Monday, February 20, 2017

Another Fondant To Test - Dream by Choco-Pan

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My quest for the perfect fondant continues....

I thought I had found the perfect fondant with Via Roma Bakery Fondant, but my last 5lb tub of the stuff was less than perfect (it formed the dreaded elephant skin).  So I'm back on the hunt, searching for the "Perfect Fondant" that is consistently perfect.    Next to be tested is...

Dream Fondant by Choco-Pan

(If you want to read about other fondants I've tested you can checkout the 7 fondant comparison, the Via Roma, the Cake Craftthe Carma Massa, or the Fat Daddio's comparisons.)

In my non-expert analysis of the fondants I use nine different criteria: Taste, Texture, Rolling, Coverage, Draping/Smoothing, Cutting/Trimming, Drying Time, Tinting, and The Final Look.

Taste - I have to say I was impressed with the taste of this Dream Fondant.  It has a hint of White Chocolate and a touch of vanilla.  The fondant feels creamy in the mouth and dissolves easily on the tongue.  It doesn't feel tough and is not chewy at all.  Dream is more like firm buttercream instead of icky, chew, fondant.  I have to say that Dream is one of the best tasting fondants I have sampled.  (But in my book, Pettinice is still the best tasting.)

Texture -  Out of the pail this Dream Fondant was as hard as a rock, but a few seconds in the microwave had it soft and malleable.  It is very easy to knead and condition, and very easy to fold and stretch.

The photo below show exactly how soft the fondant is.  I had the fondant sitting on a paper towel, and in just a few short minutes the fondant pick up the pattern from the paper.  I didn't press the fondant into the paper, honest I didn't.

The fondant also had this strange paradox of textures.  On the one hand it felt dry and cool to the touch, but it also left a greasy film on my hands. 

And even more contradictions: the Dream Fondant comes out of the pail as hard as a rock, but after warming the fondant is soft to the touch and will stay that way for days.   The fondant feels soft, but strangely, if you don't work quickly it can tear.   And while the fondant is soft and malleable, it is not floppy.  It will hold its shape without bending.  A good analogy for this fondant is modeling clay.   It is soft and workable, but it will hold its shape after it is formed.  So this his Dream Fondant is full of contradiction, but contradictions that (for the most part) all work in the cake maker's favor. 

Rolling - After softening  and working the fondant for a few minutes, I found that it rolled very easily.  I didn't have to use a lot of effort or muscle to flatten it to 1/8".  I did find the bottom of the fondant stuck a little to The Mat, but nothing too bad.  The rolled, outer edges of the fondant also stayed soft and supple and didn't crack.  

Coverage - In all of my fondant comparison I used the same amount of fondant (5 ounces) rolled to the same thickness (1/8") to see how far each brand would spread. At 11-1/2 inches round, this Dream Fondant was one of the best performers (tied with Fondarific and Via Roma). The worst performers, at 9" round, were Duff & Satin Ice

Draping/Smoothing - When compared to other fondants, I found the Dream Fondant a little stiffer and more difficult to work with.  When placed over my "dummy" cake it acted more like a piece of aluminum foil rather than a piece of Saran Wrap.  The fondant just didn't want to drape and flow down the sides of the cake.  It was also a little difficult to fluffy out the folds.

And below is something that really surprised me given how the fondant is so soft...  I was in the middle of smoothing the fondant over the dummy cake.  I was taking my time, slowly moving back and forth trying to fluff out the folds, when the fondant start to rip.  Gasp!!  This is a cake maker's worst nightmare.  

I yanked the fondant off, squished it a bit, re-rolled, and started over.  The second attempt was much better.  I worked faster this time, although it still took a lot of time to smooth, fluff, and work out the folds.  I also trimmed off the excess skirt fondant away from the base before I started smoothing.  In the end I finished without creating any tears.  And best of all there was none of that dreamed Elephant Skin, and NO bubbles.  I hate bubbles in my fondant (see the Carma Massa drama).

Cutting/Trimming - The Dream Fondant performed very well at the cutting/trimming stage.  No ragged edges are unsightly pulls.  I have started using these Sugar Smoothers to cut/trim the bottom of the cakes...

But a wheel cutter works just as well.

Drying Time - The Dream Fondant has a slow drying time. I had a small ball of the fondant sitting on the counter for over 30 hours and after all that time it was still soft and moist.  I was able to rework the ball, and roll it out like it had just come out of the pail.

Tinting - After all the problems I had coloring the Carma Massa fondant a pretty mauve color, I started testing the fondants to see how they handle  U.S. Certified Red #3 dye.  The Dream Fondant had no trouble with the Red #3 dye.  The mauve looked pinkish just like it was supposed to look.

Final Look - Well in the end, this Dream covered cake dummy looked pretty damn good.  Not perfect, but pretty close.  The fondant finish was smooth and velvety, and seemed to float above the nooks and crannies of the dummy cake underneath. It really looked good.  About the only negative I could mention is that I found the surface of the fondant to be a little delicate.  Even hours after the fondant is applied, it is very easy to gouge the surface of the fondant with finger tips or other tools.  But on the positive side, the same character that makes the fondant surface easy to gouge also make it easy to buff out the imperfections.

So this Dream Fondant is a real contender for the crown of Perfect Fondant.  Until I find something better, this will probably be my go to fondant. 

Happy Baking (and Decorating),



Saturday, February 11, 2017

First Ombre Cake

My first attempt at an Ombre Cake.  Not too bad, but I think the line between the colors should have been a bit more blurred.  Oh well, I'll do better next time.