Calling all cake decorators who may have never used fondant… or even those who have. Buddy Valastro of TLC's Cake Boss has just announced that cake-decorating kits will be sold in Michaels starting Sept. 5, and then Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Walmart, Kohl's, JC Penney, and Sam's Club, starting in November. These kits include all the tools necessary to work with fondant, including four colors of fondant, tips, piping bags, cutters, and more, along with two easy-to-follow decorating ideas for your cake, and will each retail for $29.99.
Meant to be a guide, these decorating ideas are personalized to fit the four colors provided in the package, and will either guide you through the decorating process or provide a jumping-off point for your own decorating ideas. Kit themes include Boys/Sports, Girls/Flower, Circus, Baby Shower, Spring, Halloween, and Winter. The mission of the kits, explained Valastro, is to provide the tools necessary to produce a professional-looking cake at home. "If you have the right tools and a little bit of know-how, I guarantee can make cakes that look very successful. And that’s what we want," he said.
In the kits, Valastro’s team will include videos that walk users through the process, enabling them to produce something they can feel good about. This idea applies to kids especially, and one of Valastro's goals is to show boys that baking is just a good a hobby for them as it is for girls, and he prides himself in being an example. "When you make a cake you get a sense of satisfaction and a sense of pride, and I want very kid in the world to be able to do that," said Valastro.
Intrigued by this idea, we knew we had to test it out. Who better to send than a fondant virgin who loves arts and crafts and decorating but whose baking experience lies at break and bake, and another contributor for The Daily Meal, another fondant virgin who works in finance. Due to my artistic background, I thought I would be able to pick up decorating with fondant easily. My partner, however, was a little nervous about his lack of decorating skills. But oh how the tables turned. It turns out, fondant is not for the over-confident first-timer. While I struggled with laying my fondant over the cake, as I was not used to the sticky dough-like mixture, and had trouble kneading and rolling it out, even producing a few rips and tears in my first time laying it over my cake, my finance-practicing cohort was a natural, and laid his fondant with ease. But from there my decorative skills took over (it was not an all-around failure, friends), and our contributor followed the instructions to produce a very professional, and delectable-looking cake. Both took less than 30 minutes to craft, and were surprisingly stunning.
Fondant was surprisingly easy to use, after a first try or two. Photo by Tyler Sullivan.
So, we learned two lessons from our first-time fondant experience: 1) The kit is beginner-friendly, and 2) You may need to give your skills a trial run before presenting the finished product to guests.
At The Daily Meal, we are keeping these kits on our gift lists for Christmas, birthdays, and for young bakers who (uninhibited by a perfectionist tendency) tend to produce better cakes than the grown-ups.
"The Cake Boss" also has a range of other products hitting stores soon, geared toward more than just the novice. An entire catalogue of metal bakeware, novelty bakeware, baking tools, mixing bowls, countertop accessories, frosting tips, fondant accessories, servingware, icing ceramics, dessert sets, and more will be available in stores. Some highlighted products include a baking sheet with drop zones, making spacing cookies while baking easy and foolproof; colorful silicone grips that are resistant to the oven’s heat; a scraping spatula with measurement marks and conversions on one side, with beechwood handles that resist heat and flavor absorption; fondant imprint mats and imprint rolling pins; and festive mixing bowls and cake carriers, inspired by Valastro's wife.
Tyler Sullivan is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter at @atylersullivan.