Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fondant or Almond Paste?
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Over the last who knows how many years, we've been talking about and using fondant to decorate all these beautiful and unique cakes.  But how many times have you also heard how distasteful and unappetizing fondant is?  Most people, if you ask them, hate the taste of fondant.  And many of them peel it off to get to the icing and cake underneath.  Here's what some people say about fondant:
  • It's very sugary, and thick
  • Kind of chewy and different
  • Felt like I was biting into a piece of wax
  • Tasted somewhat like candy
  • Flattened firm marshmallows
  • Like a really sweet dough  

Fondant cake marzipan roses and trim
I think most people would agree that fondant, in the majority of cases, looks beautiful but is not meant to be eaten.  So why not look to other alternatives?  I found
one!  I'm sure some of you have heard of it, but many have not.  It's called Almond Paste or Marzipan.

Marzipan is made from reducing almonds to a paste and blending it with confectioners sugar.  It is used for modeling figures, covering cakes and cookies, etc.  And best of all it has a nice flavor!  You can add your own flavoring and colors of your choice as well. 

The only drawback to using marzipan instead of fondant is you're not going to get the pure white color that fondant gives, unless you want to use some titanium dioxide, which is what they use to make milk and other food items white.  However, you still can use marzipan if you're doing an off-white or colored cake or other modeled decorations. 

Well, I hope this has given some of you an incentive to try something perhaps new to you.  Please comment below and let me know how your cakes turn out.  If you use marzipan already, I'd love to hear about your experience as well as some other ideas for it's use.

Here's one recipe, taken from Make Your Cakes

ALMOND PASTE FOR MODELING

Ingredients

- ½ Kg of marzipan
- ¼ Kg of confectioner´s sugar


Procedure

Knead marzipan with sugar; the amount of sugar is approximately and depends on the quality of the marzipan. If the paste is too soft, add more sugar; if too stiff, add more marzipan without sugar. Once it´s needed, store in plastic bags, taking all air out and keep it in an airtight glass container. If desired, color paste with paste food coloring.

Secrets

- Since marzipan is a creamy color, it is impossible to obtain white paste.
- If marzipan is of poor quality, it is generally hard and oily.
- Once the model item is done, brush over it with egg white.
- To attach marzipan pieces together, use egg white or water.

Until next time....happy baking!

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