By Purba Ray Sep. 17, 2019
You remember that gym hottie you were eyeing for weeks? And how when he finally opened his mouth to crack a joke, your world fell apart. Fondant cake is no different. It’s got the looks, but you take a bite and you know what disappointment tastes like.
Dear millennials, infamous for killing everything from the auto sector to honeymoons, I have a fervent request for you: Can you please kill the fondant cake already? You went ahead and made the humble breakfast cereal redundant. So why on earth would you spare the fucking fondant cake that tastes like play-doh? Or even worse. (I’d have done it myself, but I’m 50 and don’t have your superpowers.)
Made of sugar, water, gelatin, vegetable fat, and glycerol, fondant is like a bed sheet that is used to turn a cake into a work of art. But do you eat everything that looks pretty? Then you might as well eat the fancy plate it’s served on as well.
Fondant cake is so bad, it actually comes with instructions for how not to eat it. Don’t believe me? Google it and you will find out – you are meant to peel off the fondant layer just like an orange, and then eat the cake. But unlike an orange peel, you can’t use it as a conditioner.
It’s great that someone with too much time on their hands came up with this idea of ruining a perfectly good cake. “Ooh let me mummify it with layers of sweetened saw dust and make it the cover girl of cakes!” You run toward this vision in slow-mo with the idea of devouring it and then discover it tastes like disappointment.
Fondant is like foundation for an uneven skin tone. It bestows a simple looking cake with a Fair & Lovely makeover. One moment you have in front of you a plain, rustic blob of flour and egg. A few cowpats later it’s a blemish-free, Insta-worthy sophisticate that you want to take out for a dinner date, give a job to, and click a selfie with. I am not denying that fondant has got the looks, just like the gym hottie you’ve been eyeing for weeks. But when he finally opens his mouth to crack a joke, your world falls apart. Fondant also comes with a secret superpower – of putting you off cakes forever.
I am not denying that fondant has got the looks, just like the gym hottie you’ve been eyeing for weeks. But when he finally opens his mouth to crack a joke, your world falls apart.
Of course you don’t know it at first. Like me, you pounce on a pretty cake like a starving hosteller. You then discover it tastes no different from what the college canteen sold as “idli”. But you are a fool who refuses to give up. You make a beeline for it at every celebration until you get inebriated at your dad’s second cousin’s son’s wedding anniversary party and vow to speak nothing but the truth. And you utter the seven words that are enough to make the family disown you: “The cake’s dry and dull as cardboard.”
But the silver lining in this dark, murky cloud of despair is the satisfaction of discovering you are not the sole member of Club Disappointment. Fondant cake and its lack of taste is so legendary it has inspired “fuck fondant cakes” subreddits.
Soon you become an anti-fondant crusader, but somehow you can’t get rid of this monstrosity pretending to be a cake. Fondant cakes are what Punjabi numbers are to every Delhi party – a necessity. They are unavoidable, like the pushy aunt at every wedding who grills over you why you aren’t having kids yet. Fondant is that embarrassingly misogynist relative in every family WhatsApp group; you expend all your energy trying to ignore him, yet there he is, at Pammi Aunty’s 25th Happy Birthday Party (being celebrated for the 20th time), sitting haughtily on a table covered with a satin spread waiting to be sliced into small pieces. Not Pammi Aunty, but the cake.
Once upon a time, I looked for an excuse to stuff my face with dark truffle, unpretentious pineapple, and freshly whipped strawberry cakes. Not anymore. Not since some genius decided to turn a cake into a 3D Hallmark greeting card that’s meant to convey feelings. A cake is not meant to tell a story, you fools! Leave that to struggling authors.
Despite the offensively bland taste, you could make do with the looks if you were superficial enough. But now cakes designed like a bust that looks exactly like Pammi Aunty, stern in her jooda, her all-knowing eyes carved out in fondant dyed with squid ink, are enough to turn you into stunning zombie, trying to throw up in the corner.
But even that’s not enough to stop people from asphyxiating the poor thing under layers of coloured gunk. What can I say: Click enough pics and post it with a caption that reads more like an Oscar speech. Don’t forget to thank your mom, your dad, and your neighbour’s dog who ate most of it.
Nearly funny, almost liberal, rarely serious, Purba likes to keep a safe distance from perfection. Unfortunately she has an opinion on everything, fact or fiction, beginnings or ends, light or heavy, long and short.