My baby is one! Sweet Claire gets dragged along all the time, so I thought she needed a super cute birthday cake on a day that was all about her. Enter her fascination with oinking and pigs and, voila, piggy birthday cake for the big day.
I've heard about marshmallow fondant and read about marshmallow fondant, but I've never tried making it before. I think I was more intimidated than necessary, and I feel it turned out well all things considered.
16 oz bag of mini marshmallows
32 oz powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons water
shortening to grease your hands and work surface
I had a smaller bag of marshmallows on hand, so using the same proportions:
10.5 oz mini marshallow bag
16 oz powdered sugar box, plus 1/2 c
1.5 T water
Get a nice big microwave safe bowl and spray with oil. I highly recommend you make sure your bowl will fit in your microwave. There are some people out there (not that I would know anything about that--ahem), who might not check that and then they'd have to get out a new bowl and for more dirty dishes.
Dump the mini marshmallows in and sprinkle the water over the top. In all my internet reading, people recommended using the name brand mallows and making sure they were fresh. I have no idea if it really makes a difference, but went along since I figured I should do anything that would up my chances for success. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each, until you have some nice melted marshmallow goo. You want to get this melted enough to be smooth, but not too hot since you'll be plunging your hands into soon.
Then get your powdered sugar out and dump most all of it into the bowl. Stir like crazy until your spoon won't work anymore. Then get out the Crisco and grease your hands up very well. (Take off any rings or watches--this is the stickiest!) Start smooshing it in the bowl until the sugar is incorporated. Add more sugar if it's too sticky and don't forget to keep greasing your hands as needed. You may not need to add every bit of the called for sugar, so use your best judgment/guess.
Once you've reached approximate ball form, you can turn this out onto a greased work surface and knead, knead, knead and knead some more until smooth. This took me somewhere in the 5 minute range, I think. This is also where you'll want to add any coloring you're using. I added mine after the sugar was pretty well incorporated. The next few minutes of kneading got the color very even. Once again, Crisco all over the hands will keep the color from transferring to you. Mine still had a few tiny powdered sugar clumps, so I think I oversugared it.
Take your dough balls, coat with Crisco, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and pop those balls into the fridge. This is another step where I followed my reading, but have no actual knowledge. Apparently a nice overnight rest in the fridge does something good and makes the fondant roll out better, so I followed along yet again. This did seem to help with my little sugar pieces as when I got the balls out and rolled my pieces, they seemed to have pretty much disappeared. Moral: don't freak too badly if you have tiny sugar pieces in your fondant.
From what I've read (yes, blindly following once again!) you can leave these in the fridge well wrapped for a number of weeks or put them in the freezer for a few months. When cake day arrives, pull those babies out. They'll be crazy hard, but again the microwave comes in handy as you can microwave 10-20-30ish seconds depending on size just to get some pliability. Then roll out, cut, shape and place on your yummy dessert to your heart's content. You do need to coat cakes with buttercream first in order to have the fondant stick in place. My smaller than normal recipe made more enough for piggy, eight cupcakes and enough left over to at least double what I did.
Claire got sick on her actual birthday, so the cake sat a few days and the fondant got a bit less perfect and smooth looking; it was actually a bit cuter when first made. Little piggy isn't perfect, but I'm happy for a first attempt. And Claire was thrilled, which is really all that matters.
Happy Birthday, sweet baby!