The Difference Between Fondant And Marzipan

Cake icing, of any kind, can be seen as a somewhat divisive topic of conversation among many circles. People either seem to love it with abandon or dislike it the same way that some folks dislike cilantro. Regardless of whether you are team icing or not, when it comes to decorating a cake, icing helps take it to another level. Just look at the show stopping careers that celebrity pastry chefs like Duff Goldman and Buddy Valastro have been able to carve out for themselves. 

There are also many kinds of icing: buttercream, royal icing, marzipan, and fondant. Our Everyday Life explains how both buttercream and royal icing are two completely different beasts when it comes to cake decor (one is soft and the other one is hard). But, what about marzipan and the always highly debated fondant? Are they as opposites as apples and oranges? Or do they possess some similar features when it comes to preparation?

Fondant covers the cake, while marzipan creates the decor on it

Tastessence describes fondant as a sugar layer that is used to set a foundation for the decorations that are added to the cake — decorations that are made using marzipan. There are two kinds of fondant, poured fondant or rolled fondant. Rolled fondant is typically the kind that is used to cover a cake, and feels like a somewhat hardened white sugary paste. Although marzipan can be made differently depending on where the pastry chef is from, it is typically made with almonds and looks like a little ball of off-white dough. 

According to Spoon University, it's important to know exactly what you are going to make so that you'll know which one you'll need to use. While marzipan is great for sculpting and has a lighter flavor profile, it's good to note that it wouldn't be the best for people with nut allergies. Fondant, while versatile, is known to be highly sweet and can be a turn-off for many people. Tastessence notes that marzipan was once highly used as a way to decorate cakes long ago, but due to nut allergies, many bakers have decreased their use of it.