Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Gumpaste and Fondant

Fondant Icing Versus Gum Paste

It’s a Piece of Cake…for the Experts

Fondant Rose

Fondant Rose

When people say “it’s a piece of cake” to describe a job’s level of ease, it can seem a cruel joke to the novice baker. Focused on sheer basics—such as flavor, taste, and a nice, moist texture—the inexperienced baker doesn’t necessarily have the luxury of concerning themselves with mere appearances. Sure, he may want to make certain it stands up straight and at least resembles a cake, but beyond that, the rest is left to the experts.

Functioning as a cognitive bias, research indicates an alluring food presentation creates expectations that influence overall perception of quality and taste. We know we can be persuaded to purchase a cake based upon the fact that it looks utterly delicious. So if an expert baker has already incorporated their understandings of good-flavor basics—odds are, we’ll be back for more cake.

Sketch Ahead
An expert baker knows aesthetics are just as important as flavor—luckily, all it takes is a little practice and most anyone can become one. Before decorating a cake, first identify the scale and size of the decorations you wish to display. Do you want large, eye-popping colors and visuals? Or do you want numerous, beautifully detailed formations that are tiny and delicate? Perhaps you want both.

It is helpful to first sketch out a visual representation of your cake—as each type of icing and its corresponding tools create very different effects. So the benefit to designing a cake ahead of time lies in knowing which materials you will need in order to achieve various desired appearances.

The Benefits of Using Fondant
Most commonly described a dough-like icing—the first benefit of using fondant is its overall consistency. Flexible and moldable, fondant is comparable to putty in that it can be rolled out and onto cakes to produce a polished and professional look. The advantage of completely covering a baked good with just one smooth layer of icing is in its beautiful results—a most uniform finish that seems so unreal that it is virtually cartoon-like.

The simplest of ingredients—sugar, water, gelatin and food-grade glycerin— the second benefit of using fondant is in its flavor. While some icings can taste bland, such as (to be discussed later) gum paste, fondant is delicious and available in practically every flavor. Moreover, the ingredients are simple enough a baker can make fondant himself, or purchase pre-made mixes—vouched for by many cake-making professionals.

Although it looks incredible, and many people assume that due to its perfect smoothness and evenness it must be difficult to work with and mold, a second benefit to using fondant—believe it or not—is it’s actually very easy to use. In fact, applying fondant is far simpler than working with basic buttercreams. And once a cake is covered, additional icing can be easily piped onto the fondant, or the fondant itself can be stamped, quilted, and/or painted. Offered in a variety of colors—best of all, white fondant can be sprayed or tinted absolutely any and every shade imaginable.

The Benefits of Using Gum Paste

Gumpaste Flowers

Gumpaste Flowers

The primary benefit of using gum paste is that it is the perfect material for creating numerous, intricate decorations. While the ingredient, gelatin, allows fondant to remain soft and bendable when dry, gum paste is made with egg whites, confectioners’ sugar, and shortening, which results in dried icing that is stiff and solid. Like tiny, clay sculptures or figurines—when crafting ornate, fragile pieces, an expert baker wants an icing that can endure humidity and gravity.

While fondant is thick and meant to completely and smoothly cover an entire cake, gum paste can be rolled into exceptionally thin slivers and pieces—the second advantage to its use. Ideal material for delicate tasks, a thin, fine icing that dries hard and inflexible, gum paste is perfect for tricky, sophisticated ornaments such as flowers and people.

The third benefit of using gum paste is its ceramic semblance that gives flowers and other ornaments a nearly life-like, elaborate look. As both fondant and gum paste icings appear porcelain once dry, when gum paste figurines are fashioned on top of fondant, the two blend smoothly—the beginning of gum paste and the end of fondant visually indistinguishable.

But There’s a Catch
Fondant is sweet, enjoyable, and can be made or purchased in practically every flavor from A to Z or better yet, from Almond to Zucchini bread. So where fondant is full of flavor and available in almost an endless array of options, gum paste, on the other hand, has essentially one flavor—flavorless. One-hundred-percent safe and edible, those beautiful, gum paste icing ornaments that look so tempting and tasty, actually just taste bland.

Unfortunately, the texture of gum paste doesn’t fare much better. A consistency provided by the ingredients, gelatin and food-grade glycerin, fondant is soft, indulgent and moist. But because gum paste is used for decorations whose statures cannot be compromised, gum paste icing is dry, chalky, and can even seem stale.

Two Icings, Two Rules
Be it cakes, cupcakes or cookies, there are two rules that expert bakers follow when using these two very different icings. Rule number one—as it is made exactly for completely and smoothly covering the entirety of a baked good, expert bakers use fondant liberally. And rule number two—when it comes to gum paste—experts use it sparingly, strictly for small aesthetic decorations.


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References :


[0]Oleson, Jessie Moore. Modeling Chocolate vs Fondant vs Gum Paste. Craftsy. Craftsy and Sympoz Inc., 2016. Web. 7 June 7, 2016.

[1]Fondant-vs-gum-paste. Pink Little Cake. The Frilly Coconut, 19 Jan. 2011. Web. 7 June 2016.

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