Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Road Test: Coloured Fondant
It wasn’t such a long time ago when the only colours cake decorating fondant came in were white and ivory. Then Cake Art came on the scene and introduced vibrant red, brilliant green and black fondant.
In the past couple of years two new players have entered the market – Satin Ice and Bakel’s Pettinice, and I think it’s high time we took a look at coloured fondant and how it has performed in the jobs I’ve completed over the past year.
I first bought Cake Art’s red fondant when I thought I would decorate a Christmas cake with all red instead of traditional white. I chickened out at the last minute, not confident I could pull it in the dead heat of summer. When I finally got around to using the 1 kilo roll of red fondant, I noticed it was very wet and somewhat grainy. My supplier (Hollywood Cake Decoration) told me it was possible to add up to one third white fondant to Cake Art’s intense red fondant, and it would still have the same deep colour. I didn’t need to expand the bulk so I didn’t try it, but I’ve since tested this idea and found it to be true.
About two years ago I began to read about Satin Ice pre-coloured fondant on various American cake decorating websites. I was excited by the range of colours Satin Ice was offering. The next thing I knew, Robert’s Confectionary in Australia was offering Satin Ice and bringing out specialists from America to help us learn how to make our fondant go further. I bought a one kilo bucket of yellow Satin Ice, intending to make a cake in the shape of a wedge of Swiss cheese for a friend. But she changed her mind at the last minute and asked for a dessert cake instead.
Last winter when I was working in the markets and shopping at Hollywood every week, I was excited to find my favourite fondant, Bakel’s Pettinice, has introduced coloured fondant. They included blue, black, red, pink, green, yellow and purple in their coloured range, all in handy 750g packs. And then there was still the trusty 7kg bucket of white or ivory still available for big jobs.
Over the past year I’ve made lots of different big cakes and I’ve used these coloured fondants to save me time and elbow grease when multiple colours were needed. Here’s my basic low down on the three different brands offering coloured fondant:
Colour: All have a great colour range, including Cake Art, who were clearly threatened by the entrance of Satin Ice into the Australian market. But I’ve found if you have a primary colour and a load of white fondant you can basically create any colour you like. The hardest colour to make is purple – mixing red and blue to get purple results in a dark and dirty purple. Cake Art offers several tones of mauve and purple, so if you need delicate colour, it’s probably best to go for their product.
The Bakel’s Pettinice colours are INTENSE. If you want to create light anything, you only need to add a little pinch of coloured fondant to white to get a pretty pastel.
Texture: All these coloured fondants seem wetter than normal white fondant. In summer they all need a bit of corn flour added to dry them out and prevent them from turning to tacky paste. But be careful not too add too much – it will create cracks and scars when you bend the fondant over the corners of your cake.
The Pettinice and Satin Ice textures are comparable – smooth to work with and easy to give a final polish to, but the Satin Ice seems to stay tacky for a lot longer. Cake Art seems to be grainy, and there is nothing I’ve been able to do to change this other than work corn flour into it. Because of this I never use Cake Art to cover a big cake.
Flavour: I’ll be straight with you. Cake Art tastes yuk. Satin Ice is supposed to be vanilla flavoured but tastes like medicine in my opinion. The hands down winner in the flavour department for me is Bakel’s Pettinice.
So there you go – I hope my insights help you know which coloured fondant to use when and how to handle them to get the best results. I’ll make no bones about it – I favour Bakel’s Pettinice above all others. Happy cake decorating!