I find that many newbie cake decorators become easily confused with all the different names given to the soft roll out icing that we use these days to cover most of our cakes. However, basically yes, sugarpaste is the term most widely used in the UK for this soft icing and the term fondant when used in the US, is the US equivalent.
Fondant in the UK is something different!
BEWARE, in the UK the term fondant actually refers to icing that is used for pouring and dipping – the sticky stuff on bakers buns and the covering on Fondant Fancies!! This icing is made by melting the sugar and heating it to no more than 40*C. Some UK supermarkets sell a packaged mix to make this called fondant icing. This has lead to some confusion as people are buying this product thinking it is sugarpaste!
Sugarpaste – A little history
From my travels around the sugarcraft world, I have learnt that sugarpaste, although originally developed in Europe, became popular as a cake covering first in Australia (Australian Pasta). I met ladies in Sydney that remember using it in the 1940’s and 1950’s! From Australia, it then travelled to South Africa and then in the early 1980’s it become popular in the UK. It has only been widely used in the US fairly recently, certainly when I wrote my first book in 1999 buttercream was still the norm!
Which name to use?
Until the advent of the internet and the use of personal computers, the name you gave your soft rolled out icing was determined by where you lived, see chart below. However, over the last 10 years or so sugarcraft has become global. Now with many budding cake decorators teaching themselves from YouTube videos and international books, plus the influence of US TV cake shows such as Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss, the names used are becoming more interchangeable. For example, I find that many of my young UK students are now coming into class calling their paste fondant!
Generic or brand name – I have always used the generic term sugarpaste, it was what I was taught when I first started in 1991, however many people refer to their sugarpaste by its brand name, in much the same way as ‘Hoover’ has become the name used for a vacuum cleaner whether or not it is actually manufactured by Hoover.
Below is a chart with the names I have come across. I’m sure it is not complete so please do help me fill in any blanks.
|Country||Generic Names||Brand Names|
|South Africa||Plastic icing||Pettinice|
Ready to Roll
Hope you find the above useful and interesting. If you’d like to have a go at making your own sugarpaste then please click on this blog link for a recipe.
Do let me know if I have left any names off the list, I’d love to make it as complete as possible!
“Bringing world class sugarcraft into your kitchen”