The man who built an empire on the stuff flat-out says, "I hate fondant. I don't like eating it." Apparently, neither should you. It's not meant to be eaten. It's meant to be peeled off the cake, according to Goldman.
"Like banana peels, they look nice. They don't taste good. Same thing with fondant. It's there to look pretty," Goldman says.
What is fondant? Powdered sugar, cornstarch and agar agar (a thickener derived from seaweed). It's the same stuff that goes into marshmallows but in different ratios, explains Goldman, who goes through 400 pounds of the stuff each week.
"It just makes really pretty, blemishless cakes," Goldman says. "It makes perfect cakes. Those are the cakes you see on the covers of magazines."
Right. But they also taste like garbage. Goldman's admission is only shocking if you've never tried fondant. If you have, you've probably wondered how something that looks so wonderful can taste so atrocious.
The first time we tried fondant, we were at a wedding where the gorgeous cake, from a respected bakery in San Francisco, looked like a set of vintage luggage adorned with travel stickers from around the globe. We nearly spit out our first bite. It was that awful.
Goldman claims that fondant seals in a cake's moisture and that 2-day-old cake tastes better than fresh cake. Given that his business is built on creating cakes that look amazing and probably taste awful, that makes sense. Goldman's claim is belied by every fondant-covered cake we have EVER eaten. Regardless of their flavor, they all taste the same: dry, stale and dull, like baked goods that have been left out for days -- which they have.
If you're willing to sacrifice function for form, taste for appearance, fondant's the ticket. It allows Goldman and his crew to build and decorate amazing, elaborate concoctions that ought to be featured in Architectural Digest. But when it comes to something we actually want to eat? A fondant-covered cake is a hot slice of nothing.