marzipan vs fondant

Marzipan vs Fondant: What Are The Differences?

If you love to bake or eat baked goods, you probably know about marzipan and fondant. Do you know what each is and if they are different? Take a look at this article to learn more about these two foods.

Keep reading to learn what the differences are between marzipan and fondant. By the end of this article, you will be a baking and decorating connoisseur.

What Is Marzipan?

marzipan

Marzipan is a confection made with sugar, almond flour, and honey and might also contain almond oil. You might see marzipan sold on its own or on top of cake and chocolate. This type of baked decoration is common everywhere and has been for centuries.

In Spain, marzipan is a Christmas dessert, and it is available year-round. In Italy, marzipan is shaped like fruit, and it is also popular during the holiday season. Other Southern European regions also use marzipan for everyday treats and special occasions.

Around Northern and Eastern Europe, marzipan is also a tradition for different holidays. The tradition has been passed on to other cultures, including Latin America and the Philippines. Although it is common in Europe, some theories say that marzipan comes from China, went to the Middle East, and then made its way to the old continent.

Preparing marzipan takes some time, and it requires almonds to be clean and soaked in the water below their boiling point. This is a process known as blanching, which loosens up the almond’s skin for removal. You should then grind the almonds into an almond flour that you mix with sugar.

The mixture of almond flour and sugar is molded into a shape. After it has the correct form, you place marzipan in an airtight container to prevent hardening or dehydrating. You should also keep it in a dark place, as light can cause fat oxidation and make it rancid.

One final secret to marzipan is including an egg white for binding and texture. Unlike almond paste, this dessert is fluffy and soft. To make it you will need almonds, confectioners’ sugar, almond extract, corn syrup, and an egg white.

Nutrition Facts

One serving of marzipan (100 g) has the following nutritional content (*):

  • 458 calories
  • 14.1 g water
  • 9 g protein
  • 27.7 g fat
  • 47.8 g carbohydrate
  • 4.8 g fiber
  • 36.2 g sugar
  • 172 mg calcium
  • 1.6 mg iron
  • 130 mg magnesium
  • 258 mg phosphorus
  • 314 mg potassium
  • 9 mg sodium
  • 13.5 mg vitamin E

Is Marzipan Healthy?

Marzipan is a high sugar and high fat treat, so it is not the healthiest. When it comes to the holidays, this might be one of the least unhealthy sweets. You can have this food every once in a while without much damage.

Because marzipan contains almonds, it does contain traces of cyanide. This poisonous toxin is present in almonds, especially the bitter kind. While marzipan is likely prepared with sweet almonds, you might want to double-check.

Since this food is mostly almonds, it is also high in some vitamins and minerals. It contains calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin E. Unlike other sweets, marzipan does have some nutrient content to add to your diet.

Since almonds contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, so does marzipan. You can find omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which are essential and incredibly beneficial to your health. Eating this food can be a way to boost your heart and cognitive health.

It also happens that marzipan is gluten-free and dairy-free, which makes it a good option for those with allergies and sensitivities. Unlike most desserts, this one is safe if you are lactose intolerant or have a gluten allergy. However, it is best to check that the facility making your marzipan does not process gluten products.

Finally, note that marzipan is not vegan as it contains eggs. While some marzipan out there might not, the original recipe depends on the egg white for binding and texture. This is not the food for you if you follow a vegan diet.

What Is Fondant?

fondant

Fondant or also called icing, is a decorative paste used on the outside of cakes and pastries. Sugar, water, gelatin, shortening or fat, and glycerol are needed to make this food. The texture is very hard when rolled while being very thick in liquid form.

The word fondant means melting in French. There are various types of fondant, and all for different purposes. All fondants originated in France and began as a way to decorate baked goods.

Rolled fondant or icing fondant (poured fondant) is part of decorative wedding cakes when marzipan cannot be used. It will always contain gelatin and glycerine to help keep the dough-like consistency. You have to roll out the fondant like a pancake and then cover the cake with it.

Commercial fondant consists of sugar and hydrogenated oil. It might also have sugar or sugar paste, cellulose gum paste, and water. You use it in the same way as rolled fondant for weddings and other cakes.

Marshmallow fondant contains melted marshmallows, water, powdered sugar, and shortening. You use it for homemade cakes and when in need of quick ingredients. Sculpting fondant is similar to the rolled one but much stiffer, making it useful for shaping and sculpting.

Fondant might also be the best choice because it creates a seal on the surface of the cake that prevents it from going bad. This icing is also moldable and can support various shapes and sizes. Because it is a very hard icing, any fingerprints are noticeable.

Nutrition Facts

One serving size of standard fondant (100 g) has the following nutritional content (*):

  • 373 calories
  • 6.74 g water
  • 0 g protein
  • 0.02 g fat
  • 93.2 g carbohydrate
  • 0 g fiber
  • 88.9 g sugar
  • 3 mg calcium
  • 0.01 mg iron
  • 0 mg magnesium
  • 0 mg phosphorus
  • 4 mg potassium
  • 11 mg sodium
  • 0 g polyunsaturated fatty acids

Is Fondant Healthy?

Fondant is virtually all sugar and contains minimal nutrients. It is relatively high in calories from sugar but contains little fat and no protein. Since it does not have many other ingredients aside from sugar, it is very low in micronutrients as well.

When it comes to icing, this one is strong and durable. Because of its texture, fondant can be a better option than cakes because it prevents spoilage or contamination. It is also somewhat denser, which means your outer layer of the cake will also be more filling.

While it is edible and quite flavorful, fondant is not healthy. You can use it and eat it sometimes, but it is not the best choice because it is high in sugar and calories. Most people find this icing to be excessively sugary and prefer not to eat it.

It is also important to note that marshmallow fondant is even higher in sugar and contains extra fat and calories. You can expect a fluffier texture and slightly different flavor, but it is not the best choice for nutrients. Still, if you are baking and decorating at home, this might be the easiest option.

Fondant is usually not vegan since it contains gelatin. However, recently more and more vegetarian and vegan-friendly options have been introduced. These use agar instead of gelatin for texture and binding.

Using fondant should be limited to decoration purposes and aesthetics. If you can choose a healthier option like buttercream icing or marzipan, you are going to get more nutrients. Remember that sugar is essential for texture, so you cannot change it.

What Are The Key Differences Between Marzipan and Fondant?

To begin with, it is relevant to note that marzipan and fondant have very different ingredients. Marzipan contains almond meal or flour and an egg white with sugar. Fondant contains confectioners’ sugar, gelatin, shortening, water, and glycerol.

When it comes to nutrition, the difference is evident. Since marzipan comes from almonds, it is higher in protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Fondant contains very few nutrients except for sugar.

The texture of these two foods is somewhat different. Marzipan is tougher and more clay-like, and you can make it into all kinds of shapes. Fondant is liquid and thick, which helps icing cakes, and since there are various types, it can also be shaped differently for cake decorations.

In terms of flavor, marzipan and fondant are very different as well. Marzipan has a very nutty and somewhat aromatic flavor. The fondant only tastes like sugar and nothing else.

Because they come from different ingredients, their color is not the same. Marzipan has a cream color due to the almonds in it. Fondant is very white and allows for dyeing easily, which is why it is better for decorative purposes.

Since the textures are different, their uses might vary. Marzipan is harder, making it good for candy, baked goods, and shapes, but not for icing. Fondant is useful for icing and some decoration, but you cannot bake it.

Marzipan vs Fondant Main DifferencesMarzipanFondant
Origin Spain, Italy, and Germany France 
Ingredients  Almond flour or meal, egg white, and sugar Confectioners’ sugar, gelatin, shortening, water, and glycerol
Taste and AromaSweet and nutty flavor. Almond aroma It is extremely sweet. No aroma unless flavoring in it
UsesBaked goods, candy, chocolate, and decorative bakingIcing, sculpturing, and decorative baking 
Cost$2.99 to 12.99 per package  $3.99 to 29.99 per package  
Calories per 100 grams 458 calories 373 calories 

Is Marzipan or Fondant Healthier?

There is no question that marzipan is the healthier choice here. While it is higher in calories, it is also more nutritionally dense. Fondant is all sugar, and there are very few nutrients in it.

Because almonds contain omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber, marzipan is a good source of these. It is also relatively high in carbohydrates and sugar, so eating it in moderation is a good choice. If you are working towards decorating, coating chocolate, or creating candy, marzipan is the right way to go.

If you are trying to decorate a wedding cake or any other cake, fondant might be the best choice. It is not the healthiest, though, and many do not even like the flavor. Overall, marzipan is a better option for most baking purposes.

Conclusion

Do not make the mistake of using marzipan instead of fondant and vice versa. Now you know exactly what each food is and how you can use it. When it comes to fondant vs marzipan, you can choose either one based on its nutrition profile and what it can do.

*image by AtlasStudio&urban_light/depositphotos

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