The term “fondant” can refer to a couple of different things. In many British cookbooks, for instance, a soft-centered chocolate cake is called “chocolate fondant.” The term primarily refers to a cooked mixture of sugar, water and cream of tartar that can be used either as a candy filling or as a frosting for a cake.
Fondant is made by boiling sugar and water to the soft ball stage. Cream of tartar is generally added just for stability. Once the mixture has been cooked and cooled slightly, it is very pliable and can be kneaded, rolled and molded into all kinds of shapes. For cakes, it is most often colored with some type of dye and rolled out into a sheet that can then be draped over a cake. Fondant will last for quite some time after it has been made, so it’s easy to make up a big batch and refrigerate it if you do a lot of cake decorating.
Even easier to use is ready-made fondant. This type of fondant is easy to find in craft stores and baking stores as an alternative to attempting to make it from scratch. To give it added stability and longevit, it is not made with the simple sugar-water-cream of tartar mixture alone, but uses preservatives (and often loads of extra sugar). Fondant can be flavored with anything, but the slightly chemical taste that often accompanies store-bought fondant is what turns people off to it as a decorating tool, when in fact the classic from-scratch fondant can actually taste quite nice.
BridgetJuly 11, 2008
Thank you for that! I have always wondered how fondant was made and was too lazy to investigate! 🙂 Have you made it from scrath before? Is there a recipe that you really like?
TraciJuly 11, 2008
I’ve heard (and thus avoided) that craft shop pre-made fondant is not tasty – opting instead for the Marshmallow Fondant option. (Google will return many hits) It’s easy to put together and work with, giving more control over flavor. It is super sweet, but simple (and I believe less expensive) if you’re looking to learn how to play with fondant.
Jumbo cupcakes also make a great mini cake to practice on. Bake, cut off the tops, invert, and you have a darling little personal sized cake. Invite your girlfriends over, and you’ve got an instant cake decorating party.
WingJuly 11, 2008
I just started getting into making cakes (I got lots of great tips from your site!!), so I’ve been curious about making my own fondant. I volunteered to make my fiance’s cousin’s wedding cake, and I’m going to stick with buttercream for that one, but if you suggest any good fondant recipes, I might give it a try next time!
gizJuly 11, 2008
Great tips…good ideas… I’m fascinated by fondant and would love to try making my own. I just really hate the store bought stuff that I find rather inedible.
LindaJuly 12, 2008
I agree the bought stuff makes you wonder why anyone would waste money on fondant when most people peel it off and throw it away instead of eating it. I tried making fondant once but my recipe called for glycerin and was a major pain to make. If you have a recipe using the ingredients noted, I’d love to try it. Thanks again for a great website that I look forward to exploring daily!
AnamikaNovember 14, 2008
You have nice blog…lot to learn and move ahead.Thank you.
GretchenSeptember 6, 2013
Satin Ice makes a very nice fondant that I use for cupcakes and cake orders.