Someone asked me last week about the practice of steaming fondant cakes and whether or not its feasible to use this technique at home. The answer is yes, you can.
First off, why steam cakes? Steaming a cake makes the fondant shine and gives it a certain amount of shimmer. It is also useful in eliminating any "chalky" parts of the fondant that the cornstarch left behind while laying it on the cake.
Can you do this at home? Yes. You do not have to have a professional bakery to get this effect. Basically, you just want steam to come in contact with the entire fondant surface. If you want the entire cake to have the steamed look, you can use a handheld steamer (typically used on fabrics). Doing a quick search, they generally run $20 – $30.
I, personally, like the matte look of fondant so I rarely use the steam effect, but I do use it for certain kinds of decorationss that I want to shimmer. The first wedding cake I made had fantasy flowers (aka made up flowers) wrapping around the front.
I wanted the flowers to have a shimmery, lustrous look. Luster dust didn't seem to cut it, so I steamed the flowers and then luster dusted.
This is simple to do. Take your finished and dried decorative peices and simply hold them over a pot of steaming water (making sure not to scald yourself with hot steam in the process) for 10-15 seconds per side. Make sure it is dried when you begin handling it again. Fingerprints will show up!
So if you are interested in experimenting with a different look, give it a try!