Difference Between Marzipan and Fondant


As the old debate of marzipan vs fondant debate keeps resurfacing now and again, it is important to figure out a new method of how to put this unfaded debate to bed, or at worst, finds a sustainable answer to the question.

In the world of baking and confectionary work, finding several decorating ingredients that are very similar to each other but serves different purposes is inevitable.

Marzipan and fondant; being one of the most used ingredients for decorating a cake, both almost look similar and the same.

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However, as identical as they may seem, they have different tastes, flavors, recipes, and the process of making them.

Fondant icing, buttercream frosting, almond paste with another marzipan, I bet you can’t imagine designing and decorating cakes without them. Both are just too good to ignore!

That said, this article will provide extensive information about several hidden things you never could have known about marzipan vs fondant comparison.

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But before delving into the differences between these cake decoration ingredients and which of the two is better, it is ideal we explain the key concepts of marzipan vs fondant.

You may presumably be familiar with fondant, confectioners sugar, marzipan, and almond paste but just don’t know their meaning, and that is exactly where things can get a bit messy.

What is Marzipan?

Marzipan is also known as the almond candy dough. It is a paste made out of ground almonds, glucose syrup, water, sugar, and in some cases, egg whites.

More often than not, it is being made into chocolate-covered marzipan as well as small marzipan imitations of vegetables and fruits.

And because of its sweetness, marzipan can be used to bake biscuits, rolled over thin sheets, and braized for icing cakes. It can also be used for decorating weddings, birthdays as well as Christmas cakes.

How is Marzipan Made?

Marzipan is widely believed to be addictively delicious – there is no doubt about that if you ask me. However, it can be very expensive to buy. Because of its relatively exorbitant cost, it is preferably rewarding to utilize the DIY route!

You know what I mean.

That said, one good thing about marzipan is the ease of making. Marzipan is pretty simple and easy to make. Moreso, before you get to the end of this guide, you should be able to make marzipan anytime, any day, and to your taste.

Like with many decorating ingredients, marzipan has numerous ingredients, though with little variations. However, the main marzipan recipes include almonds, sugar, and a grinding tool.

There is another material named Persipan. It is similar to marzipan although it is made from peach kernels instead of almonds. This material is best used in place of marzipan for nut allergies.

These are some popular marzipan recipe combinations:

  • Ground skinless almonds, almond extract, egg white, and powdered sugar;
  • Corn syrup, almond paste, and powdered sugar;
  • Almond paste, unbeaten egg whites, sugar, and water;
  • Ground almonds, egg whites, glucose syrup, sugar and water; and
  • Blanched ground almonds, starch or sorbitol, and powdered sugar.

They are simply the best Do-It-Yourself (DIY) homemade marzipan!

Marzipan can practically be made by grinding a blanched almond together with some other ingredients. Albeit it can be cooked or leave raw depending on the recipe combination.

Marzipan tastes like almonds, similar to clay and it is perfect for several decorative purposes.

While making marzipan solution, you may likely add some quantity of food coloring. That is optional though.

How To Make Marzipan at Home

Here is a breakdown of how to make homemade marzipan:

  • Pour ½ pound of almonds into boiled water and cover it;
  • Let it alone until it is cool;
  • Pinch the almonds and bin the skin;
  • Drain the endocarp (the skinless almonds) of any available liquid;
  • Pour them inside a food processor;
  • Add 16 oz. — 2 cups — of sugar over the skinless almonds;
  • Run the food processor until the solution is smooth;
  • Add 2 egg whites and mix them until you see the mixture forming a clay-like consistency;
  • Add a ½ teaspoon of salt, almond extract, and any other essentials to aid the flavor;
  • Bring out the mixture from the pan, wrap and store it in the refrigerator (it can use up to 2 weeks there);
  • So the final output will give you malleable and speckled-white dough ready to be served on all sorts of cake and confectionery treats.

What is Fondant?

Fondant is an edible and frosting icing often used in cake decoration, cookies, candies, pastries, and the likes.

It tastes sweet and sugary with moldable consistency just like the marzipan.

Equally, fondant is made out of sugar and not almonds, which provides it a flavor different from that of marzipan.

Types of Fondant

1. Poured Fondant

The poured fondant is so creamy, soft, and icing that it is often rain over cakes, cookies, candies, and some other pastries.

It is usually made by boiling an enormous amount of confectioners sugar together with corn syrup.

The corn syrup will be allowed to cool off a bit after which it’ll be beaten or stirred until it forms an obscure mass of creamy consistency.

In addition, a few drops of vanilla cream, food coloring, and/or any other essentials may at this stage be added.

2. Rolled Fondant

Rolled fondant, on the other hand, is a pliable sugar dough usually rolled into paper. The rolled fondant could be a sugar paste or an ordinary gum paste.

The rolled fondant is then made by adding hydrogenated vegetable oils, confectioners sugar, and corn syrup.

Food coloring, flavor, or any other essentials may be added; and food-grade glycerin, agar, or gelatin may be added to the dough.

3. Marshmallow Fondant

This type of fondant is in form of rolled fondant which is usually made and used by DIY home confectioners and hobbyists.

Marshmallow has a melted marshmallow, powdered sugar, water, and vegetable shortening in its combination.

Hobbyists and home bakers use this marshmallow recipe for made at home fondant because of their easy access to the required and necessary ingredients.

How to Make Fondant at Home

The main ingredient used in the making of fondant recipes is the confectioners’ sugar irrespective of the fondant varieties.

Marshmallow fondant is made out of a melted mini marshmallow. The marshmallow will have to be microwaved and a little water added to it, after which it will be mixed with vegetable oil and powdered sugar until the mixture is firm and pliable.

Rolled fondant is made out of mixed corn syrup, powdered sugar, and vegetable oil. The mixture will be stirred continuously until it is firm and pliable. Most of the times gelatin is added as well.

Poured fondant is made out of boiled corn syrup, confectioners sugar, and water. The mixture will then be beaten until it becomes creamy and opaque.

Steps to Make Fondant

  • Prepare your baking table with a baking sheet on the tabletop, and sprinkle it with a little water;
  • Add the corn syrup, sugar, and water to a saucepan and put it inside the microwave;
  • Stir the mixture continuously until the sugar dissolves. Then cover it again and boil the mixture for 2-3 minutes;
  • Open the saucepan lid and leave the mixture to cook for 240° Fahrenheit (115 C) without stirring;
  • Pour the mixture into the baking sheet;
  • Allow it to cool down;
  • After 2-4 minutes, dip your hand into the mixture lightly to see if it’s warm and not hot;
  • Dampen a dough scraper or metal spatula with water, and then use it to stack the mixture into the sheet;
  • Begin to “cream,” the fondant with a spatula in a figure-8 shape;
  • Keep on scraping the fondant in a figure-8 manner, and scrape it again. The fondant will be fluid and clear at first, but it will — gradually — become creamy and opaque;
  • The fondant will look very stiff and hard to manipulate after 8-10 minutes;
  • Once you notice this, moisten your hands with vegetable oil and begin beating it like bread dough. Stop beating and kneading the fondant immediately you notice a smooth ball with no lumps;
  • At this stage, your fondant is ready and it can be poured or rolled over a cake for decoration.

Marzipan vs Fondant Taste and Appearance

When it comes to deciding on the type of icing to be used in decorating your cake, all that matters is making the right decision.

And while most clients, hobbyists, and confectioners are fond of fondant, another wonderful icing is on the loose and that is; marzipan!

Usually, the best flavor and taste you would expect from marzipan is that of almonds; while the fondant is full of saturated sugar syrup and tastes excellently well and sweet!

Marzipan has a cream-like color and can not be dye into white, while fondant on the other end is naturally white.

The Marzipan vs Fondant Debates and Arguments

The popular comparison and arguments of marzipan vs fondant will be talked about for decades more to come. These are two different ingredients that can be judiciously used for decorating cakes and pastries.

While marzipan is a paste made out of almonds and confectionery sugar, fondant is a soft icing cream rain over cake.

This paste and icing cream is used in covering cakes and shaping candy and other pastries. Thus, it is very unlikely to spot the difference between the two in terms of taste.

Marzipan and fondant are equally tasty, that is very clear. However, the goal of this article is to provide a clearer picture of the difference between these two ingredients, and ultimately end the marzipan vs fondant tussle.

The Difference Between Marzipan vs Fondant

To properly figure out the importance of these two cake decorating ingredients, we have made an effort to highlight the differences, if any, between marzipan vs fondant.

1. They Taste Differently

The first tip to figuring out the differences between marzipan and fondant is the way they taste. The difference is clear enough for even the blind to see.

Marzipan is an end product of grinding almonds with water as such, it tastes less sweet compare to fondant that is made out of sugar and water.

That said, to pick the best out of the two and end the age-long debate of marzipan vs fondant, you can judge the two ingredients based on how they taste.

In a nutshell, fondant is sweet but Marzipan tastes better as it is made of almonds.

2. Solidification

The solidness nature of marzipan makes it distinctively different from fondant.

Marzipan can be mold, baked, and made into candy and pastries whereas fondant is somewhat liquid, therefore it can’t be baked.

In other words, marzipan is solid; it can be mold and baked, whereas fondant is watery and liquid kind of, and can only be poured over cakes and pastries.

3. Designing

Marzipan and fondant are the most common cake decoration ingredients. Both almost look similar though their distinction lies in design.

Marzipan is clay-like and it can be used to mold and decorate a cake to any design; while fondant can only be rolled or poured to decorate cakes.

Given the explanations of the differences above; marzipan makes the cake looks eatable as it gives room for tweaking of the design and decoration, while the fondant can only be rained on a cake to make it more enticing.

4. Color

As has been said about the differences between marzipan and fondant, and how these two ingredients can collectively be used to decorate cakes. The color of these ingredients may well contribute to give a clearer view.

Like we mentioned early on, that marzipan originally is clay-like and looks creamy in the eyes, and it can not be dyed into white. While the fondant is primarily used as a decorating tool.

5. Pliability

If you believe the marzipan vs fondant debate is close to being over then congratulations! But then, always remember these two ingredients serves the same purposes. However, in the case of fondant, pliability is important.

Logically, marzipan is solid and can’t be remolded while a rolled fondant can be used to design flowers on cakes as it has an edible jelly capable of making the icing so soft.

In a simpler term, fondant is very flexible and soft, and it can be dressed in a way and manner that makes it looks and feel decorated. But marzipan, on the other hand, is rigid and hard; it can only be cut into shapes.

6. Universality

Last but not least point here to put this debate to bed on the difference between marzipan vs fondant is the universality of these two ingredients.

Without mincing words both marzipan and fondant are similar and they serve the same purposes, but one is better to use differently than the other.

Needless to say, confectioners use marzipan to design whatever they want as it can be baked into pastries, and such is an advantage it has over fondant.

To crown the difference between these two important ingredients all, if you are concerned about the taste and sweetness, then fondant should be your ideal choice.

But on the contrary, marzipan is the real deal. It produces flavor, and such is the hidden card of most confectioners out there.

When is the best time to use marzipan and fondant?

When talking about the best area and time to use the marzipan vs fondant ingredients, there are some vital things to put into consideration.

Vital things like the health condition of your known and unknown customers—in case they are allergic to nuts—the availability of the ingredient, strong flavor, etc.

However, for purpose of clarity, the best time and the workable area to use or apply marzipan and fondant will be discussed separately below.

When to use Marzipan?

As a confectioner who is working on a wedding cake, the best time to use marzipan is when you are about to mold the cake into shapes.

Another place where marzipan will come in to play a role is when making decorations like veggies, fruits, and animals shapes to adorn the cake.

Also, marzipan can best be used in making various chocolate-coated candies. Such is an obedient ingredient used for the famous Tortell and princess cake.

When to use Fondant?

Since icing is sweet and pliable, the best place and time to use fondant is when covering the cake surface.

Similarly, it’s appropriate to use fondant — the gum paste to be precise — when decorating cakes with flowers.

In the same vein, confectioners make use of the fondant when designing appliqués and bows on the cake.

Poured fondant is best used when making a liquid-filling candy and other pastries since it can be treated with invertase.

Where to Buy Marzipan?

I know you are probably thinking of giving it a shot now that you know the difference between Marzipan vs Fondant. If my guess is as good as yours and you are interested, but do not know where to buy Marzipan recipes; below is a link to some of our recommended shops.

Final Thoughts

Cake decoration is one of the surefire ways one can adapt to be creative enough about things that people eat. So if you are a passionate baker, you must be having a hard time concerning the marzipan vs fondant debate.

Fondant icing may not have flavor, but it is advisable to use it as the main cake decoration ingredient. Its neutral taste will go on to unleash other flavors in the cake.

Also, the presence of marzipan in a cake will make it delicious, but using it excessively isn’t advisable it’ll make the cake heavy and engulfed it with almonds taste.

I hope we were able to look beyond the ordinary taste of the marzipan vs fondant cake ingredients by giving you a well-detailed difference between the two recipes.


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