I hear over and over from consumers in the community that they really dislike the taste of fondant. They just peel it off when it is on cake. Common phrases about fondant; "it tastes like sweet, soft cardboard"; "it's too chewy"; "it's not really meant to be enjoyed like buttercream"; "we went for taste, not prettiness"; "fondant is way more expensive than buttercream". You get the point. ;)
I feel that fondant has been charged undutifully as the red-headed step child in the cake world on the perspective of the consumer. Most likely the bad rap comes from many years ago, when one particular brand pretty much controlled the market and was the one known by everyone as "fondant". People did not know that there are many different brands out there. Yes, there are a few commercial fondant brands that I wouldn't think about putting on my cakes. As a matter of fact, I rarely use commercial ready-to-use fondant to cover a cake. I will use them to make cake decorations and cake toppers. There is an amazing commercial fondant out there that if my customer requests it, I will use it. It is Carma Massa Ticino. It is a dream to work with and tastes amazing. However, a bit on the pricier side so that particular fondant would be an upgrade.
Homemade fondant is so different than commercial ones. Most are much softer and don't harden too much when given time to dry. They can be flavored, so with this alone, you can match or compliment the flavor of the cake. I use a marshmallow fondant for all of my cakes being covered in fondant. It's great to work with and in the process of making it, I flavor it to whatever my customers would like. My standard flavor is vanilla with a hint of lemon. Wedding cakes, I add almond to the fondant as my standard. I have had many people tell me that they usually don't eat the fondant on a cake, but they loved mine because it wasn't chewy and it was flavored so nicely.
In the beginning of this post I talked about negative comments I have heard about fondant. Let's now talk about the positives of fondant.
There are some amazing designs that can be done in fondant that would not look right in buttercream.
It doesn't melt in the heat like buttercream does. Have you ever had an outdoor event in the middle of the summer and when you start cutting the cake, the buttercream got all messy and misshapen? Fondant covered cakes tend to hold up longer in the heat.
You can avoid dairy sensitivity issues with fondant. Fondant is not made with any dairy products.
Cakes covered in fondant have a clean, sharp, professional look to them. I know, I know, looks are not as important as taste. I agree somewhat, Looks are equally important as taste when a customer is going for beauty in a cake design.
Once a cake is covered in fondant, it seals the moisture into the cake which means, the fondant will keep the cake moist.
If you are looking for a sculpted cake, fondant is definitely the way to go. Using fondant to cover a sculpted out cake will really put life and realism into the cake.
Okay, so now that I have shown you some pros and cons, what do you think? Are you thinking a bit differently about this lovely cake covering? If you have never liked fondant, do you think you would give it a try knowing more about it?
When I do wedding cake consultations and tastings, I offer a sample of my homemade fondant for you to try. You will see that it is not like you envisioned fondant to taste. It is so much better! I also do not upcharge for fondant unless it is a premium commercial brand in which you request. Buttercream and fondant coverings are priced out the same.
I hope this blog post has turned you into a fan of fondant! Give it a try! It's really not bad at all! It deserves more credit than being the redheaded stepchild of cake coverings. ;)