What is a fondant ? A fondant is a sweet confection being used in baked pastries. The word, in French, means "melting", coming from the same root as 'foundry' in English.
There are 2 types of fondant, one is called Poured Fondant, which is commonly used as fillings in cakes and other pastries. The other type commonly used is the Rolled Fondant. The name itself suggests how it is being prepared to be used for baked pastries. In this article I will elaborate more on the rolled fondant type. This is the one I often use for my cakes and cupcakes.
Rolled fondant can be made in 2 ways. One method is by mixing confectioner's sugar to a hot mixture of glycerine and glucose. This is then folded carefully in order to come up with a dough. To get better pliability, some adds gum improver. Kneading is necessary in order to get the right consistency of the dough. The second method is by melting marshmallow in low heat or in microwave oven , after which,the melted marshmallows are poured on a confectioner's sugar and folded until kneading is possible. Since marshmallow already contains gum improver ingredients, there is no need to add one. In order to prevent drying which might result to cracking, shortening is being added.
Either of the 2 methods yields a play-dough- like material which can then be rolled-out and used to cover the cakes or can be shaped into any figure you may wish. .
I personally prefer to make fondant using the second method. Why? It's because, the second method is less sweet as compared to the first method and as per experience, I can produce better texture of fondant that won't break easily as I cover my cakes. The first method is also very sensitive to humidity. Fondant is generally sensitive to humidity but fondant from marshmallow tolerates humidity better than the one made with glucose.Aside from those mentioned, you can get better flavor for your fondant by using marshmallow due to the presence of vanillin in marshmallows.
However, if you hate the fuss of preparing your fondant from scratch, ready-made fondant are now available in baking shops. This is great if you are in a hurry for to prepare your fondant cake for an event, but of course, this option is more costly than preparing your own.