Fondant isn’t a new trend among cakes, obviously, but its use is starting to gain popularity as more choices of rolled fondant become available.
As such, consumers — and, in turn, supermarkets — are looking for uses that aren’t nearly as formal as they have been in years past.
“In the past, wedding cakes made up a large percentage of fondant cake orders,” says Tina Steichen, senior cake designer and manager for DecoPac, Inc. “Lately, customers are looking for smaller, everyday celebration cakes with an upscale look of fondant.”
What’s driving this trend? A couple things, Steichen says. First, bakeries — especially in-store bakeries at supermarkets, are continually looking for ways to separate themselves from their competition. A good way to do this is to offer unique, freshly designed cakes with an upscale look. Fondant is perfect for this initiative.
“One way is to begin offering fondant-covered cakes, not only for special order, but in the cake case,” Steichen says. “Stores are able to offer their customers something they can’t find anywhere else.”
Also, social media has had a big impact on the need for fondant. End consumers peruse Instagram, Pinterest and other apps, and see elaborate, one-of-a-kind cakes. When it comes time to purchase a cake of their own, their decisions are influenced by what they’ve seen online.
And with fondant suppliers offering multiple pre-mixed color and flavor options, bakeries can create these special desserts quicker than they’ve been able to in the past.
As with most things, fondant has its drawbacks. Covering a cake in fondant is costlier than buttercream and is trickier to use when decorating. But, Steichen say, there are some clear advantages.
“Because part of the appeal of fondant is the clean, smooth look it produces, fondant cakes usually need less piping and detail,” she says. “Plus, fondant cakes have a higher perception of value, giving an opportunity for a larger profit margin.”
While fondant for cakes has been around for decades, cake decorators like Anne Heap are now promoting some new ideas: fondant cookies and accents.
The owner of Pink Cake Box Custom Cakes in Denville, NJ, recommends using fondant on top of decorated cookies to make clean, colorful, eye-popping designs.
“One of the things I love so much about using fondant is that you are able to put your own stamp on it and make more money,” she says. “There are so many things you can do that will increase your profitability.”
Another useful trick is to use fondant to make cake toppers ahead of time, like a fondant bluebird that you can place on top of a decorated cake. You can also make custom flower-shaped cookie cutters so “you have something nobody else has.”
According to IDDBA’s What’s in Store 2017, fondant is playing a big role in style trends this year. First, in-store bakeries are looking for vibrant floral patterns and bold color drip, which can offer a decadent and sweet ‘wow’ factor.
Also trending are geo-mosaic fondant triangles, which can be used to create stunning wedding cake designs.
“Creating a bold, modern mosaic pattern really makes a statement on cake designs and is perfect for bold and ultra-modern brides,” IDDBA writes. “When strong, unexpected hues get all mixed together, it really creates unique look.”.