Fondant Cake

Easy Vegan Rolled Fondant Icing Recipe

Recipes in Article

Rolling fondant is the white, smooth, rolled sugar coating put onto many elaborately decorated cakes made for special occasions.

The majority of the rolling fondant on sale in cake suppliers or supermarkets is not vegan friendly unless it’s written on the packaging. To be sure it’s truly vegan make your own and here you can find out how it’s done.  

Read on …

Is fondant vegan friendly?

The main ingredients in fondant are powdered sugar, granulated sugar, gelatin, and glycerin, which as bakers we may use every day. However, you may be surprised to know that some of the ingredients are not vegan friendly.

If you are making and decorating a cake for a vegan, then it’s your responsibility to make sure that all the ingredients are vegan-friendly.

Being a vegan may be a medical requirement, or it may be a lifestyle choice, but whatever it is, you must make sure that all the ingredients you use don’t contain any animal products.

Powdered and granulated sugar

Powdered sugar is the ingredient most used by anyone who bakes and decorates cakes.

Unfortunately, not every brand is vegan friendly because some producers use animal bone char to filter and bleach their sugar. This mainly applies to sugar made from cane sugar.

There may not be any indication of how the sugar was produced, except some brands have vegan-friendly written on the packaging.

Any sugar produced from sugar beet rarely goes through this process.

This also applies to any other type of sugar you buy, including granulated sugar.

However, be aware that any powdered sugar with “Royal icing” on the label will most likely have powdered egg white added.

Powdered Sugar
Powdered Sugar

How to make fondant without gelatin

Gelatin is used when making fondant to make the sugar dough pliable and enable it to be rolled out and shaped.

Unfortunately, gelatin is made from the skin, bones, and connective tissue of animals, so it’s unsuitable to use for vegans. A vegan alternative to gelatin is “Agar-Agar,” which is made from seaweed.

If you are not familiar with it, don’t be alarmed about using it as it’s as easy to use as using gelatin. It is flavorless and odorless, and you can substitute gelatine with agar-agar in equal amounts – 1 teaspoon of agar-agar = 1 teaspoon of gelatin.

What is Glycerin?

Glycerin is a by-product of biofuel that has been refined and purified; one of the things it’s used for is in cosmetics production.

Fortunately, you can buy food-grade glycerin that is vegan friendly and is produced from vegetable oils. So, make sure you buy food-grade glycerin from the grocers or the cake suppliers.

If you cannot find any glycerin, then you can substitute it with vegetable oil. It will not taste or spoil the finished product in any way.

Buying ready-to-use fondant icing

There are several brands of vegan fondant icing on the market. For example, Wilton and Satin Ice are 100% vegan. Unfortunately, buying large quantities of ready-to-use fondant is quite expensive, so it makes economic sense to make your own.

Is it easy to make homemade vegan fondant?

Yes, it’s easy to make vegan fondant icing.

To start off you will melt the sugar and bring the temperature of it up to a softball toffee stage. To do this you will need a large heavy-bottomed pan. I used a large 18/10 gauge stainless steel pan I bought from Ikea. You will also need a bowl that is larger than the base of the pan to put cold water in so you can plunge the base of the pan into the water to stop the toffee from cooking, plus a brush to brush down the sugar crystals while the sugar is melting.

However, the most important item you need is a sugar thermometer. 

If you do a lot of sugar work, then you most likely have one already. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, they are not very expensive and they are a good investment. Your sugar syrup will always be at the right temperature, and you’ll not ruin your recipe by undercooking or burning the sugar. 

Vegan Fondant
Vegan Fondant

Vegan Rolled Fondant Icing Recipe

Use a sugar thermometer to make sure you get the boiled sugar to the correct temperature.

Weight converter

Ingredients

  • 1 oz  Agar-Agar Powder
  • 1/4 pint  Water

Method

  1. Place the water in a bowl and add the agar-agar whilst stirring.
  2. Leave for 10 minutes.
  3. Put the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until it’s completely dissolved.
  4. Make sure it doesn’t boil. Take the pan off the heat.

Ingredients (continued)

  • 1 fl oz Vegan Glycerin – (food grade)
  • 4 oz White Vegetable Fat

Method

  1. Add the glycerine and white vegetable fat to the melted agar-agar and stir, and if necessary, return the pan to the heat until everything has melted and combined – make sure it doesn’t boil.
  2. Take the pan from the heat and set aside.

Ingredients (continued)

  • 1lb  Granulated Sugar
  • 4 oz Liquid Glucose (or light corn syrup)
  • 1 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • ¼ pint Water
  • 3 lbs Powdered Sugar (sift after weighing)
  • 1 tsp Lemon Extract (or to your taste)
  • OR 4 tbsp  Fresh Lemon Juice (or to your taste)

Method

  1. Put the sugar, liquid glucose, cream of tartar, and water in a heavy-bottomed pan and place over medium heat. Ensure that the pan you use is wider than the gas or electric ring you use, and then the sugar will not burn on the sides of the pan and discolor the fondant.
  2. Put some cold water in a bowl that is larger than the pan you are using and put to one side – this will be used to stop the boiling process.
  3. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then with a brush that has been dipped in cold water, brush the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan to prevent the whole mixture from crystallizing.
  4. Do not stir again once the sugar has melted. Let the sugar mixture come to the boil, then turn up the heat and boil until it reaches the softball toffee stage 240ºF/116ºC.
  5. As soon as it reaches the correct temperature, remove the pan from the heat and plunge the bottom of the pan into the cold water to immediately cool it and prevent the toffee from overcooking. Make sure not to get any water into the toffee mixture. Leave for 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the water.
  6. Add the dissolved gelatine mixture and the lemon extract or lemon juice.
  7. Stir in the icing sugar a spoonful at a time, making sure that it has dissolved before adding the next one.
  8. When all the icing sugar has been added to the mixture, it should be cool by this time and quite thick.

If it’s too warm to work with, I usually press a piece of thick plastic onto the sugar’s surface to exclude all the air and prevent it from drying and leave it to cool.

When it is cool enough, pour the mixture onto a flat surface that has been dusted with icing sugar and knead it until it is smooth and lump-free.

Wrap the finished fondant in a double layer of food-grade cling film and an airtight plastic bag, then place it in an airtight box to ensure that no air can get to it. If you have made a large quantity, divide it into several pieces before wrapping it.

Leave the fondant at room temperature for at least 12 hours before you use it.

To use – If the fondant is sticky, then knead in a little icing/confectioners sugar. Keep any fondant you are not using covered at all times to prevent it from drying out.

Always sprinkle your fondant, rolling pin, and rolling board with icing sugar when rolling it out.

Makes approximately 5 lbs of fondant

Marshmallow rolled fondant

Making rolled fondant with marshmallows is very popular with many bakers because very few ingredients are required. It can be easily made in a tabletop mixer, or it can also be made by hand.

Some people prefer the taste of marshmallows, and it is especially popular for covering children’s cakes.

Unfortunately, most marshmallows you can buy in your local supermarket are not vegan friendly, so to make this fondant, you will need to source some vegan marshmallows. I am not sure if they can be bought in a supermarket, but I know they are available from Amazon, and I have no doubt that where you buy your vegan supplies, they will also stock vegan marshmallows.

It’s possible to make your own vegan marshmallows, but I have not made them myself.

I asked bakers I know if they used homemade vegan marshmallows to make fondant. The general feeling was that the fondant had not been very successful as it was quite sticky. They used shop-bought vegan marshmallows to make a good fondant.

Marshmallows
Vegan Marshmallows

Marshmallow Rolled Fondant Icing

Weight converter

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs  Vegan Marshmallows
  • 8 tbsp  White Vegetable Fat
  • 4 lbs  Vegan Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp  Lemon or Vanilla Essence

Method

  1. Place the marshmallows, vegetable fat, and water in a bowl.
  2. Heat in the microwave until the marshmallows have melted (see note 1).
  3. Remove from the microwave and slowly stir in ¾ of the powdered sugar. (see note 2).
  4. When the powdered sugar has been incorporated into the marshmallow mixture and forms a dough, then place it onto a board dusted with icing sugar.
  5. Knead the dough adding more of the powdered sugar as required until a rolling consistency is achieved.

  6. The dough may be a bit sticky but will firm up as it stands.

Wrap the finished fondant in a double layer of food-grade cling film and an airtight plastic bag, then place it in an airtight box to ensure that no air can get to it. If you have made a large quantity, divide it into several pieces before wrapping it.

Leave the fondant at room temperature for at least 12 hours before you use it.

Notes:

  1. You can also melt the marshmallows over a double boiler.
  2. If you don’t want to mix it by hand, you could always put the melted marshmallows into the bowl of your tabletop mixer and, using the paddle attachment, slowly mix in the icing sugar.

To use – If the fondant is sticky, then knead in a little icing/confectioners sugar. Keep any fondant you are not using covered at all times to prevent it from drying out.

Always sprinkle your fondant, rolling pin, and board with icing sugar when rolling it out.

Storing your vegan fondant

If kept double wrapped in plastic and then placed into an airtight plastic container, the fondant will keep for quite a while at room temperature. If you are keeping it for a long time, you can store it in the freezer.  

Do not store in the fridge – it is liable to sweat and get damp and sticky. 

Make sure it is at room temperature before you unwrap and use the fondant.

Homemade vegan fondant is best

I hope you’ve found this recipe useful and will make some yourself.

It’s easy to make, and I prefer fondant that I make myself shop-bought because I know what has gone into it as I am sure preservatives are put into factory produced fondant.

If I need a quantity of fondant of the same color, I add gel paste color with the ingredients as I am making it (remembering not to add too much because it will darken as the sugar absorbs it), and it saves time and aching arms not having to knead it in.

I wish you success in making vegan rolled fondant, and if you have any questions, please ask in the comments below.

Joyce Freeman

Joyce Freeman

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