What is Fondant?

Back in the days when kids were allowed to bring birthday cake to school for the class, there was always that one student whose mom went all-out, outdoing herself each and every year and making her son the envy of his peers.  In my class the student’s name was Ben, and we actually looked forward to Ben’s birthdays every year.  Ben’s mom never disappointed and I would like my kids to enjoy the same envy as Ben each year on their birthdays.  Looking back, I remember the fantastic cake sculptures we enjoyed, shaped like the popular characters of the day, or a construction site, an airport one year, and Big Bird. But what I remember most about Ben’s birthday cakes was that everything was edible, except the candles of course.  The secret to Ben’s birthday delights was fondant.

Fondant icing is an edible icing used to decorate or sculpt cakes and pastries. The word, in French, means "melting", coming from the same root as "foundry" in English. Poured fondant is a creamy confection used as a filling or coating for cakes, pastries, and candies or sweets. In its simplest form, it is sugar and water cooked to the soft-ball stage, cooled slightly, and stirred or beaten until it is an opaque mass of creamy consistency. Sometimes lemon or vanilla is added to the mixture, mainly for taste. Other flavorings are used as well, as are various colorings. Fondant fancies are a type of cake typically coated in poured fondant.

Rolled fondant, fondant icing, or pettinice, which is not the same material as poured fondant, is commonly used to decorate wedding cakes. Although wedding cakes are traditionally made with marzipan and royal icing, fondant is increasingly common due to nut allergies as it does not require almond meal. Rolled fondant includes gelatin (or agar in vegetarian recipes) and food-grade glycerine, which keeps the sugar pliable and creates a dough-like consistency. It can also be made using powdered sugar and melted marshmallows.  Rolled fondant is rolled out like a pie crust and used to cover the cake.

Commercial shelf-stable rolled fondant often consists principally of sugar and hydrogenated oil. However, different formulations for commercial shelf-stable fondant are available and include other ingredients, such as sugar, cellulose gum, and water.  Sculpting fondant, is similar to rolled fondant but with a stiffer consistency which makes it a good sculpting material. 

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  4. What is Fondant
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