Whether browsing the internet or looking over a bakery shop, you’ve likely seen cakes with intricate designs and even hyper-realistic options.
Bakers use fondant to create these detailed pieces since it’s highly versatile and easy to mold, like play dough.
If you’re someone with dietary restrictions, you’re likely wondering if the icing is safe to eat. Luckily, fondant contains few ingredients and is highly accommodative to most diets.
It can be vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free. Stick around to learn more about fondant and its dietary restrictions.
Fondant is a cake icing usually used to decorate cakes. It contains sugar, corn syrup, and water. Some recipes also add shortening or vegetable fat.
It’s called gum and sugar paste if you add gelatin or glycerin to firm up the mixture. In most cases, bakers usually add a few drops of food coloring to create their desired design.
Fondant is non-dairy. It doesn’t contain animal products, making it an ideal vegan alternative. If you’re lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy, fondant is safe to consume.
Aside from that, be aware of some recipes that add milk to the mixture.
- Mix five teaspoons of gelatin powder and three tablespoons of water until it dissolves.
- Incorporate half a cup of liquid glucose until dissolved.
- Leave the mixture to cool.
- Double-sift six cups of confectioner’s sugar in a bowl.
- Create a well in the middle of the sugar and gradually add your gelatin mixture.
- Stir with a wooden spoon.
- Dust your work surface with confectioner’s sugar and pour the mixture out.
- Knead until combined.
- Wrap it with plastic and seal it for storage to avoid cracking.
Fondant is gluten-free. Nevertheless, if you get store-bought fondant, it may not always be gluten-free. For this reason, you’ll want to check the ingredients and labels.
- Sift four cups of confectioner’s sugar.
- Add one tablespoon of gelatin to ¼ cup of cool water in a heat-safe bowl.
- Leave it for two minutes.
- Simmer a pot with half-inch water and place the gelatin bowl on top.
- Turn the heat off once the gelatin melts.
- Mix half a cup of white corn syrup, half a teaspoon of flavoring, and one tablespoon of glycerin.
- Add ¼ of cold water.
- Incorporate half the sifted sugar into your liquid mixture with a wooden spoon.
- Keep adding half a cup of the sifted sugar until the solution stiffens.
- Dust your work area with confectioner’s sugar and place the mixture in it.
- Knead it with hands covered in shortening until it reaches the right consistency.
- Wrap it in plastic for storage.
Homemade fondant doesn’t contain nuts. Nonetheless, be wary of the “may contain nuts” warning if you purchase it.
We suggest finding brands that clearly label their products as “nut-free,” Otherwise, you can stick to homemade recipes.
In some recipes, fondant is not vegan-friendly. It might contain gelatin, which is extracted from animal bones.
You can use recipes that use vegan-based gelatin alternatives like agar-agar instead. Alternatively, you can skip the mixing and find vegan options commercially sold.
- Sift four cups of powdered sugar into a bowl.
- Mix ¾ a teaspoon of agar agar powder in a saucepan with water.
- Allow the mixture to soak for about ten minutes before placing it on low heat.
- Stir the solution, making sure it dissolves. If it seems to dry out, gradually add water.
- After ten minutes of mixing, remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Pour in ¼ cup of glucose or light corn syrup.
- Add one tablespoon of vegetable shortening.
- Stir in ½ tablespoon of vegetable-based glycerin and one teaspoon of vanilla extract until everything dissolves.
- Divide the previously sifted powder into two bowls.
- Create a well in one bowl and add the agar solution.
- Mix the solution with the powder using a spatula and gradually add sugar from the other bowl.
- Start kneading the mixture if you can’t stir it anymore. After finishing all the sugar, you should have a fondant-like consistency.
- Form it into a ball and wrap it in plastic for storage.
As a topping loaded with sugar, fondant is often unhealthy. Its excessive added sugars can cause multiple health concerns, such as tooth decay, diabetes, and cardiovascular illnesses.
A 100-gram piece of fondant contains about 76% to 88.9% sugar. You haven’t even considered the sugar in the cake layer beneath yet.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), a healthy woman and man should intake no more than 24 and 36 grams of sugar.
Besides the excess sugar, fondant contains preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors. The prior can cause hyperactivity in children and lower energy levels.
Although the icing isn’t nutritionally the best option to consume, moderation is key. You can eat a slice of cake or cupcake with fondant every once in a while.
A 100-gram fondant piece accounts for:
- 398 calories
- 81 grams of carbs
- 76 grams of sugar
- 7.3 grams of fat
- Glycemic Index: 43
- Glycemic Load: 11
Overall, fondant primarily consists of carbs, fats, and sugars. To put things into perspective, you’d need to jog for over an hour to burn off the fondant calories.
Despite the multiple health problems listed from eating fondant, it’s a versatile topping.
You can change the ingredients, and it’ll still yield a similar texture and effect to regular fondant without the extra issues.
For instance, you can make fondant by mixing unsalted butter, powdered sugar, and milk. It’ll hold fewer harmful ingredients compared to the commercially sold options.
That said, fondant is also easily adjustable. You can make it vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free to accommodate multiple dietary restrictions.
One of fondant’s main cons is its high sugar content. Fortunately, you can find sugar-free recipes as well.
Fondant is an easy ingredient to work with since you can create several artistic creations with it. Despite its versatility, it’s not the best nutritionally and taste-wise.
Food coloring in fondant is a prime ingredient to make the baker’s work appear more vivid. While the bright colors offer a gorgeous layout, they’re not the best to digest.
Consuming too much food coloring can cause hypersensitivity reactions. The ingredients are also carcinogenic.
Ingredients aside, fondant doesn’t usually have an appealing texture. It feels like stiff dough. For many, the chewy consistency doesn’t sit well.
Interestingly, the internet didn’t spare the topping in platforms like Reddit. There’s a forum devoted to those who dislike the texture.
It’s called /r/FondantHate and has over 112,000 members. Several Redditors compare the icing’s consistency with play dough and plastic.
Yes, fondant icing is halal as long as the gelatin used doesn’t contain pork. You can also swap the gelatin for plant-based options like agar-agar.
With the correct storage, it can stay safe for about a couple of weeks at room temperature. As a rule of thumb, if it crusts, then it’s likely non-usable.
Coating it with shortening may help alleviate this issue.
There are over four broad types of fondant, namely, rolled, sculpting, gum paste, and pour choices.
Fondant is adaptable to several dietary restrictions, whether you’re gluten, lactose, or nut intolerant.
You can also consume the cake topping if you’re vegan if you swap the gelatin ingredient with a plant-based option.
That said, fondant offers bakers an easier decorative method than dealing with buttercream or frosting.
Nevertheless, the topping option isn’t healthy due to its high sugar and preservative volume. People often have a distaste for the icing’s consistency as well.
Besides that, practicing moderation is your best bet when consuming fondant.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.