Fondant refers to several types of products but for cake decorating purposes it usually describes a smooth covering that drapes nicely over cakes creating a lovely finished look. This icing can be made from scratch or purchased premade depending on your skill and budget. Fondant can be dough like in consistency or more liquid in structure depending on your needs and recipe.
Making homemade fondant requires a bit of experience with sugar work, a candy thermometer and a great deal of patience. Most recipes include confectioners' sugar, water, glucose or corn syrup, glycerin, flavoring and gelatin. These ingredients are readily available in most baking or craft stores and online. Some recipes require cooking the sugar to a soft ball stage and others are uncooked. Almost all recipes require a great deal of kneading (or a commercial mixer) and a period for your fondant to rest before using it. Fondant requires very precise measurements of all the ingredients and following the steps of the process to the letter. This is not the time to experiment or give in to creative impulses with flavorings or reduced sugar cooking. For example, too much confectioner's sugar will create a stiff almost crumbly end product that is impossible to roll or mold.
Fondant can be found premade in most craft or baking stores which is convenient because it can be difficult to make successfully from scratch. Premade products can be quite expensive but most novice decorators find this fondant very easy to work with for their designs so the added cost is acceptable. Purchased fondant is usually the reason most people say they hate the taste of this icing option. Store bought fondant contains preservatives along with the other commonly used ingredients and can have an unpleasant taste. If you want to use a premade fondant try several brands to get the one with the best texture and the most pleasing taste. Premade products will have differences in pliability, taste, texture, shelf life, color and of course price. Some products work best for covering whole cakes but are not as tasty and other types of fondant will be quite delicious but tear easily when you try to drape it. Do your homework online or ask professional cake designers their opinion to make decisions about which premade product to purchase.
Some popular premade fondant choices are :
- Duff Goldman
- Massamoretti Rolling Fondant Paste
- Satin Ice
- Ready-To-Use White Rolled Fondant
This product is a pliable sweet white dough that can be used in an almost infinite variety of ways. It can be rolled out (as the name suggests!), draped over cakes, modelled into just about anything, cut out, imprinted and made tinted any color. This coating is very popular on wedding cakes because of its porcelain matte finish. Fondant covered cakes are usually have a layer of icing or glaze under the rolled sugar paste and should not be refrigerated. If you know your cake will have perishable ingredients or components such as chocolate mousse filling fondant might not be the best choice to cover it.
Pourable Fondant Fondant can also be thinned with sugar syrup to an almost liquid consistency and poured over cakes and petits fours. This is a less popular method in modern times but when allowed to set the finish of this product is smooth and professional. However, keep in mind your cake needs to be bump and crevice free if you are pouring the fondant because every flaw will be highlighted. Rolled fondant tends to cover a multitude of baking sins.