A frequently asked question that I get from brides-to-be, is whether or not to use fondant for their wedding cake. Trends come and go and recently Fondant has developed a negative stigma. I feel the main reason for this comes from a combination of first-time-users mixed with an inferior product from craft stores. Of course, poor quality product in the wrong hands could be a disaster for any cake. Now, of course I have no issue when an aunt makes a cake at home for her niece and wants to experiment with fondant. It’s wonderful when someone tries something new to make something fun for their family. It’s when inexperience enters the professional cake world and we end up being served an expensive, bad piece of wedding cake covered in a thick, crusty layer of fondant. And don’t even get me started on the fondant abuse that happens on reality TV shows. It’s no wonder people are turned off by it. I would like to offer my point of view and share my experience with fondant.
My first attempts at using fondant were definitely not my finest work, you don’t pick it up and magically become a fondant genius. Like anything it’s takes a lot of practice and understanding of the product. I believe that trial and error is necessary for an artist to grow and get better at something. After working with it for about 12 years, I feel really confident in our abilities. I’ve learned that not overworking it and rolling it thinner is better. Being aware of the taste is also very important. Local craft and grocery store fondants are fine for beginners, but I find them to have an unpleasant plastic-like aromatic and taste. I have made homemade fondant, that has a much better flavor but it really doesn’t decorate as smoothly. The sole purpose for fondant is for aesthetics, so it really has to have the right texture. I found a really nice product from a Swiss company that makes a very smooth, pleasant tasting, professional-grade fondant. It tastes a little bit like vanilla marshmallows with the texture of marzipan.
Do you need fondant on your cake? Certainly not. We use a Swiss meringue -style buttercream to decorate most of our cakes, it is very smooth and looks beautiful. You need fondant when the design starts getting more artistic with airbrushing, hand painting, sugar flowers, edible ribbon and different shapes. For example.........
The cake above has a quilting indentation and is airbrushed with a pearl shimmer-luster. This is a perfect example of when art dictates the necessity of fondant. I remember when I was planning this cake with the bride, and she really wanted this look, but was really worried that the cake wouldn’t taste as good with fondant. As I said before, we have a nice tasting product, and it’s very important to remember that the fondant is just on the outside of the cake. A lot of people don’t eat the rind of Brie, but that doesn’t stop them from eating the delicious cheese. ( btw, I eat the rind, it’s awesome)
When the cake is decorated with fondant, there is always a layer of buttercream on the outside of the cake before a thin layer of fondant is applied. The inside is still our delicious, moist cake, so the fondant doesn’t really get in the way of your guests enjoying your cake. I don’t think that you should have to choose between flavor and look, BOTH should be amazing. On a side note, you’d be surprised how many people really like fondant, my brother-in-law loves it. He eats everyone else’s fondant off their cake at the table, so to each his own.
Marbled fondant and edible ribbon is another example of something that frosting just can’t do. I really love it, because there are so many fun colors and shapes that you can create.
Of course fondant can always be a applied in different ways, like completely covering your cake in ombré rosettes. This cake was just shorter than me , about 5 feet tall and took Phay & I about 70 hours to make all those flowers. Was it over the top? maybe, but that’s your freedom with wedding cakes, do what you want. It was beautiful and unique... I really loved making this cake.
So... to fondant....or not to fondant, that is the question. It’s really up to you and what your design choice is. But don’t feel that you can’t get fondant because a friend told you that they know someone who said it was terrible one time. We use it responsibly and after working with probably thousands of pounds of the stuff, we can tell you that’s it’s not the worst thing to happen to your wedding cake. It gives you so many more options to make your dream cake. So, please don’t limit yourself and have fun with the whole experience.....let them eat fondant covered cake.
- Kate Repko co-owner Sugar Bake Shoppe
Pumpkin pie, apple caramel pie, pumpkin roll with cream cheese frosting...... Do you miss it? Well, this year you won’t have to.
We have a lot of experience, making all sorts of allergy-sensitive desserts, some of which comes from personal experience. Most people know from our previous blog that I am allergic to flour, my mother is also gluten sensitive. So after 15 years of perfecting our flour-full recipes, we had to find a gluten free flour that worked well without sacrificing taste or texture. Of course we still make fabulous pastries with regular flour, but it was important for us to have really tasty gluten free options for our clients.
After a lot of trial and error, we found a great flour product that works really well with most of our recipes and is certified gluten free, and safe for celiacs. It also happens to be safe for people with peanut allergies. The pie crust is flakey, crisp and buttery. The only down side is that is doesn’t hold intricate shape, so no fancy design, but it looks nice and it has all the flavor and texture that you would expect from a quality pie crust. Of course most pie fillings are gluten free, so we have a wide selection to offer.
Our gluten free cake recipes probably impress people the most, especially our chiffon cake recipe which doesn’t require a lot of flour to begin with. This cake comes out so fluffy and moist with an excellent crumb. Our gluten free , pumpkin chiffon roll with cream cheese frosting is light, creamy and just what you’ve been craving. Honestly, when I make the gluten free chiffon cake for my family, they don’t believe me that it’s gluten free. So for holidays and especially birthdays, there’s no reason why you should have to be with out cake.
Other gluten free items that we recommend are cookies, brownies, cake pops, whoppie pies, shortbread bars, tarts....... and many more options.
Of course let’s not forget all the awesome desserts that are naturally gluten free because they contain no flour to begin with... French macarons, flourless chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, rice crispy treats, pastry cream with fruit, crustless cheesecake, rice pudding......
So now your mouth is watering but you are skeptical about price, I don’t blame you. I went into a bakery once and paid $7 for a small, disappointing, gluten free cupcake. A lot of bakers will really up charge the gluten free items assuming that we are desperate and will pay anything. I don’t agree that we should be financially taken advantage of just because of our allergies and intolerances.
Yes of course gluten free flour does cost more, but it’s not made out of diamonds. We do add a small up- charge to gluten free desserts, but maybe a few dollars for a pie and $.50 more per cupcake, certainly not 3 times the cost.
See the menu below and contact us if you are interested in having any gluten free desserts this thanksgiving. Even if it’s not for you, a lot of gluten free people would be so grateful to receive as a gift. Believe me I know from first hand experience, sometimes we are starved to just to be a part of everyone sharing dessert.
Now we don’t have to be left out, and we won’t be disappointed!,
- Kate Repko co-owner Sugar Bake Shoppe
Sugar Bake Shoppe Thanksgiving Desserts
(for gluten free dessert add $3, for cookies $.25 each)
9” Classic Pumpkin Pie………………………………$23
9” Caramel Apple Lattice Pie…………………$25
9” Cranberry Apple Crumble Pie……………………$24
9” Key Lime Pie………………………………………$22
Hand Decorated Sugar Cookies- colorful turkeys or pumpkins, bagged………………………$3 each
(Minimum of 6 per each kind)
Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Frosting………$20
Order by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call (508) 812-8748- Kate
-All orders must be in by
Sunday -November 18th and paid in full . We take cash, check or credit cards.
Pick up day is Wednesday the 21st from 12-3 pm
Located at 124 Aquidneck Ave Middletown - inside Ice Queens
* no refunds if not picked up