They say that we eat with our eyes first. Even before we begin to taste the food we already tasted it with our eyes. This saying is so true with cakes. Have you ever wonder how cakes are beautifully put together? We are all amazed at one time when we see a cake from a wedding and marvel at how pretty it looks. We have also blown away with the cake that was so exquisitely done to derive a theme from a birthday party. There must be something about the cake on how it was artistically formed that people seem to go over the heels with them when it comes to buying for their next big occasion. These kinds of cakes are frosted with what bakers called fondant.
WHAT IS FONDANT?
Fondant is a sugar-based paste usually used in icing and decorating a cake. It’s the fondant that dresses the cake to look a certain form for a themed party or wedding. So whether you like to have a superhero on your cake or just want it to be as elegant as it can be, it is the usage of fondant that these cakes can be what you want it to look like.
If you are a future cake decorators who would like to know some facts regarding fondants or just plain curious on how that cake you are eating right now had that smooth frosting on it. Then, let me give you some insights on the history of fondants, what are the varieties of fondant that are widely used and how it has gained popularity over the years when it comes to decorating cakes.
THE HISTORY OF FONDANT
Fondant was invented in the 16th century. The name fondant was derived from French word “fonder” which means “to melt” not literally to melt in your hands but it is likely to melt in your mouth. During the 1800’s fondant was largely a candy that was made with rose water, sugar, egg whites, lemon juice and gum paste that was mixed by hand. It was colored, flavored and was eaten in pieces. Ladies of refined household across Europe and USA are fond of making and serving them with tea. In the UK and Europe, they call fondants as sugar paste. When it was popularizing in Australia in 1940’s and 50’s it was called sugar paste.
WHAT ARE THE VARIETIES OF FONDANT?
Fondants are long been famous for its versatility and flexibility. It can be stored for longer period and it is easily molded and shaped. It provides a smooth texture that is ideal for base frosting for intricate cakes like wedding cakes. Because fondants have a strong sugary taste on it, flavorings are added such as chocolate and almond extract. In early years, smaller cakes were dipped in warm fondants and let it set. Today, fondants are chilled and then applied directly to cakes.
There are two varieties of fondant. First is the most commonly used by bakers which are the rolled fondants. Rolled fondants are consist of confectioner’s sugar, gelatin, corn syrup, water and shortening. It is then mixed together to form a dough that can be rolled and shaped into any decoration you like.
The second is the poured fondant. Poured fondants are creamy and liquid. It is cooked and poured into cakes. It is used in coating cake, pastries and other desserts like Napoleon and Éclairs. Today, fondants can be cut, rolled, shaped, and stretched in many ways to make every cake smooth and seamless. It is also colored and dust with edible sprinklers to make it more attractive.
Although there are pros and cons in comparing fondants to other frosting like butter cream, it is always wise to get informed and weigh upon its uses. For the fondant, the stability that it can hold up even when transporting it and the endless options on styling and decorating the cake with fondants that can be picture worthy for any events are the pros of fondant. Still, there are the cons. One is that it is not health friendly as it uses hydrogenated oils and a very large amount of sugar. Second, it is costly. But come to think of it, it is not every day that you would eat these fondant cakes so it is unlikely your health will be badly affected instantly. And for the cost, if it is for weddings and birthdays or any other special events it is more likely that you plan already your budget for this beforehand. So, the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to this issue.
HOW DID FONDANT GAIN POPULARITY OVER THE YEARS?
Traditionally, fondants were used in wedding cakes only because of its versatility in making an elaborate designs and style that are fit for a wedding cake but because it has gained much attention over the years it has now become popular to other cakes as well like birthday cakes, baptismal cakes and baby showers cakes. It was first known as a candy and later work its way up to become cake icing. Over the course of time, fondant has evolved in its taste and usage on different occasions thanks to the ingenuity of bakers who worked with the fondant to achieve a good quality of taste, color and consistency. Many have grown to love it and because of that it became in demand for cake decorating.
Today, it is enjoying its popularity on TV shows such as Cake Boss, Ace of Cakes, and The Martha Stewart Show that features fondants frequently to showcase its versatility in making complicated and challenging cake designs. It just shows that fondants are here to stay in our cake for a long, long time.
In conclusion, fondants have come a long way to reach the success that it has now in cake decorating. Its popularity over the years also indicates how we as consumers have chosen to welcome fondants in every cake for every occasion we have. It is always great to know facts about the fondants. In this way, we will no longer be unfamiliar with fondant cake that we bought or ordered in the bakeshop. So, the next time you are going to eat that fondant cake, give it a full respect by appreciating every bit of it.