So it's your birthday, huh? That's awesome! You have a lot to look forward to. There's probably a party, presents, and a tasty treat in your near future.
Cakes, while delicious, can also be beautiful works of art. If you've ever seen a fancy wedding cake or any of the specialty cakes made on television shows, you know that some cakes look too good to eat. Have you ever WONDERed how they can get those cakes to look so perfect?
One of the secrets to specialty cake decorating is a special substance called fondant. Depending upon where you live, the word “fondant" can have different meanings. The meaning we're talking about today is the soft, flexible, and oh-so-edible substance used to decorate cakes and other desserts.
There are two main types of this kind of fondant: poured and rolled. Poured fondant is a sweet paste usually used as an icing or filling for cakes and other pastries. Poured fondant is made mainly of sugar, water and corn syrup.
Rolled fondant, on the other hand, is more like sweet dough. Like poured fondant, rolled fondant is made with sugar, water and corn syrup. To make a pliable dough, gelatin and/or glycerine is added. Instead of being poured, rolled fondant is rolled out into sheets that can be colored and used to decorate cakes.
Fondant is made by supersaturating water with sucrose (sugar). At room temperature, water can only hold so much sugar. When heated to its boiling point, however, water can hold over twice as much sugar.
The best fondant is made by boiling water and sugar together until it forms a soft ball. Cream of tartar is sometimes added for extra stability. Once it's ready, you can then thin it out more with corn syrup to produce poured fondant or roll into sheets to produce rolled fondant.
Fondant is very pliable. It can be kneaded and molded into all sorts of shapes. It can also be colored with various dyes. These features make it ideal for decorating cakes. Many cake artists drape sheets of rolled fondant over their basic cakes to cover them before decorating with finishing touches.