For the next few entries, we talk with Jackie Travis, owner at Let Them Eat Cake!, and ask her to teach us a little bit about the cake work that she does. Today, she goes into detail about fondant: what it is, how to use it, etc. Enjoy!
Fondant, by definition, is rolled out sugar. It has been used in Europe for many years, but became a household word in the US with the popularity of cake shows such as Ace of Cakes (Duff Goldman), Cake Boss (Buddy Valestro), Amazing Wedding Cakes and TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off, not to mention the high pressure of Food Network’s Challenge, featuring many talented cake decorators.
Fondant is a WONDERFUL medium in which to create cake art. Yes, what we do is art with sugar and we proudly and unapoligetically call ourselves cake artists. Fondant creates a porcelin like, smooth finish on a cake, unveiling a blank palate on which to work. Most of the specialty cakes done today use fondant in one way or another. Many times we see brides with pictures of cakes from magazines, and they are mostly fondant cakes.
Fondant has gotten a bad rap from some. I’m amazed when a person comes into the shop and the first thing they say is that they don’t like fondant. I always ask why. Nine times out of ten, they have never tasted it, but they “heard” from someone that it tasted bad. I encourage them to try for themselves. And remember, just like any product available for consumption, there is good fondant and there is bad fondant and quite honestly, you get what you pay for!
We use a gourmet fondant that is shipped in from Canada. The quality and consistency are hard to beat. ”Buttercream” fondant has hit the market recently and it is what we use here at Let Them Eat Cake! for most of our wedding cakes. I was pleasantly surprised at a recent trade show when I tasted a sample…it really does taste like buttercream!
In regard to fondant, Duff Goldman said it best in his book by the same name as his show, Ace of Cakes, Inside the World of Charm City Cakes:
“Though fondant is edible, the point isn’t to put it in your mouth. Our cakes are designed so that the fondant seals in the freshness and preserves the cake underneath. Think of fondant as a thick, dense coating that’s meant to be peeled off like a banana skin; you want what’s underneath. That’s not to say you can’t eat it – it’s just that’s its pure sugar.” (page 24)