I became slightly obsessed with fondant while reporting today's story on wedding cakes, because fondant continues to be the look couples want for their cake, and because fondant is what you see all those reality TV cake designers handling.
"Handling" seems to be the right word, doesn't it? Fondant has to be kneaded, stretched, pulled, tugged, crimped and primped into submission. Granted, it affords cake designers the ability to create some pretty amazing cakes that look like something out of a Peter Jackson film. (The cake below, it should be said, was a Cakegirls creation, done for their fourth Food Network Challenge, which they won - ka-ching!)
But I know I'm not the only one who gets a little skeezed watching Duff Goldman "handle" fondant a million times over. Not one of the pastry chefs I talked to said they liked fondant; it seemed more like a necessary evil they all understand they must work with, though they also promised that the fancy imported stuff they use really does taste good -- or at least less bad than other versions.
Goldman, it appears, shares their sentiment. In a bit from Food Network Magazine, Goldman says he and his crew don't make their own fondant as it's too hard on the mixer, and fondant is "basically pure sugar."
"We tend to think of fondant as the canvas that we decorate, but it also acts as an airtight seal that keeps the cake inside fresh and moist. When it comes time to eat the cake, you can peel the fondant off like you would an orange peel."
Right -- just don't let the happy couple see you doing that. And don't ask them how much that cake costs.