A little mixing and kneading is totally worth the cost savings to me. Granted, I probably wouldn’t use this if I were a professional. Sometimes the powdered sugar makes little annoying lumps that are hard to remove. Still, for my purposes it works great. I get a semi-pro look for almost nothing. We’ve firmly established that I’m NOT a professional anyway.

My second attempt at the marshmallow fondant was this cake for Cole and his girlfriend, Julia’s, graduation party. It’s not the best ever, but again, much better than buttercream icing would have looked.

Last week I was commissioned to make Cole’s birthday cake. He’s very into Minecraft, so I used Pinterest to find some ideas as I know nothing about the game. This design seemed to be the easiest one. I think it turned out great despite some of those annoying powdered sugar lumps. In all of these cakes, I also used Wilton Sugar Sheets. They are absolutely wonderful. You can cut them into any shape using scissors just as easily as you would cardstock.

Here’s how this one came together…

I made four layers for this cake to form the shape of a cube.

Between each layer I used some chocolate frosting, Cole’s favorite.

When all the layers were stacked together, I started carving up the cake into a more even cube.

Looks a little scary, but the fondant will cover the mess.

I microwaved a bag of marshmallows in this microwave safe bowl for about a minute to make them soft enough.

I added powdered sugar about a cup at a time until the mixture formed a stiff dough. Much like making bread, I added it until the mixture was too difficult to mix by hand, then kneaded it.

On a cooking spray coated counter, I kneaded more powdered sugar into the dough until it was no longer sticky. Then I rolled it out with a rolling pin until it was about a quarter inch thick, making sure it was large enough to cover the cake. (I forgot to take a picture! Sorry!)

I covered the cake with the fondant sheet, cutting off the excess. This step requires smoothing the fondant with your hands or a spatula over and over until you achieve the results you’re after.

Once the fondant was smoothed and the edges tucked up under the cake, I used the Sugar Sheets to decorate.

I used brown on the bottom to create the pixelated look of the cake from the game. It stuck right to the fondant beautifully. I secured the corners with a little icing.

I cut red squares for the top of the cake from the red Sugar Sheet.

The finished product!

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