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The History of Fondant Cakes

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Fondant, invented in the 16th century, has long been renowned as a frosting for its versatility and pliability. Its texture lends itself well to shaping and molding. Fondant, unlike other frostings, can be stored for extended periods.

Fondant is preferred as a base frosting for elaborately decorated cakes, such as wedding cakes, because it provides a smooth foundation upon which to build. Today, bakers typically combine fondant frosting with piped frostings and other decorations, "gluing" fondant into the desired shapes with royal icing.


Originally, rosewater, sugar, lemon juice, egg white, and gum paste were used to make fondants. Fondant's pliability stems from its chemical composition; unlike other types of frosting, it is a sugar-water paste with no butter. Fondant is derived from the French word "fondre," which means "to melt." This term was most likely coined because fondant melts in the mouth.


Early fondants were popular as candies before being adapted into cake icing. Fondant icing did not become popular until the early twentieth century, possibly due to the prohibitively high cost of white sugar at the time.


Early Applications

Unlike modern fondant icings, early fondant was applied to cakes without chilling. Small cakes were instead dipped in warm fondant and allowed to be set. Flavourings were frequently added to fondant icing because it has such a robust and sugary taste. Chocolate, almond extract, and citric acid were among them. Some bakers would also mask the sugary flavour of fondant by incorporating marshmallows or other types of frosting. Small fondant-dipped cakes were occasionally used to embellish larger cakes.


The twentieth century

In the 1950s, rolled fondant icings emerged. Bakers worked the fondant until it reached a creamy colour and consistency rather than dipping cakes in warm fondant. They moved the fondant into smooth sheets and applied it to cakes after it had cooled. Only sturdier cakes, such as pound cake, can be used with fondant icing, as lighter cakes lack the structural integrity to withstand the weight of the fondant.


Coloured fondant icings, dusted with edible sparkling powder, stamped with designs, and cut into decorative shapes are all options for today's fondant icings. Some bakers prefer to mould fondant into figures and then paint details with dipping chocolate or coloured syrups.


Pop Culture Fondant Cakes

Fondant cakes are more popular than ever before, thanks to an increase in baking and cake-related television shows. Programs like "Cake Boss," "Ace of Cakes," and "The Martha Stewart Show" frequently feature intricate fondant cake designs.

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