Monday, September 5, 2016

The Never Ending Fondant Comparison - Carma Massa Ticino


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Okay you guys…. Here is yet another fondant for my never ending fondant comparison.

This time it is Carma Massa Ticcino

I have read so many good things about Carma Massa Ticcino that I’m a little hesitant to say that I wasn’t that impressed with the fondant. It was easy to work with and tasted wonderful, but it had a few “issues” that made it less than perfect for me.

The biggest problem I had with the Carma was the way it reacted to any food dye that contained U.S. Certified Red #3 dye. I tried to color some Carma with AmeriColor Mauve #116, and I got a sickly brownish-green color instead of pink.


Next I tried Burgundy on the Carma and got purple instead of red wine.  At first I thought it might be a problem with the AmeriColor gels, but I also tried Wilton’s Burgundy and got the same purple result when mixed with the Carma fondant.


I contacted AmeriColor to find out what was going on and I was told that the very low pH of the Carma Massa was destroying the U.S. Certified Red #3 dye and leaving behind the other colors. The AmeriColor representative told be to add baking soda to the fondant which would raise the pH of the fondant and allow the reds in the dye to come through.

And you know what???    It worked!!

Below is a bit of Carma dyed with just AmeriColor Mauve #116 and another ball of Carma with #116 and a bunch of added baking soda. See how the one with the added baking soda actually looks pink. Weird the way chemistry works…



So enough about food dye and onto the rest of the review. In my original 7 fondant comparison I used 8 different criteria to judge and rank the various fondants.   After the first comparison of 7 I also did three other comparisons.  One with Via Roma Bakery fondant, one with Cake Craft fondant. and one with Dream fondant.

So here are the criteria for judging:



Cost ---- This Carma is expensive stuff.  At the time of writing I paid $95 (with free shipping) for a 15.4 lb tub.  Well actually it is not that expensive if you break it down to a cost per pound, what makes it so expensive is that you need to buy it 15lbs at a time.  Sadly I couldn't find it sold in smaller quantities.  Another problem with having to buy such a large amount is that the fondant only has a 1 year shelf life.  When my tub arrived it was already 6 months into its shelf life so I have to use 15 lbs in 6 months.  Thankfully I have 3 more large cakes to do by November so I should be able to use it all before it goes bad.

Packaging --- The Carma comes in a nice sturdy tub.  The top of the tub is sealed in a blue film, and the fondant is wrap in a heavy plastic bag.



Taste ----The Carma Massa Ticcino was actually very tasty. The only other fondant I had on hand was the Via Roma, and the Carma tasted much, much better than the Via Roma. So high marks for taste.

Texture ---- When you knead the Carma Massa it feels just slightly moist but not sticky. It is very, very soft and does not need to be microwaved or heated to loosen it up. It is amazingly easy to work with, but it does start to get tacky if you work with it too much.  

Rolling ---- The Carma rolled very easily, and it doesn't have much elasticity so it doesn't snap back on you.  But oh my the bubbles.  I found the Carma produced a lot of large air bubbles when rolling. I don't remember any other fondant doing this to the same degree.  And the bubbles were large – too large to pop. I had to crumple up the fondant and roll it out again. I also had a little bit of trouble pulling the rolled fondant off of The Mat without stretching it, but once I got an edge released it fell off The Mat without any problems.

Coverage ---- In my fondant comparisons I use the same amount of fondant (5 ounces) rolled to the same thickness (1/8") to see how far each brand would spread. At a little less than 10 inches this fondant was in the middle of the pack. At 11+ inches round the Via Roma and Fondarific fondant were the best performers. The worst performers, at 9" round, were Duff & Satin Ice.



Draping/Smoothing --- Because the Carma fondant is so soft it created a lot of folds and drapes, but they were very easy to lift and smooth out. There was also no tearing as gravity pulled the fondant downward, so 1/8” is not too thin for this fondant.



Cutting/Trimming --- The fondant did create some pulls and ragged edges when I trimmed the fondant, but I did cut the fondant when it was freshly rolled.  If I had let it dry a bit before cutting it may not have created as many ragged edges.

Drying Time ---- The Carma fondant has a slow drying time. I was able to re-roll the fondant several times without noticing any stiffness or cracking in the fondant.

Final Look --- Well, honestly, I was not very impressed with the final appearance of the Carma Massa Ticino. Because the Carma fondant is so soft it tended to sink into the nooks and crannies of the test pan thus showing a lot of imperfections.


So all-in-all this Carma Massa Ticcino was a bit of a disappointment.

It was easy to knead, roll, drape, smooth and it tasted great, but it also had a lot of negatives. The biggest issue was the problem with the fondant’s low pH killing off the Red #3 dye. There was also the issue with air bubbles, the way it showed imperfections, and the high cost due to large size of the tub.

So Carma Massa Ticino has not ended my search for the perfect fondant. Sigh.

And sadly even once you find the perfect fondant something always happens to ruin the love affair.  A few months back I thought the Via Roma Bakery fondant was going to be my go-to fondant, but the last pail I bought was a little dry and the dreaded elephant skin formed on the finished cakes.  See the comparison below.  The Carma on the right half of the cake is smooth, but the Via Roma on the left has a pitted look.  I was so disappointed in my last purchase of Via Roma.


Another observation about the Carma ---  The Carma is a pure white color out of the pail and it is actually very similar in color to the Via Roma, but look at the picture above.  Both are rolled to 1/8.  Does the Carma on the right look slightly darker than the Via Roma on the left?    The cake underneath is chocolate and the Carma seems to be picking up a tint from the dark color underneath.  This is not a big deal if a multi-tiered cake is iced in all the same icing, but if one tier is chocolate ganache and the other is white chocolate then the two tiers will look slightly different.  If you look closely at my Flattened Carnation Cake you will see that the white Carma fondant on the two tiers are not exactly the same color.  


So my search for the perfect fondant continues...  any other suggestions on brands to try?


Happy Decorating,

Carol


24 comments:

  1. Hello

    Thank you for this detailed analysis. How i wish i could send you a free sample of the fondant I sell so that you can evelaute it as well.

    In your carma analysis asper the pitting. I noticed that when i was developing my fondant, and I used corn flour/starch for the final kneading, the pitting disappeared.

    I think this is caused by the type of fat used ...some companies uses vegetable fat, parm kernel, cotton seed oil, illipe, etc. The higher the fat content the better the fondant as relating to smoothness and texture.

    I would love for you to come up with a discussion on the ingredients listed by companies on their fondant packaging. Some enlightenment will help all cake artist.

    Blessings.

    Wale

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    1. Hi Wale, Thanks for the info on the fat content. I will try adding some vegetable shortening to the Via Roma and see if that fixes the pitting. I will also start listing the ingredients label on my reviews. I still have the Carma and Via Roma packaging so I can add those pretty quickly. And when you get your Fondant ready for sale I would love to give it a try. I don’t know what is involved with selling food stuff in the USA, but it can’t be that difficult. LOL

      Thanks, Carol

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  2. Hello Bakemore,

    I just want to hint you with the Scott Clark Woolley Vanilla Cake. From his book called cakes by design.

    The vanilla cake is superb, and its a durable cake.

    On using the cake, i noticed two things:

    If you want a tighter and firmer cake for carving, use 9oz; and if you have a softer cake use 8oz. Ignore the gram conversion.

    Here is the recipe:
    All purpose flour - 8oz
    Bakinh powder - 1tbsp
    Salt - 1/2tsp
    Butter or Margarine - 8oz
    Sugar- 350g
    Eggs - 4large
    Vanilla - 2tsp
    Yogurt or Buttermilk - 1cup

    Pan size 8 inches by 3 inches

    This cake is truly, lighter than a pound cake.

    If you use margarine, it has a yellower hue, if you use butter, it has a lighter hue.

    Hope you will try it and compare it to the other yellow cakes you made during the scratch off.

    Cheers

    Wale

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    1. Hello, I made a mistake in my description:
      For a firmer cake and a bit dry use 13oz, but for a softer cake use 12oz

      The flour is 3cups or 12oz or 340g. I usually use 4oz for All purpose flour. Its like a safe guard.

      The correct recipe is as follows:

      Golden Vanilla Cake

      Butter or margarine: 8oz or 227g

      Sugar: 350g or 1-3/4cups

      Eggs- 4large

      Lemon zest(optional) - 1tsp

      Vanilla - 1 - 1/2 tsp

      All purpose flour: 12oz/340 ( the book states 375g /13oz)

      Salt - 1/2 tsp

      Baking powder - 1tbsp

      Buttermilk - 1cup

      Finally, if you are a fan of super soft cake, use cake flour but the quantity will be same as the all purpose flour - 12oz will be way too soft, but 13oz cake flour will be ok.

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    2. Thanks Wale, I will give it a try. I also have two new fondants to try: Fat Daddio's and Dream. Hopefully I can try them out soon.

      Again, thanks for the recipe...

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    3. Wow.... that's cool.. can't wait to read it. There is a canadian fondant I saw as well...Virgin Ice. Also AUI sells a fondant as well.

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  3. Hello. I just want to thank you for the *fabulous* job that you have done with comparing fondants. I really do appreciate all the time and effort it has taken you to produce these thorough assessments.

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    1. Thanks, Edith. I have two more fondants to test out: Dream and Fat Daddio. Still looking for that perfect fondant. :-)

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  4. Hello, I was wondering if you've ever used homemade marshmallow fondant. If so, how does it compare. Also, Michael's has a new fondant named Sweetshop you might want to put to the test.

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    1. Hi Juanita, I tried making marshmallow fondant once, but it came out sticky and mushy and a bit of a flop. It was not my proudest moment, so I just stick with ready-made fondant now. And I have seen the Sweetshop fondant at Michales, but I haven’t tried it yet. I have small tubs of Dream and Fat Daddio’s fondant sitting in my pantry, so after I try those two I will test out the Sweetshop brand. Stay tuned…

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    2. I have always made the marshmallow fondant for my cakes because of the awful tastes of most ready-made kinds. I bought the Sweetshop just because I wanted a back up for some more intricate details on a cake I just recently made. I'm glad I did, but I still used mostly the marshmallow fondant for the cake. I can't wait to hear how it goes with the other brands you have. I must say I have truly enjoyed following your fondant journey.

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    3. Thanks Juanita, Hopefully I can test out the other fondants soon. I have been so busy at work I haven't had much time for decoration, but I will get to it soon - I promise. And I agree with the taste of store-bought fondants - none taste really good. But I did taste both of the new fondants, and one of them tasted pretty good (sorry I can't remember which one). It almost like rolled buttercream - yum.

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  5. I use Fantasia fondant and swear by it! Great taste...easy to use...colors fantastically!! I would love to see you give your opinion on that one! Great price too!

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  6. Hi, I'm Elina Corona from México and i want to send you a tub of Méxican fondant to have your opinion. I found a great taste and a very nice coverage. How can i send you some?

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    1. Hi e-cakefactory Cancun, does anyone sell the Méxican fondant in the USA?

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  7. Can you give a go with Choco-Pan's new line of Dream Fondant? Would love to hear what you think!

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    1. Hi Anonymous, I happen to have a little Dream Fondant at home. I bought a tub a few months ago but it should still be good. I will try it out.

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    2. The Dream Fondant review it finished. I think I have a winner.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. Hi Aisha, The Dream Fondant review is up. I'll try and test the Fat Daddio's this weekend.

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  8. Hi Carol! I just discovered your blog and am enjoying reading all of your comparison studies. They are just fascinating and so helpful. I too love the science behind baking and cooking, so your work is really fun to read, and I'm learning a lot. I have been a baker all my life and have been making fondant cakes for about 8 years now. I am tried nearly all of the fondants that you compared, except Carma Massa, and I look forward to the day that I get my hands on some. What I did want to tell you about is the fondant that Amanda Oakleaf sells through her shop in Boston. I originally purchased it on Amazon but for some reason, it is not available on there right now. I was blown away by her fondant though. It is handmade by the batch! So, when you get a tub of it, you will read an enclosed note that is signed by the employee at her shop who created it for you. That blew my mind! Anyway, it is unlike any fondant I have ever used. It is made, literally out of marshmallows, and it looks, smells and tastes just like you took a giant marshmallow and smashed it out! It is very hard when you first pull it out of the pail, but you pop it in the microwave for a couple of turns, and it becomes heaven in your hands. It seemed to roll out kind of thick, but it may just have been that I did not have the strength to get it any thinner, I'm not sure. But, I'm telling you my cake pretty much "fondanted" itself, haha. I mean, I have never put fondant on a cake as effortlessly as I did with the Oakleaf fondant. It did seem to dry and form to the cake pretty quickly, and they mention that in the insert of information that they include with the fondant. I did a 3 tier cake with tall tiers of 12, 9 and 6 inch rounds in no time at all, and had a bunch of fondant left over. I put the cakes in the fridge overnight and when I brought them out, the fondant hardly "sweated" at all. The cake went together seamlessly and was gorgeous. Like I said, the fondant seemed kind of thick to me, but I could not see any flaws at all in my work. If you get the chance, please get some of this fondant and try it for yourself. I'd love for you to rate it and test it along side all the others. It is a bit on the expensive side at $15 for a 2 lb bucket and $50 for a 10lb bucket,(plus shipping) but when I think of how quickly and easily my cake came together, it was so worth it. And, the taste of the fondant was actually quite good, it really did taste like marshmallows. This fondant currently only comes in white, BTW. Happy Baking and experimenting! I look forward to reading more from you. Julia at Goody! Goody! Cakes & Cookies http://fondant.oakleafcakes.com/

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    1. Hi, I looked into this fondant, and like you said it is no longer available on Amazon and the only other way to buy it is In-Sore. They don't sell online from their website. Oh-well....

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  9. I just remembered the other fondant I wanted to tell you about, just in case you haven't' heard of it, and it is "Renshaw". A lot of professionals use it and I would love to try it but it is super expensive. If you ever do get some and rate it, I'd sure love to see what you learn. Thanks! Julia Goody! Goody! Cakes & Cookies

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    1. Hi, I see that Global Sugar Art carries the Renshaw so when I place another order I will get some to try. Amazon has it too, but the shipping is more than the product itself.

      Carol

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