The New Bakers Dozen
Way too much information

The The Bakers Dozen: Way too much information
By Raine on Wednesday, May 10, 2000 - 03:18 pm: Edit

Looking at web sites,books and television has caused a great confusion for me. I would like to make certain that I am calling these by there correct names. Okay here goes.
ROLLED FONDANTE-used for covering cakes and forming simple decos
MARZIPAN- same use as fondante, but with an almond base
GUM PASTE/PASTILLAGE- used for forming more elaborate decos, but generally unedible. asthetic purposes only.
ROYAL ICING- dries hard like porcelin for piped decos only, edible in small amounts. asthetic purposes mainly.
POURED FONDANTE- same purpose as rolled but with glossier/wet look.
These are the ones that have much conflicting uses. Read a recipe somewhere that had cake iced in marzipan and covered with rolled fondant. Isn't that redundant? Also read cake iced in royal icing? Roses made with poured fondante? Cake covered in gum paste?? Poured marzipan?

By Raine on Wednesday, May 10, 2000 - 03:29 pm: Edit

These are just some of the many oddities. They are so prevalent it makes me question my own knowledge. Because i am self taught incorrect info can become a real problem. Since many at this site have a more formal training ,by school or experience, any insite would be appreciated and corrections are welcome.


By Ardis on Wednesday, May 10, 2000 - 10:07 pm: Edit

Raine, I believe the definitions are as follows:
rolled fondant - used for covering cakes, contains icing sugar, gelatin, shortening, and glucose.
marzipan - can be used like rolled fondant but contains 80% sugar, 20% almond paste.
pastillage- icing sugar, gelatin and water. Strong, but dries quickly. Great for foundation pieces, and can be sanded to make it smoother.
Gum paste- contins gum tragaganth as well as shortening and glucose. Is very stretchy, so you can make thin pieces, but is expensive. Best used for lifelike flowers.
poured fondant - 100% sugar (almost) in another crystal formation so it is fluid. It is sold in buckets, and is the same product that is used on donuts. I have never used it for large cakes, but it can be used for petits fours, and is not easy to work with.

By Ardis on Wednesday, May 10, 2000 - 10:17 pm: Edit

Raine, more info: Fruit cakes were traditionally covered in both marzipan and rolled fondant. You needed two layers to cover all the lumps and bumps! I would not cover a cake with gum paste though as it is too expensive and rolled fondant works better. We used to ice cakes with royal, but it is out of fashion, and dries rock hard. I think the roses must be made out of rolled fondant as well, as you can't make 3D roses out of fondant. This is all perhaps a semantics problem - different names for the same product. Try books by Nicholas Lodge - he is great.

By W.DeBord on Thursday, May 11, 2000 - 08:37 am: Edit

I would back Ardiss' definitions.

It's very rare to have an item covered in marzipan then rolled fondant instead of poured.

"Old world" bakers use royal icing on cakes. They don't make the frosting as rock hard as your thinking of when you pipe decorative work in royal.

You would never cover a cake in gum paste(break your teeth), but you could frost it then cover it with 3d flowers made from gum paste.

You can not make a 3-dimensional rose with a poured fondant. Instead you would use rolled fondant, sugar paste, chocolate plastic, marizipan etc...

Marzipan can not be poured.

I kind of think you might be mis-understanding. Sometimes a book refers to gum paste as sugar work (but many people think that sugar work means pulled or poured sugar)so confusion can happen. Names become blurred or all encompassing when they shouldn't be. Check back to an earlier page in your book and you'll find at some point they did tell you specificly what item "sugar work" is refering to etc...

By Yankee on Thursday, May 11, 2000 - 11:15 am: Edit

My understanding was that old (as in the days before refridgeration) English wedding cakes were covered in pastillage as a means to preserve the cake. The couple would smash the outside and just eat the fruitcake.

Terms and names can be quite confusing. Wait until you try to get through all the different names for doughs and cakes (or is that pastes and bisquits?).

Information is power and knowledge. Have fun with it. People everywhere use different names for the same thing, like for a can of coke: soda, cola, pop, soft drink...

By CountryBaker on Friday, May 12, 2000 - 01:08 am: Edit

Like Yankee said we all call things by different names according to where we are from. I myself would never cover a cake in royal icing or gum paste. I only use royal icing for string work or flowers if the cake is going to be served outside. I like to use a stiff buttercreme for most of my flowers, because it is easy to cut and eat. I can also make them and put directly from nail onto cake. I make my own poured fondant for petits fours. I use a mixture of conf. sugar, corn syrup,water and flavoring and color if I want it. It dries glossy and smooth. Petits fours are a pain to do not hard but time consuming. Wilton has a cake book that explains about all kinds of cake coverings and different methods of making them and using them.

By jeee2 on Friday, May 12, 2000 - 06:54 am: Edit

Further muddying the water,
fondant never has powdered sugar in the ingredient list, its boiled sugar w/ glucose to retard crystalization.

Powdered sugar based icing is water icing.
I think it works better with milk.

Donuts are not dipped in fondant, water icing made from special purpose sugar.

By W.DeBord on Friday, May 12, 2000 - 07:52 am: Edit

We have talked about nameing desserts too. Imagine the poor customer who puts their money out there to buy an item he thinks he is familar with just to discover the pastry chef got playful and named some piece of **** with his favorite desserts name.

The people in charge of naming things seem to have run out of new names for items. We now are into rec

By W.DeBord on Friday, May 12, 2000 - 07:57 am: Edit

We now are into recycling names to save our enviroment. Or so it seems....

By Yankee on Friday, May 12, 2000 - 01:35 pm: Edit

>...just to discover the pastry chef got playful and named some piece of **** with his favorite dessert name.<

I could not have said it better myself. "Don't you have one of those 'heavenly chocolate dream towers with...'" It never ceases to amaze me what people will pay good money for.

My girlfriend is under strict instructions to have me put into the funny house if I ever try to pass off a bunch of grainy box chocolate mousse that's been wrapped in a dry roulade as a "heavenly chocolate dream tower."

Our favorite joke is to walk into some random bakerey, look about the case and inquire about the infamous "dream tower." Then we try to describe it using lots of hand gestures and "Martha Stewart" words. Oh, The looks we get from the poor counter people...

By Yankee on Friday, May 12, 2000 - 01:38 pm: Edit

Perhaps we will call our first book "Death by Chocolate Dream Tower." ;)

By Raine on Friday, May 12, 2000 - 07:03 pm: Edit

Water icing, perhaps also called sugar glaze? Poured fondante on dounuts, wow, were do you sell those? Seems awful expensive,maybe on eclaires or pastries.
I have seen wilton's lists, it is mostly there to sell there premade icings and mixes (very expensive).
I agree about the cake names. They should have some kind of a cross reference guide. Same cake in ten diferent languages is still white cake. The same applies to icings. I also think should stop naming desserts period. Most customers will ask for a disciption of contents, and that is what sells it. Just hire counter people who know a lot of adjetives."a succulant, gooey, rich, chocolate, torte with creamy, fluffy, vanilla...yadda, yadda, yadda....

By Raine on Friday, May 12, 2000 - 08:12 pm: Edit

Another pastillage a general term? I always considered it gum paste, but some recipes use that term when actual useage is more like fondante or chocolate.
Got a real good laugh today, friend wants me to make her wedding cake at home (groooan). She wants me to make a scrath cake that tastes like a box mix? What is the point of going through all the trouble, if in the end it tastes like cheep cake? Is it easier to make box taste good, or scratch taste fake?

By Gerard (Gerard) on Friday, May 12, 2000 - 09:28 pm: Edit

Make her a good cake and tell her what she wants to hear.

My first job in the USA was at dunkin donuts, those guys never buy fondant and would know what to do with it, fry it maybe. The thick dipping icings they used were from a pail, the icings used for drenching poor donuts was water/icing special sugar.

By Raine on Saturday, May 13, 2000 - 06:05 pm: Edit

Seems every thing can be bought in a pail or a mix. It kind of takes the creative end out of job and makes it more like mass production. Like chain stores, your there only to reproduce what someone else created.
Hey,Gerard. What made you stay in pastries? After a job like that. I hate the smell of donut grease (uck!). That is high up there on the crappy job scale. Dough balls soaked in grease and sugar(yummy).
Yankee, do you have relatives in FL? ;)

By Gerard (Gerard) on Sunday, May 14, 2000 - 09:22 pm: Edit

"Hey,Gerard. What made you stay in pastries? After a job like that. "

I got a better job.!
If you don't consider some work beneath you it can be a stepping stone, I learned a lot at dunkies about running a business, nothing to do with food...just the business of business.

By Raine on Monday, May 15, 2000 - 01:01 am: Edit

I also learned a lot about management from working chain stores, but I prefer to stay in the trenches with the rest of the peons(less stress). I've met a few people who worked for dunkin donuts, who refused to work with food ever again. Your perserverence is admirable. There is nothing work related I find "beneath" me. I have worked in some pretty crappy places also :)

By Yankee on Monday, May 15, 2000 - 06:38 pm: Edit


Yes. A bunch of third cousins. Why?

Dunkin Doughnuts rocks.

I have this Simpson's style dream where I kill myself at Dunkin Doughnuts by drinking a huge vat of water icing...


By Raine on Monday, May 15, 2000 - 09:26 pm: Edit


Some people came asking for the strangest cake, had counter girl twisting into contortions trying to explain it to me. I thought she started smokin' the crack pipe.

You don't have to drink it. Just pour it on... instant mummification.

Search on Amazon turned up nothing on Nicholas Lodge, could it be under something else? Perhaps name of book.

By Ardis (Ardis) on Wednesday, May 17, 2000 - 11:32 pm: Edit


Sorry, I think a few of his books may be out of print. I'll dig around for other names for you


By Raine on Thursday, May 18, 2000 - 07:01 pm: Edit

Ardis, thanks the effort will be much appreciated.

By Ardis (Ardis) on Wednesday, May 24, 2000 - 02:33 pm: Edit

I didn't think of it at first, but the cake bible is a good reference for fondants and covering cakes. It's by Rose Levy Beranbaum, William Morrow Inc, New York ISBN:0-668-04402-6.

For info on flowers, try Simply Elegant by Geraldine Randlesome ISBN:0-9692523-1 or Sugar Flowers and Arrangements by Lesley Herbert ISBN:1-85391-254-9.
Good Luck!


By Ardis (Ardis) on Wednesday, May 24, 2000 - 02:33 pm: Edit

I didn't think of it at first, but the cake bible is a good reference for fondants and covering cakes. It's by Rose Levy Beranbaum, William Morrow Inc, New York ISBN:0-668-04402-6.

For info on flowers, try Simply Elegant by Geraldine Randlesome ISBN:0-9692523-1 or Sugar Flowers and Arrangements by Lesley Herbert ISBN:1-85391-254-9.
Good Luck!


By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Wednesday, May 24, 2000 - 11:40 pm: Edit

Nicholas Lodge is the primary instructor at the International School of Sugarcraft. I have one of his books, and I've also seen him demo his stuff. In fact, I'm going to be taking another class from him in July as part of the California Cake Clubs 4-day mini-classes convention in Los Angeles.

Here's the info on the book I have, which I picked up at a local cake decorating shop:
Lodge, Nicholas, "The International School of Sugarcraft, Book One - Beginners", Merehurst Limited, London, 1988. ISBN: 1-85391-748-6

Other books by Nicholas include "Sugar Flowers", "Pastillage and Sugar Moulding", and "Lace and Filigree".

Cheers, Mike

By Raine on Thursday, May 25, 2000 - 11:20 am: Edit

Sorry to say, all of his books are out of print. Checked at amazon, 3 book stores and 2 craft shops. I hate missing out on info that comes so highly recommended.
I'm green with jealousy Mikeh. Too bad its on the wrong side of the continent for me.
Any opinions on Sugar Inspirations series or Colette Peters?

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