Cake. Everybody loves cakes. We have cake during our special occasions like birthdays, wedding celebrations, and during baby showers. These days, cakes are decorated to make them more appealing. Ever thought of how they manage to fix that outer colorful covering? That outer covering is known as the fondant. So, what is fondant? It is a form of icing used to decorate and sculpt cakes and pastries. The textures vary depending on your preference.
Fondant can be colored, flavored, rolled, imprinted, and cut into different shapes. What is it made of? It is made of sugar, water, vegetable fat, glycerol, and gelatin. Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, flavorless food ingredient obtained from animal body parts. It’s gummier when moist and this makes it valuable because it makes fondant sticky.
What Is Fondant? How It’s Made
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Supersaturate water with sugar. At room temperature, water can only hold so much sugar. However, when heated to the boiling point, water can hold over twice as much sugar. Boil water and sugar to form a soft ball. Add a stabilizer. You can use tartar. Tartar is a salt used in baking powder. You can use corn syrup to thin it out. This will greatly depend on how you want to use it. Glycerine keeps the sugar pliable and creates a dough-like consistency. Melted marshmallows are also great when making fondant.
What Is Fondant? Types of Fondant
When researching, “what is fondant,” you are sure to come across poured fondant. This is just thick liquid, and it’s poured on cakes and pastries. In most cases, it is homemade. Its main components are sugar, water, and corn syrup. It creates a cover with a smooth shiny surface. When poured, it dries to a semi-hard smooth surface. Poured fondant is used immediately, any excess should be refrigerated. Later, it can be reheated and used again.
When researching, “what is fondant,” you are sure to come across rolled fondant. This can be made at home or bought. When rolled, they make outer cakes look smooth and iced. It forms dough-like consistency that is rolled before being applied to cakes. Rolled fondant decorates cakes and even gives cupcakes some flair. It is the rolled fondant that makes pretty little colorful bows and flowers all around cakes.
Any excess rolled fondant can stay for up to 2 months but only if kept in an airtight plastic container. If you choose to refrigerate it, ensure it is in a sealed plastic paper or in a container. When you want to use it, you leave it out at room temperature, then you can knead it again until it is soft.
Making Rolled Fondant
You can definitely buy fondant from stores to cover your cake. But don’t you think it would be cheaper to make some on your own? It is definitely a project you would want to try out, plus the flavors will be much better compared to the ones you would find in the store.
Tips on Making Fondant
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- 1To ensure it stays soft, flexible, and clean when storing, wrap it with a plastic wrap and store in a plastic bag.
- 2Knead until it becomes soft and pliable before rolling it out.
- 3If it’s too sticky, knead with confectioner sugar.
- 4Use plastic gloves to prevent it from sticking on your hands.
- 5Fondant picks up debris easily, especially fuzzy bits of clothing lint.
After kneading, roll your fondant into tube shapes to provide more surface for color application. Use a clean artist brush or a toothpick to apply color. Spread color only on the surface, avoid digging in with your fingers. Digging with your fingers will introduce unwanted pockets of air which can leave air bubbles in the fondant. Keep rolling until the color is evenly distributed. To give your fondant more color, you should use a paste color over a liquid color. These tend to be more concentrated since they do not change when you mix them with white fondant.
After researching, “what is fondant,” you will be ready to choose some colors for making your own. Be sure to choose good colors because some people are allergic to some, and there are some that have a bitter aftertaste. Wear gloves to prevent discoloring your hands. In case you are using different colors, use different gloves for each.
You can add flavors such as almond, lemon, rose water, or orange extract instead of vanilla. Extracts and essence are better than the commercials ones labeled “flavoring.” They are usually infused with a lot of chemicals and have a slight chemical taste. Some extracts you could use include the following:
- 1Vanilla Bean Paste – Vanilla goes with anything. It has a subtle, creamy taste. Add a teaspoon each time you taste to find the right amount.
- 2Flavored Powdered Sugars – These can be bought, or you could add some dry powdered spices to your own powdered sugar at home – usually a hint of ginger and cinnamon.
- 3Rolled Buttercream – This can act as fondant on its own if you use it to cover the cake. It works perfectly when it has corn starch in it. The exceptional thing about it is that you can add alcoholic flavors, unlike the normal fondant.
- 4Dried Fruit Powders – These add great flavors to your own fondant or any other store-bought fondant.
When rolling, ensure you are working on a flat surface, remove any jewelry that would interfere with the rolling by leaving marks. Ensure you knead at room temperatures. Sprinkle the working surface with icing sugar to stop it from sticking. Dust working tools too. You can substitute confectioner’s sugar with corn starch. Kneading with hands is the best way to add color to the fondant. You will knead for about 5-8 minutes until the color is all consistent, and it is soft. In case you are still waiting for the cake to be ready, cover the fondant with a thin layer of shortening to prevent it from drying.
Roll it to ½ an inch thick when you want to mold characters, flowers, or three-dimensional designs. If it is too thin it can tear easily, and this makes it difficult when transferring to the cake. When transferring to the cake, you can use the rolling pin. Use a palette knife to smoothen the fondant. Trim off extra bits to make it look neat. If it breaks after it is transferred onto the cake, use solid vegetable shortening in a circular motion to fuse it back together. After making the fondant you can use other tools to decorate with.
Imprinting and Cutting
This involves adding texture to your fondant to accentuate the cake design. There are different materials to texture fondant. Plastic silicon mats with various designs can be placed directly on the fondant. Then use cutters to punch your desired shape. You can also use stencils to add a pattern.
What Is Fondant? Marshmallow Fondant
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Marshmallow has been in the confectionery industry for some time now. It’s sugar-based and consists of sugar, water, and gelatin. It is whipped to a squishy consistency, molded into small cylindrical pieces, and coated with corn starch. These have a lot of sugar, and after the second bite, you would not want another.
How to Make Marshmallow Fondant
In a microwave-safe bowl, let marshmallows melt in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add water and mix. Add shortening, then sugar, and let it cool. Knead until stretchy.
How to Make Regular Fondant
Ingredients (makes 2 cakes):
- 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup glucose syrup or corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon glycerine
- 2 tablespoons shortening or butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 8 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
- 1Combine gelatin and cold water, let stand until thick. Place gelatin mixture in a boiler and heat until dissolved.
- 2Add glucose and glycerine, mix well. Stir in shortening and just before it has completely melted, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Let mixture cool until lukewarm.
- 3Place 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Make a hole in the center and using a wooden spoon, stir in lukewarm gelatin mixture. Mix in sugar and add more a little at a time, until stickiness disappears. Knead the remaining sugar until fondant is smooth, stretchable, and not sticky on hands. If it is too soft, add more sugar, if too stiff, add water (a drop at a time).
- 4Use fondant immediately or store in an air-tight container. Or you could store it in the fridge. When ready to use, bring it to room temperature and knead again until soft.
Cakes took a familiar form in the 19th century. Frosting was made by refining white sugar. At wedding celebrations of this era, the brighter the icing on the cake, the wealthier the bride’s family appeared to be. Decorations were mostly ornaments like flowers and real pearls.
Today, the baking industry has grown into a booming business and will continue to grow. Shapes have advanced with the fondant making all desired types and shapes of cakes. Now that we have looked into what is fondant, you should take some time off and practice making fondant at home. Create a fondant so beautiful that anyone would feel a little guilty putting a knife through your art.
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