A Post From Dan – The Mystery of Fondant

22 Apr

The Mystery of Fondant

I don’t really have much to write about recently, Terry still makes sugar and cake messes for me to clean.  I think she may have even upped the ante a bit, because she thinks bigger messes equal more blog posts by Dan  (not the case).  But, I’ve recently put my finger on something that’s been tickling the back of my brain and troubling me a little, not about her but about fondant.  Rolled fondant, as I’m sure most of you know, is used to cover many cakes and provides that smooth finish that you can’t accomplish with icing.  To cover a cake in fondant you roll the fondant out until it is relatively thin, throw it over the cake and smooth it down.  But here is the problem, to cover a cake with a 10 inch diameter that is say 4 inches tall, you have to roll out a ‘circle’ of fondant that is at least 18 inches in diameter.

The circumference of the top and bottom of the cake is, of course, the same, 31.4 inches ( 2πr ).  But the circumference of the rolled out ‘circle’ of fondant that has an 18” diameter is 56.52 inches.  So, when you throw the fondant on top of the cake, you somehow have to squeeze 56 inches of fondant into the 31 inches of available space at the bottom of the cake without the fondant bunching or overlapping.  How does that happen?  Think of a tablecloth going on a table, the cloth bunches on the sides forming a ‘skirt,’ well cake and fondant shouldn’t be much different.  I’ve seen Terry make that fondant ‘skirt’ disappear by smoothing it down (it doesn’t look easy and often involves a lot of swearing and banging on things), but it doesn’t make any sense to me.  Does the fondant somehow thicken during the smoothing process and “draw up” the excess length of the fondant?  Even if that’s happening to some degree could it really account for 25 extra inches of fondant?  I remain baffled.  If none of this makes any sense to you or if you just couldn’t care less, sorry for wasting your time.

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