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At almost any special occasion people tend to celebrate with a cake. Whether it be weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, even funerals, we often have some form of cake to please the crowd. In most instances, these cakes are an interesting colour, or they come with delicate flowers or images, butterflies, or snowflakes – you name it!
Cakes can be made with just about any design these days, and that is all thanks to fondant. Fondant cakes are easier to design due to the versatility of the icing, and are also popular because of the flavor.
So, I hear you ask, what does fondant taste like? If it is such a common icing then why is it so hard to pinpoint the flavor? Today I am going to tell you all about fondant. Not only will you be able to know how to make it, you will be able to understand its flavors and the best possible ways to use it!
Table of Contents
What is fondant?
So, to understand what fondant tastes like and how to use it, first we should really clarify what fondant icing is. In simple terms, fondant is the icing that covers the cake like a layer.
To make fondant icing you simply need powdered sugar (also known as confectioners sugar or icing sugar), water, corn syrup, and in most cases, gelatine. Mix these ingredients together to create a dough. The usual colour of plain fondant is usually an off-white colour which makes it the perfect base to add whatever colorings you desire.
Creating this icing dough means that the icing can then be rolled out and used to layer a cake, but can also be cut and shaped into any shapes or objects you desire placing on the cake as well. The rolled icing creates a very smooth, silky finish and so a lot of the time, particularly with wedding cakes, people use it to create the perfect surface on the cake and leave it there with a nice, attractive finish, and then add only a few decorations.
What does fondant taste like?
Now that we have established what fondant is, it is slightly easier to picture what it tastes like. Fondant is full of powdered sugar, and with the corn syrup it has an even sweeter taste. The light texture makes it quite airy, and overall people compare fondant to being very similar to marshmallows.
Although the flavor is much like marshmallows, the texture is a lot firmer and to find a marshmallow texture you would be better opting for a buttercream frosting instead. The texture of fondant is actually slightly chewy.
So, picture this, a harder, chewier, rolled out marshmallow. That is as close to describing the taste of fondant as you are going to get! Is it popular? Well, that’s hard to say. A lot of people actually remove the fondant from cakes when eating it, including myself. It does not have that creamy, buttery texture that you find with other icings. The harder texture tends to take away from the cake itself, and the sweet flavour can be overpowering and often does not compliment the sponge.
Most cakes have a creamier layer beneath the fondant to help stick it to the sponge or the cake, and so when removing the fondant you are sometimes still left with a jelly or a cream layer.
On the other hand, many people absolutely love fondant. It has an extremely sweet flavour, and some people like the fact that it is slightly chewier. The strong flavor can bring something to a plain sponge and it can often also balance out cakes that taste slightly more bitter, such as Christmas cake.
The versatility of fondant has made it extremely popular with cake decorators, but the taste itself makes it less popular with those who have to eat it. However, in most cases people still opt for fondant cakes and they remain a successful seller due to the fact that they can be designed in so many different ways.
The ingredients in fondant also leave it as a more popular choice for bakers as it is fat-free, has no cholesterol, no sodium, and has carbohydrates content and calcium. Other forms of icing and frosting are butter or cream based, meaning their fat content is a lot higher. The common ingredient in all icing and frosting is the powdered sugar, and so although fondant is less unhealthy, all forms of icing do remain a sweet and unhealthy treat.
How do you make fondant?
We have established that fondant is made of gelatine, corn syrup, powdered sugar and water, and it is really easy to make your own fondant. The gelatine helps to bind the ingredients and to give it that moldable texture and smooth finish. This is why it is the ideal product for cake decorators.
Fondant is foldable whilst firm, meaning it can be sculpted into any shape and will remain that shape. It is commonly used to create sculptures and designs for decorating a cake.
For best results, fondant should be handled at room temperature and the mix should be left alone when it is still warm. If you make excess fondant, it is more than okay to store it in an air-tight container at room temperature and it should be good to roll out and use again even after a couple of weeks if no air is let in. if your fondant develops a crust it is no longer okay to use. You can prevent it from forming a crust if you cover it with a coating of shortening.
To have fondant of different colours, you can add small drops of food colouring to help you create almost any design you can think of! To find out more about using food colouring to make skin tones, such as how to make skin tone frosting and icing. Alternatively, if you are looking at ways to create more unique colours, such as red, you can check that out here. If you need multiple colours of icing for your cake, you can break up your dough into smaller batches and apply the specific food colouring to a smaller amount of fondant.
Where can I buy fondant?
If you do not want to go through the hassle of making your own fondant, or maybe you are in a rush, then have no fear – it is easy to find pre-made fondant! Many brands sell tubs of fondant that you can simply roll out and are ready to use.
If using store bought or homemade, it is important to dust your work top with powdered sugar beforehand. Similar to handling dough and dusting the worktop with flour, if you do not dust the worktop with confectioners’ sugar beforehand then you will end up with a very sticky mess.
Pre-made fondant can be found in almost all grocery stores in the baking section next to the powdered sugar. It often comes in many different colours, but if not, you can add your own colouring the same way you would with homemade fondant.
What can I use fondant for?
As it has already been mentioned, fondant is extremely versatile. If using it as a layer on a cake, fondant is best if you use it as soon as it has been made and has reached room temperature. This is because it is still moist enough to mould around the cake and to then smooth down.
You can also use fondant to create fondant decorations and smaller cake-toppers. Often you will see a fondant bride and groom on the top of a wedding caking – these will be made of fondant. You will also see flowers being commonly used, or butterflies, and these can all be made of fondant. You can use fondant to create just about any small decorations you need.
These cake toppers can be made very close to decorating the cake, but often people prefer to make them days, or even weeks, in advance. This is so that the decorations can completely dry out and become hard before being used. They should also be stored in airtight containers before being used as decoration.
Often these decorations are the most appealing to look at, but the most unappealing to eat. This is because of the sweet taste becoming overpowering when it is moulded into an object and does not have the cake to compliment it.
What can’t fondant be used for?
Although fondant is extremely versatile, particularly for cakes, it is not so useful when it comes to smaller cakes. Of course you can create small decorations for fairy cakes and cupcakes, however fondant cannot be piped and so it would need to be rolled out to the correct size for smaller cakes. It may look odd as a layer of icing on top without wrapping the cake, so when it comes to piping your small cupcakes, you would be better opting for a buttercream or whipped cream icing. You can find out more about buttercream and whipped cream.
Further to this, although fondant can be colored in just about any form, the flavor cannot be altered. Unlike other icings where you can add spices and cocoa powder, essences and alcohol, these flavorings will completely ruin the texture and form of your fondant. This means that the sweet taste of fondant is about the only flavor you can have from it, meaning any other flavors really will rely on the sponge or any middle layers.
The hard and chewy texture makes it a perfect coating, however it cannot be used in the centre of cakes. Again, a buttercream would be ideal for this as it would help stick the layers together.
Overall, fondant is an extremely useful and popular form of decorating. The versatility means that cake decorators can use it for just about anything. The base colour is easy to work with and the texture is easy to mould. It has an attractive, smooth finish and can leave your cakes looking irresistible.
Fondant is easy to make at home and does not require many ingredients, however it can be easily found in supermarkets if you would rather buy it. It stores well but remember to dust your surfaces before rolling it out for use!
Although it cannot be piped, it can be moulded and shaped into little decorations used for just about any form of baking.
Fondant has an extremely sweet taste like marshmallows, and the texture can be quite chewy. Because of this, some people love it and some people hate it.
So, if you are looking for something sweet, low-fat, and easy to cut and shape into whatever you need, fondant is perfect for you. If you would rather something creamier and full of flavor, you should opt for a buttercream or whipped cream. The sturdiness makes it a perfect coat but cannot be used inside cakes or to pipe smaller cakes.
To say whether people love it or hate it really is down to a matter of opinion, but it is fair to say that you either do love it or hate it! Perhaps fondant is the marmite of icings!