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Fondant is a wonderful, versatile medium. Although I was first introduced to started cake design with buttercream and it seems things have come full circle (this year I’m doing more buttercream cakes than fondant cakes for the first time in over 10 years), I still love fondant. Here are five reasons why.
1. You can color fondant any way you want. I love creating custom colors for clients. I’ve said before (check out tip #3 here) how I use my paint fan deck to help clients specify their color. I then use the deck almost as I would a color wheel, so that I know which direction I need to go in if my fondant is, say, too yellow to match the swatch. When creating a custom color, it’s always easiest to start with a white base, and fondant, unlike my beloved buttercream which has a slight yellow tint due to the butter and can be tricky to color, starts off a beautiful alabaster white. So I can easily create a mint green fondant:
Or a pretty peach:
Or even a rich cappuccino color:
2. It’s pretty resilient, really. The water in fondant begins to evaporate as soon as it comes into contact with air, allowing the fondant to firm pretty quickly. (It will eventually dry hard if it is not in contact with moisture, so fondant on dummy cakes will dry completely and be rock-hard, provided the climate is not too humid, within a week or so.) Again, I love the look and taste of buttercream, but an accidental poke of the finger is very hard to repair once the butter has softened. Fondant is much more forgiving and we joke that it can almost be “man-handled” relative to buttercream.
3. You can texture it. I’ve created many textures on fondant, and the possibilities are absolutely endless. Most recently, I pressed actual lace appliques into a fondant exterior and airbrushed it gold to get this effect:
I’ve also painted it for a galvanized steel look:
I’ve created a sweater texture (which I teach in my Craftsy class):
And even a pineapple texture:
When it comes to texture, don’t be limited by tools designated for cake. I’ve created texture with kitchen gadgets, real fruit, and even a florescent light cover!
4. Fondant provides insulation. Fondant was originally used in England to cover fruit cakes and keep them fresh for shipping to the New World. It essentially seals the cake, creating a barrier between the cake and the air, and helps keep it moist. Some people object to the taste of fondant. I actually don’t mind the taste, and I know people (okay, they’re mostly people under the age of 12, but still) who love it. I even had a cat, Beans, that loved it. This was many years ago, when I still lived in New York and was working out of my home. Beans knew the sound of the fondant bucket opening and would come running from wherever he was in the apartment for a little taste of fondant. (I know that this is kind of sweet and kind of gross all at the same time. This is also why most health departments don’t allow food products to be produced in the home kitchen.) What I don’t love is the gummy texture of fondant with the crumb of the cake. So, it’s a bit of a trade-off: Fondant-covered cake that might be a tad more moist but has a gummy exterior or buttercream cake that might suffer a bit in moisture content but is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
5. Its versatitility. We use fondant for so many applications. Add water, vodka, or Crisco and it becomes a paste-like consistency (we call it “gunge”) that can be used to fill cracks and holes. Knead in some tylose and it can be used for beautiful ruffles, like the middle tier on this cake. (Photo: Erin Schrad)
Or the popsicles here:
And marquee letters:
And edible gems:
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