Fondant and modeling chocolate are among the most popular materials for cake decoration. Although they taste and look different, many people don’t know which one to use on a cake.
Each of these materials has certain properties that make it perfect for specific decorations. So, you’re probably wondering, what are the differences between fondant and modeling chocolate? And which one should you use for your cake decoration?
Look no further for the answers!
In today’s article, we have a detailed fondant vs. modeling chocolate comparison that’ll help you make stunning cakes!
Fondant is a type of icing that’s mainly used for cake decoration. Typically, it’s made of sugar, corn syrup, and water. Also, fondant that’s used for sculpting and shaping usually contains food-grade glycerin or gelatin.
Typically, we roll the fondant into thin sheets. Then, we drape it over the cake to give it a smooth finish. Not only that, but we can also use this icing to make small figurines and all sorts of three-dimensional decorations. Overall, it’s highly versatile and easy to use.
Yes, fondant is completely edible. After all, it’s made up of just sugar, water, syrup, and in some cases, food-grade grade gelatin.
While you might notice some people removing the fondant layer or sculptures from cakes before eating them, that doesn’t mean they aren’t edible. Some people simply don’t like the texture or the highly sweet taste of fondant.
Poured fondant is a variant of normal fondant that’s poured over bakeries to give them a smooth appearance. Typically, it contains more liquid than traditional fondant to help thin it out.
Although it’s easy to apply, it takes significantly longer to dry. Until it’s completely dry, you need to be careful not to touch it to prevent smudging.
To make fondant, you’ll need food-grade glycerin, gelatin, corn syrup, confectioners sugar, shortening, vanilla extract, and water.
Here’s an easy fondant recipe that you can make at home:
- Mix the gelatin with cold water.
- Then, heat the mixture until it’s completely dissolved.
- After that, add the sugar and glycerin.
- Next, add the shortening and turn off the heat.
- Stir in the vanilla and let the mixture cool.
- Grab a large bowl and add the sugar.
- Create a well in the center and pour the gelatin mixture using a wooden spoon.
- Stir and mix in a small amount of sugar until the mixture is no longer sticky.
- Finally, knead until the mixture is smooth and soft. If it’s too stiff, add a small amount of water.
Modeling chocolate is easy to make. We prepare it by melting chocolate and mixing it with corn simple syrup or corn syrup. After that, we knead the chocolate until it reaches a pliable yet stiff consistency.
Overall, modeling chocolate has a clay-like consistency and texture. Moreover, you can make it from dark, white, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate.
Cake bakers mainly use modeling chocolate for decoration purposes. That’s because it allows you to create a wide variety of shapes and decorations that you can’t easily make with other edible materials.
You can easily turn any type of chocolate into modeling chocolate that you can use to decorate cakes, cookies, or cupcakes. All you’ll need is corn syrup and your favorite type of chocolate.
Here’s how to make modeling chocolate:
- Add your chocolate to a double boiler or in a big bowl and microwave it.
- Make sure that the chocolate is completely melted. Then, stir the chocolate and allow it to cool to around 90 °F.
- After that, you need to add the corn syrup. For milk and wild chocolate, add ⅓ cup of corn syrup, while for dark chocolate, add ½ cup.
- Next, stir the mixture thoroughly.
- Pour the mixture on a clean, cold surface and knead it. You can add small amounts of corn syrup until the chocolate is soft and pliable.
- Let the chocolate rest for around 15 minutes before using it.
Fondant and modeling chocolate are popular materials that we use to decorate cakes. Let’s check out the main differences between the two materials.
You’ve probably seen fondant-covered cakes at a birthday or on baking shows.
Mainly, fondant adds a smooth appearance to whatever it’s poured on. So, we use it to cover cakes and add a clean finish to them.
Additionally, we can make figurines out of fondant. Generally, it allows you to personalize cakes the way you want them.
Alternatively, modeling chocolate is mainly used as sculpting material. That’s because when it dries, it becomes harder than fondant.
Overall, modeling chocolate figurines can hold their shape for longer periods.
The texture of fondant is smooth, but the consistency mainly depends on the ingredients. Gelatin-containing fondant tends to be more elastic and flexible, which makes it easier to work with.
However, it’s hard to roll fondant into thin layers without tearing. Additionally, it tends to dry out when exposed to dry air for long periods.
In some cases, you might see cracks in the dry fondant layer.
On the other hand, modeling chocolate doesn’t usually become dry or cracked. It has a smooth, clay-like texture. That allows you to mold it in different shapes or simply drape it over the cake.
Fondant requires a good storage environment to last long. A fondant batch can last around 2 weeks if stored properly.
Ideally, you don’t want to keep your fondant exposed to air for long periods. Air dries the fondant out and makes it harder to work with.
For that reason, it’s essential to wrap your fondant in plastic wrap or a cling film. After that, put it in a sealed zip bag or an airtight container.
The less air in the package, the longer your fondant will stay fresh. We recommend adding a sticker on each bag with the date you prepared it.
Additionally, you want to keep your fondant away from direct sunlight. That’s because it can cause the colors of the fondant to fade and become paler.
When it comes to modeling chocolate, it’s far more stable than fondant. Most commercial modeling chocolates have a shelf life of around one year.
To store modeling chocolate, it’s best to wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in a sealed zip bag or an airtight container. When stored properly, it can last for months!
Your choice should be based on the type of cake and decoration you have in mind. Generally, fondant can make your cake look smooth and clean.
However, when adding fondant to your cake, you’ll need to apply a sticky layer, like buttercream. That’s because fondant doesn’t easily stick to cakes.
You can use fondant to make simple figures while modeling chocolate is perfect to make detailed ones. Modeling chocolate allows you to shape sculptures in more refined details.
Additionally, when it dries, it becomes harder and preserves the shape of the figurines.
Unfortunately, in hot weather, the chocolate might become soft or melt. So, modeling chocolate isn’t the best option for an outdoor party in scorching weather.
Fondant, on the other hand, is more resilient against heat. What’s more, fondant can be easier to work with than modeling chocolate.
Unfortunately, fondant has a very different texture and consistency than modeling chocolate. So, if a certain recipe calls for fondant, don’t expect modeling chocolate to work the same way.
Overall, modeling chocolate is an excellent material for bakery decorations.
Adding corn syrup right after the chocolate melts can cause this issue. That’s because the chocolate tends to be extremely hot.
Ideally, you want to let the chocolate cool to around 90 °F before adding the corn syrup.
Remember that you need to stir the chocolate while it cools to prevent it from hardening.
No. Modeling chocolate tastes different from fondant. It has a more complex flavor.
So, what are the differences between fondant and modeling chocolate?
Fondant is a cake icing that we make from sugar, water, and corn syrup. In some cases, we also use food-grade glycerin or gelatin.
On the other hand, we make modeling chocolate by melting any kind of chocolate and combining it with simple syrup or corn syrup.
Overall, we use fondant to give the cake a smooth finish and make a variety of figures, while we mainly use modeling chocolate for decorations.
When it comes to storage and shelf life, modeling chocolate is more stable than fondant. It can last for around a year when properly stored, while fondant lasts only around two weeks.
We hope our fondant vs. modeling chocolate comparison will help you make the best party cake!
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.