What’s the deal with fondant?
There are SO many options…how do you know which one to choose?? That’s how I felt in the beginning!! I totally had analysis-paralysis and was too cheap to spend money on fondant unless I knew I was going to love it!!! haha!
Well, hopefully after today’s post, you’ll have some knowledge to guide you in selecting the right fondant for you!! :) Honestly, the reason there are so many options is because there are SO many places to live all over the world and we all have different climates, different needs and are in different economic situations. BUT, what’s great…is there is a fondant for you. You just might have to try a few out. What works for me, might not work for you!
Let’s first talk about homemade fondant. I’m a HUGE fan of homemade fondant and that’s for two reasons. The first and primary one is because I live and work at home. I’m a mom who doesn’t have a business and I make cakes for fun and for the LOVE of making cakes! So…because I don’t charge for my cakes and re-coupe the cost of ingredients, I need to be wise about the money I spend and how I spend it. My husband is cheering in the corner!! haha!!
Homemade fondant is significantly less expensive than store bought! – so, I make it. Secondly, I LOVE how it feels and how it covers a cake. Yes, there are probably “better” fondant out there, but price is an issue in the absence of value…and for me, there is a LOT of value in the fondant I make because I love how it performs. I get a beautiful finish and don’t break the bank…a win-win!! – again I hear applause from my husband! Silly boy!
Now, there are three great recipes that I know of and have used for homemade fondant. Let me explain the pros/cons of each and hopefully shine some light on your options.
- Pros: Simple ingredients that are readily available, 3lbs of fondant costs only around $3, can be easily colored in the melted marshmallow stage to save hands/back from kneading, very elastic, no tearing/elephant skin, quick to make (takes about 20min start to finish), I can get beautiful sharp edges on my cakes!
- Cons: Messy! – yes…it can be very messy! :) It can also be hard for some people to knead for so long…it’s a work out. It doesn’t have a long shelf life (perhaps only a month) until it starts to dry out and needs a little corn syrup to re-hydrate it. It can be pretty sticky and very sensitive to hot/humid climates. However, I live in a very cool climate, so for me, that’s why I love it!
Homemade Option #2: Liz Marek’s LMF Fondant Recipe. This is a fantastic recipe!! It’s a beautiful combo of both commercial and home made fondant yet without the high costs. I use this recipe from time to time when I have a Joann or Micheal’s coupon and can get the Wilton fondant on sale. It’s similar to my recipe above, but adds in the Wilton commercial fondant which gives you great added bonuses!!
- Pros: She still uses simple ingredients and readily available fondant from hobby stores that carry Wilton products. Costs are still less than using full store bought fondant and are around $8 for 4.5 pounds if you don’t get the fondant on sale and closer to $5-$6 for 4.5 pounds if you have a coupon for 50% off. MUCH cheaper than full store bought. It makes beautiful fondant that has a longer shelf life than standard homemade fondant, doesn’t stretch or tear, is very elastic and not as sticky and sensitive to humidity…although, still more than straight commercial brands. It also makes more fondant in the same amount of time as making a 3lb batch of my marshmallow fondant.
- Cons: Slightly more expensive than standard home made fondant and you need to buy Wilton fondant to have on hand, still requires the mess of making fondant by hand and again…the work out!
Important tips on marshmallow based fondant!!
I know a lot of you would love to use homemade marshmallow based fondant because of it’s cost factor and ease of use…but you tell me all the time, “My climate is just too hot/humid!” I totally understand and when we have a wave of humidity here in Oregon (which doesn’t happen very often) it can get sticky. So, here’s a few tips that will help if you want to mess with it and find a way for it to work with you.
1. When it gets sticky, it needs a bit more powdered sugar. Don’t just go by the recipe, go by feel.
2. Use corn starch (not powdered sugar) when rolling it out. Powdered sugar just absorbs right in, but corn starch doesn’t as fast and creates a great barrier to the stickiness.
3. Don’t chill your cakes! When you take a cold cake out and put it in a warm/humid environment it’s going to condensate. Marshmallows/sugar LOVE moisture and will get sticky. I only use ganache as a crumb coat because I don’t have to chill my cakes and can cover a cake at room temp which is HUGE with marshmallow fondant. If you live in a humid environment, and you want to use marshmallow fondant, use ganache! – simple!!
4. Move! – just pick up your house or bakery and move it to a cooler/dryer climate!! – it’ll solve all your problems!! LOL!!
Homemade Option #3: Michele Foster Fondant (from Cake Central) – gelatin based (not marshmallow based)
I’ve used this recipe several times and love it! – I probably love it a bit more than my standard marshmallow recipe and it is probably more similar to Liz’s recipe in feel/texture.
- Pros: Beautiful consistency when made correctly, shelf stable, not as sticky as home made fondant (more similar to Liz’s recipe), doesn’t require having marshmallows on hand, not as sensitive to humidly as regular marshmallow fondant.
- Cons: Hard to make…it’s a labor of love compared to the marshmallow fondant. More time consuming and just as messy!
All in all, home made fondant is a fantastic choice and depending upon where you live and what ingredients you have access to, these are three great options for you! Post a comment and let me know which one you’ve used and what you think!! It’ll help our friends make educated choices!
Let’s move on to commercial fondant brands…
I’m not going to spend a ton of time here because Lesley with Royal Bakery did a fantastic write up on Craftsy comparing a lot of fondant brands and honestly I agree with everything she wrote!! :) My favorite fondant from her list is Fondx! You can find the article HERE. Something to note though is shipping costs. Unless you have a local supplier of your favorite fondant, shipping costs can add a lot to the overall costs. Another reason I make my own!! LOL!! :) BUT, here are a few things I want to mention/add to what Lesley wrote about commercial fondant…
The best: I haven’t tried Carma Massa Ticino Tropic but according to Lesley and several others I’ve chatted with who’ve tried it, it’s hands down THE best!! – and you get what you pay for because it’s SUPER spendy and hard to find. But, you use a TINY bit because you can roll it so thin, and if you have a business you can re-coupe your costs. It’s also amazing in humid/hot climates and the best for those environments. So, if you can, try it!! I have chosen not to try it because I KNOW I’ll love it and then my husband will have to re-configure the family budget to allow for me to buy it…and I might not get to buy any toilet paper that month!! haha!! So, I dream of it…but don’t buy it.
A new one by Pastry Portal: ifigourmet Rolled Fondant is a newer fondant on the market by Pastry Portal. They also have THE best chocolate…so, go check the Casa Luker chocolate out too if you head over there. The ifigourmet fondant is SO easy to use and is very very cost effective!! One 10lb bucket is less than $30 making it similarly priced to Fondx. It has a wonderful flavor, nice and elastic, easy to roll out and goes on beautiful!! It only comes in white, so that’s the only bummer…you have to mix your own color. BUT, for the price, it’s amazing! It has a similar feel to Liz’s fondant because it’s slightly less sticky than standard marshmallow and obviously has a much longer shelf life than any homemade fondant. So it’s my other top commercial brand to buy for those reason…cost and use! If I’m not making fondant myself, I’m using this brand or the Fondx that Lesley compares in her article.
*Edited (10/22/2014) to add: Pastry Portal got wind I put this post up on their fondant and has offered 20% off today through the weekend for anyone who wants to try it!! SO COOL!!! So, follow the link above to their site, add the fondant to your shopping cart and at check out, type in “JESSICAKES20” into the discount area. So fun!! It’ll help offset some shipping costs that way!!
An Australian favorite: Bakels Pettinice. This is a hard to find fondant because it’s not readily available everywhere, but it’s a great fondant and I’ve enjoyed working with it on two occasions. One thing I noticed is how it’s not very sensitive to humidity…at least compared to my marshmallow fondant. It was really easy to work with and didn’t give me a lot of condensation grief. I also liked the flavor and texture. The texture was different than the marshmallow…it almost had a “chalk” like hollow feel to it when I kneaded it…it was very “lightweight”. I can’t describe it very well…but it wasn’t sticky at all and went on so smoothly to the cake.
Before I ran into the ifigourmet fondant, the Bakels was my favorite…but again, expensive and hard to find. Now that I have the ifigourmet, I don’t use it anymore…but it’s worthy of a mention because I DID love working with it!! – especially compared to Satin Ice and Fondarific which I’ve found are the hardest to work with.
A Few Videos:
Before I close up, I want to mention a couple fabulous little videos over on youtube where Ann with “How To Cook That” compares fondant brands, which are better for lettering and also shows a “Sag Test” for various kinds of fondant. Click HERE for the comparison, click HERE for the lettering and click HERE for the sag test.
I hope that makes things clear as mud for ya!!! Hehe!! There are a lot of choices, but I would love to encourage you to try homemade fondant. It has some huge advantages and tastes INCREDIBLE compared to most all the commercial brands I’ve tried. Also, you can flavor homemade fondant any way you’d like so it can blend with any cake flavor you’re making.
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