A LOOK AT DIFFERENT BRANDS OF FONDANT
Not all fondant is created equally. Lets face it, many of us have been to a party or wedding that was littered with pieces of cake that had been gutted out, leaving only a white shell. If you know what you are looking for, you do not have to sacrifice taste for the beauty and elegance of fondant.
Wilton Lets start with the most accessible brand of fondant: Wilton. For people starting out, or who do not live in an area where cake making supplies are rich in abundance, this is typically where they begin. You’ll find it at Walmart, Joann’s, Michaels, etc. Another reason for Wilton being the main choice for beginning cake makers, is that it is very easy to work with in comparison to other brands. It is very forgiving and the elasticity gives you more time to lay it on the cake before it starts to dry out.
It is wonderful to have fondant so available, but its really more decorative than tasty. This is NOT what bakeries use, but bakeries have the advantage of options and wholesale prices. What many people do not realize though, is that Wilton Fondant is very easily flavored and this can offset the boring, plastic taste. You can flavor it with the run-of-the-mill flavorings usually kept on hand such as vanilla, cherry, or (my personal favorite) almond. You can also use candy flavoring, which is much more potent so take baby steps with that one.
Pettinice. This is a professional brand that beats the Wilton fondant in a taste comparison, but that’s not saying much. This brand cracks a little more easily, and since cracks can look a lot like hair, it is not a flattering look. I have also heard a common complaint that after the initial sweetness, it has a chemical after-taste. You do not want people eating your cake and thinking of science labs. Both are great for man-kind but lets keep them separate, yes?
MMF. My sister, also a professional cake baker, began with this technique. MMF stands for Marshmallow Fondant. Appropriately named, seeing as the main component is marshmallow. Hands down, the tastiest fondant out there. How can you go wrong with marshmallows? It is also the least expensive…. by far. Now, before you think this option is too good to be true, let me warn you. It is HARD to work with. One of the least forgiving, it dries and elephants (what I call the wrinkling that happens since it so closely resembles that) before you’ve really had enough time to finish laying it on the cake. My sister caught the hang of it before eventually moving to a professional brand… I avoided it like the plague.
If you just need fondant for molding decorations, it is a fantastic option. But if you are a beginner, you might want to start with something easier like the Wilton. And even if you are good at using this fondant, it will never have the fine, less powdery texture and elasticity as the alternatives.
Satin Ice. This is the brand that I use. The flavor is excellent and has the marshmallow flavor of the MMF. It is harder to work with than the Wilton, but easier than the Pettinice and MMF. That’s my plug for the satin ice (I should really get paid for this advertising).
There are other professional brands out there, but accessibility can be difficult.
So, in a nutshell, there are pros and cons to many different brands. It all boils down to what you can work with. Make an educated guess and experiment. Or simply use what you can get your hands on. If you work equally well with multiple brands, choose the one that tastes the best… ie. less like plastic.