Fondant is one of those things that most people either love or hate. There was a time when I was a hater. The beautiful finish it provides cakes is undeniable, but too often the flavor and texture left me longing for a light and fluffy buttercream. I became a convert a few years ago when a St. Louis baker, shocked by my hatred for fondant, made me try her handmade confection. The flavor was pure, and the texture was light and creamy – the stark opposite of the artificial-tasting, rubbery store-bought paste to which I was accustomed.
There are two basic kinds of fondant: rolled and poured.
Rolled fondant is a derivative of sugar paste or marzipan, both of which date back to the 1500s. Rolled fondant first became popular in the 19th century for decorating special-occasion cakes and has seen a contemporary resurgence with popular television shows such as Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss, which viewers watch with excitement as fondant transforms mere cakes into elaborate masterpieces. Poured fondant is most commonly used in glazing petits fours, éclairs and doughnuts and is made by simply melting rolled fondant in a double boiler.
As more home cooks have wanted to try their hand at making fondant, a popular variation – marshmallow fondant – has surfaced. And though this version of fondant is quick and easy, the texture is far too soft and way too sweet for serious efforts. The homemade fondant recipe provided here takes only about 25 minutes to make. Once an initial batch of rolled fondant is made, it can be flavored, colored and used to decorate cakes or be melted down into a glaze. The leftovers, if there are any, can be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to three months.
Cassy Vires is the owner and chef of Home Wine Kitchen. She received her culinary training in Houston and has a knack for reimagining classic dishes.
Yield | 2½ lbs |
- ¼ cup cold water
- 1 Tbsp powdered gelatin
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 1 Tbsp food-grade glycerin*
- 3 lbs powdered sugar, sifted and divided
- butter or lard for greasing
| Preparation | Place the cold water in a small metal bowl. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the water and let sit for 5 minutes. Place the bowl over a double boiler and melt the gelatin mixture. Add the corn syrup, almond extract and glycerin and stir until well-blended.
Place 1 lb sifted powdered sugar into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. | 1 | Create a well in the center of the sugar and pour in the warm gelatin mixture. Mix on low speed until combined. It will be runny. Once combined, continue to add 1 lb of powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time, until the mixture is no longer wet or sticky, reserving remaining powdered sugar for rolling out the fondant. You may need more or less sugar based on humidity.
Dust your work surface with powdered sugar. Place the fondant on top and sprinkle with additional sugar. | 2 | Gently grease your hands with butter or lard and knead the ball, sprinkling with powdered sugar as needed to keep the fondant from sticking, until the mixture begins to form a solid ball and has lost all stickiness. It will be soft and very easy to handle. A pastry scraper is good to have on hand in case the ball sticks to the countertop.
Divide the fondant ball into 4 pieces, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until ready to use.
Take one of the pieces and place on a cutting board or countertop sprinkled with powdered sugar.
| 3 | Place 1 to 2 drops of food coloring on top of the fondant and then knead and stretch until the color is evenly incorporated. Add additional coloring as needed to achieve your desired color. Using a rolling pin, roll out the colored fondant to no more than ¼-inch thick. Using small cutters, cut out shapes, form small balls or cut into thin strips and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet until ready to use. Repeat with remaining fondant.
* Glycerin can be easily found at baking supply stores, health food stores or online. Be sure to purchase only food-grade glycerin, not “USP,” which is for external use only.
Yield | Approx. 90 cakes |
These classic petits fours are perfect for special occasions and gatherings. The classic genoise cake recipe is adapted from Jacques Torres, and the fondant recipe can be easily modified to change the flavoring and color for your own needs.
- 8 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2½ Tbsp honey
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 2 cups unbleached white pastry flour, sifted
- butter for greasing
- 2 cups raspberry jam
- 2 tsp almond liqueur
- 1¼ lbs uncolored rolled fondant, divided
- 2 to 3 drops food coloring
- 2 to 3 drops almond liqueur
| Preparation – Genoise cake | Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the eggs, yolks, sugar, honey and almond extract in a small metal mixing bowl. Whisk until just combined. Place this bowl over a double boiler and continue whisking until the mixture reaches 113°F. The mixture will triple in volume and become thick and velvety. Remove the bowl from heat and place the egg mixture into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until the mixture is cooled and increased in volume, about 10 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the sifted flour, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl. Do not overmix or the cake will come out too dense. Butter an 18x13-inch jelly roll pan and line with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until golden-brown. Let cool slightly before unmolding. Place on a wire rack to let cool to room temperature.
Place the cooled genoise cake on a cutting board. Using a bread knife, gently cut off the edges. Using a ruler, cut the cake into 1-inch squares. Place the squares on a rack over a sheet pan, leaving space in between them. Place the raspberry jam and almond liqueur in a small saucepan and heat until melted. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the glaze on the tops and sides of the small cakes. This keeps the crumbs from the cakes from getting into the glaze, so apply liberally and dust off crumbs when possible.
| Preparation – Poured Fondant | Place half the rolled fondant in a small metal bowl and place over a double boiler. Heat the fondant on low heat, stirring until it begins to melt. Add food coloring and almond liqueur and stir until the fondant is completely melted and smooth. Add more almond liqueur, if needed, to make the fondant thin and almost translucent. The temperature should not exceed 105°F. Keep warm until ready to use. Repeat process with remaining fondant, using a different coloring.
| Assembly | Keeping the poured fondant warm as you work with it, gently spoon the mixture over the cakes, using an offset spatula to cover the sides if needed. Allow the cakes to dry for about 10 minutes. Add an additional layer of poured fondant if desired or top with cut-out fondant decorations.