Mixing Fondant and Modeling Chocolate…Good Idea or Not?

Posted by on Sep 25, 2013 in Cake Decorating | Comments


There is much debate among many in the cake decorating world about mixing fondant and modeling chocolate. Some say to keep them separate and use them for different decorating techniques. Others believe mixing them can bring out the good qualities of both mediums. I decided to put them to the test and see which performed the best. I tested the fondant, modeling chocolate, and then a mixture of half fondant and half modeling chocolate side by side to compare and contrast the three mediums.

Two Layer Stripped 60th Birthday Cake with Orange Flowers

Photo via Craftsy member Angelo

A few notes before we begin:

  • For this test, I am only using a mixture of 50% fondant and 50% modeling chocolate, (I will refer to it as 50/50). Some decorators talk of mixing with 10% modeling chocolate or a 40/60 mix with great results, but for our purposes today we are sticking with a 50/50 mix.
  • I am using Fondex fondant and homemade modeling chocolate made with candy melts and corn syrup. There are many different brands and varieties of fondant and modeling chocolate, and other brands may act differently.

3 Rolled Balls of Fondant, Modeling Chocolate and 50/50 Mix
I started with mixing 8 ounces of fondant and 8 ounces of modeling chocolate. In all of the pictures the fondant is on the left and the 50/50 is on the right. In the middle is modeling chocolate.

Rolled Out: Fondant, Modeling Chocolate and 50/50 Mix
Softness

I was surprised to find that when I mixed the two mediums together, the 50/50 mix turned softer than plain fondant. It felt like very soft fondant, but did not release oils as modeling chocolate does when it gets too warm.

Rolling it thin

I rolled out 1 ounce of each and found that the 50/50 mix did roll more easily and thinner than fondant or modeling chocolate. It did not stick or tear the way modeling chocolate does, and it stretched more than plain fondant.

Each Rolled out, with Flower Shapes Cut from Each
Cutting shapes

Flowers cut easily out of all three mediums. There was more “fray” on the modeling chocolate, but the fondant and 50/50 cut about the same.

Green Modeling and Shaping Tool

Thinning petals

Transferring the flowers onto my foam mat turned into a bit of trouble with the 50/50. It tore a little bit because one petal stuck to the silicone mat due to how soft it is. When thinning the edges of the petals, I found that the 50/50 performed much like the fondant — it made nice, thin edges with one smooth motion around each petal. Modeling chocolate alone is hard to thin because it can be sticky and hard to stretch, so I was happy to see that the 50/50 worked so well.

3 Flowers Sitting in White Mold

Three Flowers Removed from Mold

Drying time

After thinning the petals I placed them in a paint pallet to dry. I allowed them to dry for about 2 hours. When I removed them from the mold, the fondant and modeling chocolate held their shape beautifully, but the 50/50 did not dry or harden and I was left with a flat open flower.

 

Fondant, Modeling Chocolate and 50/50 Mix in Folded StripsFondant, Modeling Chocolate and 50/50 Mix in Rolled Up Strips
In addition to the flower petals, I also rolled out strips of each and let them dry for about 15 minutes. I then bent them while looking for cracking. The fondant performed as expected with cracking and elephant skin, the modeling chocolate was still pliable yet held its form well. The 50/50 was surprisingly soft and even when folded, did not crack at all. It did not hold its shape well, but the flexibility of the 50/50 was very exciting. After this test, I allowed the 50/50 to dry for another hour and still found the same results.

All Three Shaped into Beginning of Animal Body, Modeling Chocolate More Firm
Modeling ability and strength

For this test, I measured out 3 ounces of each medium. I then quickly molded a swan-like form (It’s more of an ugly duckling). I was looking for the strength of a free standing form. The fondant and modeling chocolate both performed as expected, but I was surprised to find that the 50/50 was softer and less stable than the fondant. It just flopped down and could not hold its shape.

Three Mediums in Strips with Marks on Them Depicting Smoothing

Smoothing out mistakes

Our final test was to see which medium could be easily fixed in the case of three common mistakes; puckers, cuts or gashes, and folds. I rolled out all three, then folded them over on the bottom, put a pucker in the top and used my fingernail to put a gash in the middle. I then gave myself 30 seconds on each medium to use my fingers to smooth out the flaws.

The fondant smoothed out some, but still left indentation or lines where the flaws were. The modeling chocolate fixed itself really well. And the 50/50 performed better than expected. It was not quite as clean looking as the modeling chocolate, but fixed itself better than the fondant.

Fondant, Modeling Chocolate and 50/50 Mix in Shaped Strips

Conclusions

After running all of the tests, I have concluded that mixing fondant and modeling chocolate can have helpful results. I would not use it for modeling figures or for ruffles or bows, due to its softness and flexibility, but I think it would be very helpful when making stripes or applying flat shapes, like polka dots on the sides of cakes, due to its long drying time.

I think 50/50 may be helpful when covering a cake because it repairs itself more easily than plain fondant and gives you more working time, but it also does not dry to form a nice crust like fondant, which could make it harder to work with over time. It could also make it harder to transport and stack. I would like to try mixing the fondant and modeling chocolate at a lower ratio of modeling chocolate, maybe 90/10 or 80/20.

I believe each of the three mediums are useful and each have strengths and weaknesses. Finding which will work best for you is a personal preference, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different mixtures. You may find your perfect medium!

You may also enjoy our article Fondant vs. Modeling Chocolate vs. Gum Paste.

Do you mix fondant and modeling chocolate? Which ratio works best for you?

Comments

  1. Kate says:

    Thanks very much for this. A very timely article for me.

  2. Michelle says:

    I do 50/50 all the time, I just add alittle tylose for stability and its great! My customers like it as well.

  3. CarmenJane says:

    Yes I mix sugarpaste with modelling chocolate (I make them both myself). I start off with 2 parts chocolate modelling paste to 1 part sugarpaste finding it makes it much easier to handle. If I need it to be firmer, I add more sugarpaste.
    What I love about chocolate modelling paste is how easily you can smooth out any unwanted marks. What I don’t like is how hard it can get in the colder seasons and the effort it takes to soften it ;-) (I don’t like/have a microwave).
    I don’t use candy melts to make the modelling chocolate, I use dark, milk or white chocolate and the flavour is great.

  4. Terry says:

    CarmenJane: may be a silly question, but for clarity, by sugarpaste – do you mean fondant or gumpaste?

    1. Jessica says:

      Sugarpaste is another word for fondant.

      Flowerpaste is another word for gum paste.

  5. Jeanet says:

    I love mixing fondant and modeling chocolate but at a ratio of sometimes 90/10 or 80/20. I can get it roll out a lot thinner to cover my cakes. As well as it’s more forgiving that just plain old fondant. For figures I use gumpaste, 50/50 gumpaste/fondant or fondant with Tylose powder.

  6. Kim mee says:

    Thank you so much for this post Wendy, I’ve learnt something new today =0)

  7. Sherry says:

    Hi. New to the 50/50 formula. Just wanted to know how long I can keep the 50/50 mixture. Dies it store well like fondant etc. ? Or should I wait and mix the two together when in ready to cover my cake? Any help and advice would be very helpful.

    Thank you
    Sherry

  8. Connie Newbold says:

    Thank you for publishing this experiment. It’s great too see the results side-by-side. I think I’ll try combining fondant and modeling chocolate next time I cover a cake. I need every advantage I can get.

  9. Crislyn says:

    Very nicely done. Appreciate you sharing your results.