Cakes covered in fondant have a beautiful, smooth and almost porcelain-like appearance. Fondant can be sculpted into fun, crazy designs resembling almost anything imaginable, or you can texture fondant to look like fur, ruffles or even waves. The possibilities truly are endless when decorating with fondant, but what is fondant? Is it an icing? Is it edible? What does it taste like and where do you get it? These are all questions we are going to answer and by the end we hope you are as excited about fondant as we are!
Photo via Craftsy member Sugar Art by Susan
1. What is Fondant?
This question is often asked by beginning cake decorators and clients alike. The word fondant can refer to two different types of icing. The first is a creamy paste made with confectioners' sugar, corn syrup and water. This type of fondant is cooked and then poured onto the cake or desserts. This technique is used for pastries such as, éclairs, petite fours and Napoleons.
When most cake decorators and clients are discussing fondant, they are referring to rolled fondant. Like poured fondant, it is made of the same ingredients with the addition of gelatin and shortening, which forms it into dough that can be rolled, cut and shaped into almost any decoration you desire. In this post we will be discussing rolled fondant.
Photo via Craftsy instructor Maggie Austin
2. Are there other names for fondant?
Yes! In the UK and throughout Europe, it is called sugar paste. When fondant first started to become popular in Australia in the 1940s and 50s, it was named Australian paste. It can also be called icing paste or rolled icing. Gum paste is not the same as sugar paste or fondant. To make gum paste, a gum like Tylose powder is added to fondant to stiffen and strengthen it.
3. What does fondant taste like?
Over the years fondant has gotten a bad rap. I have had many clients come to consultations telling me that they DO NOT want fondant because it tastes so bad.
When fondant was first mass produced due to its increasing popularity, preservatives were added that would leave a chemical taste in your mouth. Since then fondant has dramatically improved in taste, texture and workability. Many people now compare the taste to marshmallows, since it is made of mostly sugar. In fact, many homemade fondant recipes are made with marshmallows.
After tasting new and improved brands of fondant, my clients have changed their minds and almost all choose to cover their cakes with it.
Photo via Craftsy Student SaraJean
4. Are you supposed to eat the fondant or pull it off your cake?
There are no rules of etiquette when it comes to eating fondant on a cake. Many people choose to pull the fondant off because it is so sweet, while others enjoy the flavor and find it a nice addition to the cake. But don’t worry if you don’t enjoy fondant because under the thin layer of fondant you will also find a luscious layer of buttercream or ganache.
Photo via Craftsy student supermom31317878
5. Can I make my own fondant?
Yes! Homemade fondant is fun and easy to make, just get ready to get messy! Jessica Harris demonstrates the step-by-step process of making homemade marshmallow fondant in her Craftsy class Clean & Simple Cake Design, but she also shares the free recipe right here on Craftsy!
Photo via Craftsy Student Wingged
6. Where do I buy fondant?
Not into making your own? There are many companies that make fondant. The most widely available is Wilton Fondant, which can be purchased at most local craft stores. It comes in a wide range of colors and also a beautiful white. Online and in specialty cake stores, you can find brands like, Satin Ice, Fondx, Fonderific, Alber Usters, Choco-Pan and many others.
Are you ready to start having fun with fondant? Craftsy is here to help!
We have a wide selection of fondant classes available for all skill levels. If you're just starting out, be sure to check out The Wilton Method: Decorating With Fondant, taught by Beth Somers, and our FREE mini-class Basic Fondant Techniques, taught by Elisa Strauss. Both are perfect for beginners!
On Monday, we'll share secrets to making the best tasting fondant!