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How to Make Sweet and Easy Decorating Fondant for Cakes

Kylyssa is an artist who works in a wide variety of media that has included fondant since 2008. She enjoys creating and sharing sweet tips.

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A Home Made Marshmallow Fondant Recipe That's Fun and Easy to Make


Fondant is like edible modeling clay. It can be shaped, colored, cut or molded. It can turn a plain cake into a work of art. This pliable icing used to be something seldom used by amateurs, but with the advent of cake shows, fondant and other culinary ideas once relegated to professionals have moved right into our living rooms. If you've seen Ace of Cakes or Cake Boss you've seen some in use. A baker can make real works of art with the use of a little modeled sugary decoration.

However, commercial, pre-made fondant can be expensive and frankly doesn't taste very good. With some experimentation, much of it very messy, quite unappetizing and downright dangerous, I've arrived at a simple and inexpensive alternative to the commercial version that is surprisingly easy to work with.

This recipe costs under $10 per cake even including the initial outlay for a multicolor box of food coloring. Typically, I spend less than $5 per cake on fondant ingredients, even for cakes with a dozen colors of it!

All photos on this page by Kylyssa Shay unless otherwise credited.

Marshmallows in a bowl

Marshmallows in a bowl

Home Made Fondant Ingredients

You will need:

  • 1 cup of mini marshmallows, packed tightly
  • 1 - 1.5 cups of powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of water
  • Half a teaspoon of cooking oil cooking oil to grease up your hands and work surface if needed extra powdered sugar for rolling out the icing

One batch makes enough fondant to cover a double layered, eight inch round cake.

Step One: Mix Marshmallows, Food Coloring, and Water

Marshmallows in a bowl with food coloring and water

Marshmallows in a bowl with food coloring and water

Mix the mini marshmallows with the water in a microwave safe bowl, coating them as evenly as possible with the liquid. If you wish to make a colored finished product, add the food coloring at this point.

Step Two: Microwave with Care

Marshmallow mixture hot from the microwave

Marshmallow mixture hot from the microwave

Microwave the mixture for ten seconds or until they first begin to melt. If the marshmallows have not begun melting, microwave in increments of ten seconds until they do. Watch the process closely; you do not want to overcook the marshmallows because their consistency can turn stringy or the mixture can get too hot, creating a sticky burn hazard.

Step Three: Stir the Mixture and Add Cooking Oil

A gooey bowl of melted marshmallows, food dye, water, and cooking oil stirred to a uniform color and consistency

A gooey bowl of melted marshmallows, food dye, water, and cooking oil stirred to a uniform color and consistency

Stir the mixture to check for readiness - if all the lumps are gone once you stir it up for about thirty seconds, it is ready for the next step. If there are still lumps, microwave it again for another ten seconds. Stir until the lumps are gone.

If the color isn't almost twice as deep as you want the final color to be, add more food coloring and stir it in until the mixture is dark enough.

Add the cooking oil and stir it in thoroughly.

If you need to microwave the mixture longer be very, very watchful and use very short increments of time as it can easily be overcooked and become stringy.

Step Four: Stir in Powdered Sugar

Powdered sugar atop marshmallow mixture and ready to be stirred in

Powdered sugar atop marshmallow mixture and ready to be stirred in

Once you are able to stir out all the lumps add the powdered sugar in small batches to the hot marshmallow mixture stirring vigorously. Be very careful as this mixture may be extremely hot and sticky.

Trust me; if you get the mixture too hot it burns like the dickens if you get it stuck to your skin. It may not seem like all the sugar will stir into the marshmallows but I assure you, it will. By the time you've stirred in all the powdered sugar you can with your spoon, it is usually pretty cool to the touch.

It takes a lot of stirring to incorporate the sugar into the melted marshmallows.

It takes a lot of stirring to incorporate the sugar into the melted marshmallows.

It takes a lot of stirring to incorporate the sugar into the melted marshmallows.

The fondant gets hard to stir just before it's time to start kneading it.

The fondant gets hard to stir just before it's time to start kneading it.

The fondant gets hard to stir just before it's time to start kneading it.

Step Five: Kneading

This fondant looks ready to start kneading.

This fondant looks ready to start kneading.

Once you've gotten all the powdered sugar stirred in allow the mixture to cool enough to be touched. Then grease your hands with a cooking oil and knead the mixture until it is smooth and somewhat similar in consistency to Play-Doh. If the fondant feels sticky instead of doughy, continue to add more powdered sugar until it feels doughy. If it feels too grainy try heating it in the microwave for four to six seconds and allow it to cool wrapped tightly in plastic. This should help it to become more like a very viscous liquid than like a bunch of grains of sugar bonded together with goo.

Now you can either use the fondant right away or store it for later use.

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How to Make It into Colored Fondant

If you want colored fondant add food coloring with the water before microwaving your marshmallows. Otherwise the coloring comes out streaky and uneven. Use liquid food coloring as part of your 4 teaspoons of water, not in addition to it.

To make a hot pink icing add 20 drops of hot pink food coloring.

To make neon lime green add 20 drops of neon green food coloring.

The food coloring brand I prefer is McCormack which has a neon line great for creating bright colors.

To make chocolate fondant substitute dark cocoa powder for half of the powdered sugar and increase the cooking oil by half a teaspoon.

Rolling out Home Made Fondant: Step One

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Lay down sheets of wax paper on your work surface and generously sprinkle them with powdered sugar to prevent the fondant from sticking. I use a tea strainer to to make a more-or-less even layer of powdered sugar.

An alternate method is to liberally grease the waxed paper with cooking oil. Do not combine the two methods.

Rolling out: Step Two

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Lay the blob fondant on top of the powdered or greased work surface.

Grease or Sprinkle with Powdered Sugar

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Sprinkle fondant liberally with powdered sugar or, if using the oil method, grease its entire exposed surface with a very thin layer of cooking oil.

Sandwich It Between Layers of Waxed Paper

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Cover the fondant with another sheet of waxed paper.

Flatten It Evenly

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Roll out the fondant with a rolling pin until it's as long as it needs to be to cover your cake.

Add More Powdered Sugar or Vegetable Oil and Re-Cover

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Lift the top sheet of waxed paper and sprinkle powdered sugar onto the fondant. Then, flip the fondant over on the waxed paper and generously sprinkle it with more powdered sugar or rub with cooking oil if using the oil method.

Flavored Fondant

To make it flavored add a few drops of food flavoring such as almond or vanilla extract or peppermint or lemon oil before adding the powdered sugar to the melted marshmallows. LorAnn candy-flavoring oils also work great and taste amazing.

Rolling out Home Made Fondant: Step Seven

Re-cover the fondant with waxed paper and roll it out in the other direction until it is wide enough to cover your cake.

Now it can be applied to your cake!

OMG! It Stuck!

OMG! It Stuck!

OMG! It Stuck!

What to Do When It Sticks

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How to Salvage Stuck Fondant

Don't panic, this can be fixed!

If the fondant sticks to the waxed paper, gently slide it up with a metal spatula. Then you can either powder it and flip it over, giving it a few gentle passes with a rolling pin to flatten it out or simply apply it with the "good" side up on the cake.

If all else fails you can wad it back up, spritz it with a little water and roll it out all over again, starting from the beginning. If you do this too many times, however, it will start to get a bit stiff and crumbly.

And Now It Is Ready to Use

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Once you have a big, flat sheet of fondant you can use it to carefully cover your cake. I recommend using a traditional frosting in a light color to serve as an adhesive before applying it. This recipe makes more than enough to cover an 8-9" double-layer round cake or a similar surface area.

You can either dust off the excess powdered sugar with a pastry brush for a matte finish or give it a light mist spray of water to melt the sugar in and give it a shiny look. Icing rolled out with cooking oil automatically gives it a very smooth, shiny finish.

Storing It

Home made marshmallow fondant can be stored in any airtight container for several days at room temperature or for several weeks in the fridge. If refrigerated, you can either use the heat of your hands to soften it before use or put it in the microwave for several seconds set on defrost.

Shaping It

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To shape the decorations you can either mold them with your hands as if out of clay, you can cut them out with cookie cutters, or use a knife to cut out custom shapes as I did for the tiger cake. An X-acto knife or other precision tip craft knife coated with cooking oil or non-stick cooking spray on its cutting blade works very well to cut out designs.

Prevent Fondant from Sticking in Cutters

Spray cutters such as alphabet cutters and shape cutters with non-stick cooking spray before use to prevent the fondant or gumpastefrom getting stuck in them. Wipe and re-apply non-stick spray between cut-outs on mini cutters.

More on Fondant by Kylyssa Shay

© 2009 Kylyssa Shay

Are You Fond of Fondant?

Carolyn Holliday on October 20, 2018:

Thank you for sharing this recipe with very thorough instructions! I love to bake and decorate cakes and have never found a good recipe for fondant until now. I will definitely be trying this! The possibilities are endless!

AnonymousC831 from Kentucky on April 07, 2014:

Great lens, I have to try this.

KyraB on April 05, 2013:

Thank you so much for sharing this!

anonymous on October 23, 2012:

I just used your instructions and recipe to make my own fondant! I also added a bit of instant coffee (english toffee cappuccino...mmmmm...) for a little bit of "antique" color and flavor... SO GOOD! Thanks so much for sharing this and for the easy-to-follow directions - I really appreciate the photos, too! ***GREAT LENS***

Funny_Beekeeper on July 24, 2012:

My girlfriend loves to bake cake but she has never prepere fondant at home, yet :) I tell her for your interesting lens and I hope that she will try this recipe soon :)

poorwendy lm on June 28, 2012:

Wow. So simple that I can actually do these.

Little Linda Pinda from Florida on May 11, 2012:

I always wondered how they made fondant. Thank you for the details. Reallly nice lens too. Beautiful pictures and instructions.

ozylizzy on April 25, 2012:

I like it in small doses. I have never tried your marshmallow fondant though... :)

anonymous on March 31, 2012:

thanks for sharing!!!

Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on March 17, 2012:

Wow - this is by far the easiest-looking fondant recipe I've ever seen! Thank you so much for sharing it and for all the helpful tips you've included.

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on March 01, 2012:

@anonymous: Yes! Spray some cooking spray on a pair of kitchen scissors and cut standard marshmallows into thirds or quarters to use them in this recipe. Compact the cut marshmallows into the measuring cup to be sure you get enough into your batch of fondant. Cut marshmallows seem to cook just a tad more quickly than mini marshmallows so watch the cooking process very carefully.

anonymous on March 01, 2012:

Can you use large marshmallows if you cut them into smaller pieces?

ChrissLJ on December 18, 2011:

As a vegetarian, I can't eat marshmallows. (They contain gelatin.) Many marshmallow creams though are veg friendly and don't contain gelatin, so I wonder if they would work in the recipe. Have you ever tried it?

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on November 23, 2011:

@anonymous: It makes enough fondant to cover a double-layer eight inch round cake.

anonymous on November 23, 2011:

Does anyone know how much fondant I will get with 1 cup of marshmallows (Top recipe)?

Dancing Cowgirl Design from Texas on October 14, 2011:

It think cakes made with fondant are so pretty. I love all the cake shows, but after watching tons of them, I've never seen anyone make homemade fondant. This is cool! Thanks.

Wedding Mom on May 10, 2011:

Thanks so much for sharing these steps and your very practical tips too. I'm sure avid bakers and cake-enthusiast will have a wonderful time reading it. I love your lenses! keep up the great works Kylyssa!

bestinbabies lm on April 11, 2011:

Good step by step. I am going to try this. Thanks!

Kandy O on March 04, 2011:

This is great! Previously I had only made my own buttercream fondant. But, I think I'm going to try the marshmallow version. Do you find that it gets greasy at all?

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on February 19, 2011:

Fabulous tutorial and a very easy recipe! You make it look so simple :)

LouisaDembul on December 19, 2010:

This looks wonderful! Hope they sell marshmallows around here.

anonymous on November 29, 2010:

It worked wondres for me ! Thanks for sharing this recipie :)

JoleneBelmain on October 29, 2010:

I love the tiger... beautiful.

Susanna Duffy from Melbourne Australia on October 28, 2010:

Ooooh I want to do this! I want to make my own fondant!

Sammy24 on October 26, 2010:

This ia a great lense. I was looking for a vegan fondant recipe. Anyone knows of a good one? Let me know on my cookie cutter lense.

Sensitive Fern on October 13, 2010:

I love the pictures on this lens that show us what it's really like to make fondant. I've featured it on my fondant flowers lens.

Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on September 13, 2010:

You are so talented. To be honest, I've never heard of this before. Must come from living in the backwoods and away from large supermarkets and bakeries.

CCGAL on September 11, 2010:

I am soooooo going to try this! Thank you for such a great looking tutorial - I wish I could stop right this minute and go bake a cake so I could make this.

Bellezza-Decor from Canada on September 09, 2010:

When I was little, my girlfriend's mother made use cake with fondant icing and it was divine! I still love it.

kshatley on June 11, 2010:

I was wondering how you store your unused fondant?

JoyfulPamela2 from Pennsylvania, USA on January 15, 2010:

This looks like a lot of fun to make and decorate with! Thanks for the great directions. :)

Kate Phizackerl1 on December 09, 2009:

Also featured on my new icing group http://www.squidoo.com/how-to-make-icing----icing-...

Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on November 28, 2009:

@Kate Phizackerl1: Thank you! I will be adding different photos soon, right after I make my next cake. I want to show the cooking oil roll out method here, too, and get some better colors as examples.

Kate Phizackerl1 on November 28, 2009:

I was going to write a fondant lens to feature on my birthday cakes lenses, then I came across yours. Since it's so good, I've decided to feature it on my lenses rather than write my own - at least for now. A blessing for it while I'm doing because it is so good.Kate

palaceofglass on November 12, 2009:

What a great lens! Your style is very appealing. Keep up!Check out Art Glass and Shower Doors

Bellezza-Decor from Canada on September 30, 2009:

Kylyssa, this is an excellent article on how to make a tasty fondant alternative recipe and the step by step instructions, explanations, and pictures are perfect. This cake fondant recipe looks delicious - 5* and favored! Lensrolled into Delicious Lemon Cake Recipes and Sinful Chocolate Cake Recipes.

Jennifer P Tanabe from Red Hook, NY on August 21, 2009:

This is great - such wonderful clear instructions on how to make it. I've not been a fan of fondant - must have had too much of that inferior commercially made stuff! Now I'm (almost) ready to leap into action and make some of the real thing.

anonymous on July 27, 2009:

Thanks! I will try this when I make my son his Thomas the Tank Engine cake for his birthday!

anonymous on May 17, 2009:

[in reply to gardenlady] This is the best recipe ... I had so much fun and it's perfect!

TopStyleTravel on May 05, 2009:

Great resource for bakers. You make the point about the bad taste of commercial fondant, I never eat it. Hope this method catches on.

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on May 01, 2009:

I've never seen fondant made that way! I'll be passing this on to a friend that uses fondant a lot for cake decorating. Thanks for the lesson! Great cakes!

Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on May 01, 2009:

You make such quality lenses. Very well done as always.

Bambi Watson on May 01, 2009:

very cool :)

gardenlady on April 20, 2009:

Nice lens. Incredibly interesting. This would make a fun project for kids to help with (after it cools) as well.