What is Fondant Icing?

If you've ever admired a beautifully decorated cake, chances are you've come across fondant icing. Fondant icing, also known simply as fondant, is a type of sugar paste that is rolled out and used to cover cakes, cupcakes, and other confections. Its versatility, smooth texture, and ability to be molded into any shape or color make it a favorite among bakers and a staple in the world of commercial baking. Below, we cover some of the most important information to know about fondant, allowing you to add a flawless finish and intricate designs to your baked goods.

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How to Use Fondant on a Cake

Whether you're a professional pastry chef or a home baker looking to take your cake decorating skills to the next level, learning how to use fondant on a cake is a valuable skill to have. Here are a few key steps to help you achieve a flawless fondant-covered cake:

chocolate fondant
  1. Prepare Your Cake - Start by trimming any uneven edges and applying a thin layer of buttercream or ganache as a base to create a consistent texture and level cake. This will help the fondant adhere to the cake and create a smooth foundation.
  2. Roll Out the Fondant - Take a portion of fondant and knead it until it becomes pliable. Using a rolling pin, roll out the fondant into a thin, even sheet. Aim for a thickness of about 1/8 inch to ensure easy handling and a seamless finish.
  3. Cover the Cake - Gently lift the rolled fondant using your rolling pin and drape it over the cake. Start from the center and carefully smooth the fondant over the top and sides of the cake, working your way outwards. Use your hands or a fondant smoother to eliminate any wrinkles or air bubbles.
  4. Trim the Excess - Once the fondant is smoothly adhered to the cake, trim off the excess using a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Be sure to leave a small border around the base of the cake to prevent the fondant from pulling away.
  5. Add Decorative Touches - You can use fondant cutters, molds, or even hand-cut shapes to create intricate decorations. Experiment with different colors, textures, and techniques to personalize your cake and make it truly unique.

How to Make Fondant Stick To Cake

One important thing to keep in mind when working with fondant is that it needs a slightly tacky surface to adhere to. This means that you'll want to make sure your cake is covered in a thin layer of buttercream or ganache before applying the fondant. Not only will this help the fondant stick, but it will also provide a smoother surface for the fondant to adhere to.

What Type of Cake Is Best for Fondant Icing

When choosing a cake for fondant icing, opt for a dense and sturdy cake that is also moist, level, and cooled. You want a cake that has a solid base for support, while also being even and level for easy spreadability. By selecting the right type of cake, you'll set yourself up for success when it comes to creating a beautifully decorated masterpiece with fondant icing.

What Is Poured Fondant?

what is poured fondant

Poured fondant is a liquid icing that is poured over baked goods to give them a smooth finish. It is made similarly to rolled fondant, but it contains a higher ratio of liquid in order to thin it out. After pouring, it requires time to dry and set to prevent smudging. This type of fondant can also be thickened and used to fill candies and pastries. Many chocolatiers use flavored fondants to fill their chocolates, and you may also find it inside eclairs as an alternative to pastry cream.

What Is in Fondant?

Fondant is made of sugar, water, and corn syrup. More structured fondant for sculpting usually contains gelatin as well. Some bakers also choose to use marshmallow fondant on their cakes, which is made from melted marshmallows, powdered sugar, and water.

Is Fondant Edible?

Yes, fondant is 100% edible. In the media, you will sometimes see fondant being removed from a baked good before it is eaten, but this is simply because some people don’t like the flavor or texture of this icing.

How Long Does Fondant Icing Last?

Commercial fondant, which can be purchased in stores or online, typically comes in a sealed package. This packaging helps to preserve the freshness and extend the shelf life of the fondant for up to a year when stored properly. Due to the absence of preservatives and the freshness of the ingredients used, fondant made from scratch typically lasts for about 2-3 weeks. It is important to note that homemade fondant can be more susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity, which may affect its longevity.

What Is Fondant Cake?

Sometimes, the term “fondant” is used to refer to certain types of baked goods themselves. Especially in the UK and France, the term “fondant” can be associated with a type of chocolate cake that is molten in the middle, like what Americans call chocolate lava cakes. Fondant fancies, or small cakes that are coated in poured fondant, are also popular in parts of Europe. In the US, though, “fondant cake” generally denotes a cake that has been coated in fondant rather than buttercream or another icing.

chocolate fondant

How to Store Fondant Cake

Ideally, you should store your fondant cake at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and sources of heat. Extreme temperatures can cause the fondant to melt or become too hard, compromising the texture and overall look of the cake. To prevent the cake from drying out and retain moisture, it's recommended to cover it with a cake dome or a large, airtight container. If you don't have a cake dome or container large enough, you can also use plastic wrap to tightly cover the cake.

If you're planning to store the fondant cake for an extended period, such as overnight or for a few days, you can also refrigerate it. To avoid condensation forming in the refrigerator, allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving and avoid touching or brushing the fondant until it has fully dried.

Whether you're a professional pastry chef or a home baker looking to add some flair to your creations, fondant icing is a versatile and impressive tool to have in your arsenal. Fondant's pliable nature allows for easy molding and shaping, making it ideal for creating three-dimensional decorations and cake toppers. Plus, fondant acts as a protective barrier, keeping your cakes moist and fresh for longer periods of time. Pair fondant with a little practice and creativity, and you'll be able to achieve professional-looking results that are sure to impress your customers or guests.

Posted in: Bakeries|By Christine Potts
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