Fondant 101 (101)
This past week I had the opportunity to talk about fondant with Betsy Karetnick and Brian Kelsey from the show Morning Living on Martha Stewart Living radio . Since not everyone has access to this show, here’s a quick writeup which includes some notes from the show.
What exactly is fondant?
Fondant is a rolled sugar dough. There are many recipes out there – but the type we use is made from sugar, corn syrup, vanilla or almond flavoring, gelatin, glycerine, gum tragacenth, vegetable oil and water.
For all our cakes, we first cover the cake in a thick layer of buttercream followed by a thinner layer of fondant. For fillings we can do all sorts of flavors – some of the more popular are vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, raspberry, peanut butter, oreos and cream. (Full list of fillings and flavors are available here.)
What can you use it for in your baking?
Rolled fondant can be used to cover cakes, cookies and cupcakes. It can also be used to mold figures, flowers and other decorations.
What are some of the tools you need to work with it?
A fondant rolling pin is an essential tool. It is usually made from hard plastic or silicone. We use a piece of PVC pipe which works really well to roll out the fondant. Usually we use either confectioners sugar or corn starch to roll out the fondant so it doesn’t stick to your work surface.
We also use plastic fondant smoothers which help smooth the fondant to the cake and gets rid of any bumps or wrinkles. We also use impression mats to add texture to items like a football or basketweave.
When working with fondant, you have to be careful to make sure it doesn’t dry out. To help fondant from drying we cover it in plastic wrap. Adding in the shortening gradually while folding the fondant will give a more even texture and be sure to not leave the fondant out and uncovered while prepping your tier.
You can also use tools that are commonly used for clay sculpting: like ball tools, needle tools, exacto knives, and cookie cutters.
What are some fun designs people can do at home when using it?
Fondant can be colored with gel food coloring. Different colors can be twisted together and then rolled out to create a marbled effect. Fondant can also be cut out in different shapes, like polka dots, stars, or even animal prints. The cutouts can be applied to your fondanted cake with water.
What are some of your favorite uses?
I of course love to use it to cover cakes because it gives a beautiful smooth finish. I also like to use it to cover cookies because it’s an easy and neat way to decorate them without having to use royal icing in a piping bag. I also love making small decorations for cupcakes with fondant, like hearts or little daisy flowers.
What’s the difference between fondant vs buttercream?
Our entire answer to this question is available in our Fondant vs Buttercream Q&A section.
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