The OVERWHELMING majority of our customers think fondant is nasty stuff. For looks only, and meant to pulled off the cake and thrown directly in the trash.
Fondant is different things to different people (in different parts of the world). It is the soft center of a chocolate candy, the smooth covering on a cake, the traditional topping for French petit fours, or the gooey center of a chocolate covered cherry. It is the darling of the cake shows on television, where it not only covers cakes, but is used to make a variety of sculpted figures and decorations.
By the way fondant is pronounced FON-dent, and not fon-DOO (which refers to a style of cooking involving melted cheese or chocolate).
If you want to know more about how fondant is made, go here. Or skip to the bottom of this post for definitions of fondant, sugar paste, gum paste and pastillage.
We cover most cakes in buttercream, but we do make fondant covered cakes. We also use fondant (A LOT) for decorations such as the fantasy roses on this cake, or zebra stripes, cut-outs, bows and figures.
Our brand of choice is Massa, from Albert Uster Imports. It comes in White Chocolate (ivory colored and absolutely DELICIOUS), plus Neutral, Americana (more opaque), and Dark Chocolate (think tootsie roll). It stays softer longer than most fondants made in America, and does not crack as easily. It is used by cake decorators such as Nicholas Loge and Collette Peters. It is also the fondant of choice for many of the contestants on The Food Network's Cake Challenge. On the other hand, Buddy Valestro, Kerry Vincent, and Ron Ben-Israel all endorse Satin Ice brand fondant. We buy Satin Ice brand too, but mainly for pre-mixed dark colors such as red, black and blue. It is softer than Massa, and dries faster.
Massa brand fondant costs a bit more than other brands, but is totally worth it. And while it is hard to overcome the pre-set ideas of taste over the phone, when customers come into the shop, one taste usually changes their mind and wins them over.
So all fondant is NOT the same. Sometimes the look you want can only be achieved with fondant, but it CAN taste delicious too.
Poured Fondant -- Poured fondant is made from sugar, corn syrup and water. Once cooked, cooled and stirred, fondant can be used for making candies, or it can be thinned and poured over petit fours, cookies and other baked items. It is sometimes called European Fondant.
Rolled Fondant -- Rolled fondant is like a very sweet dough. Similar to poured fondant, rolled fondant is made from sugar, corn syrup and water, plus glycerin, gelatin, and sometimes a small amount of gum such as tylose or gum tragacanth. The fondant is rolled out flat into sheets which can then be colored and used to decorate cakes. A fondant-covered cake can be spotted by its rounded edges. It is sometimes called Australian Icing or sugar paste.
Marshmallow Fondant -- is made from marshmallows, powdered sugar and water. Some people prefer the taste compared to commercial fondant. It is easier to make at home than traditional fondant.
Gum Paste -- is made from egg whites, powdered sugar, shortening and gum (tylose or gum tragacanth). It is stronger than fondant and dries faster and harder. It is sometimes called pastillage.