After a short period of storage we observe craterlike crystalline formations on our cheesecake topping Why does this occur

Crater-like crystal formations in fondant-type toppings are consistent with the formation of sucrose hydrate (Cauvain and Young, 2000). Localised white spots or streaks are the result of the formation of sugar crystals larger than those present in the mass of fondant. The presence of materials that might cause the fondant to 'seed' and form sugar crystals which then grow accentuates the problem.

Crystal growth can be retarded by increasing the level of glucose syrup in the fondant. The inclusion of glucose syrup in the simple syrup form used for thinning the fondant may prevent this seeding. A typical recipe for such syrup is:

The ingredients are brought to the boil and allowed to cool before use.

Care should be taken that the fondant is tempered correctly and not overheated (i.e. above 43 °C, 110°F) during preparation. Preparation tanks should be inspected to check that a crust of hardened fondant has not formed round the rim as this can act as a source of 'seed' crystals for sugar crystallisation. Similarly any superfluous icing sugar or other material can cause the fondant to seed and form sugar crystals. Minimising moisture loss from the product can also alleviate the problem by preventing the localised sugar concentration reaching the point where recrystallisation is likely to occur.

Pitting and graining on the surface of iced toppings can sometimes be seen and leads to loss of sales. These are caused by the multiplication of osmophilic yeasts. From a hygiene viewpoint cleaning all surfaces that come into contact with such coatings, including all vessels used to hold or transport them, the bain-marie, all working surfaces, small containers and utensils, can minimise the uptake of spoilage organisms and materials which might cause seeding later. It is recommended that no left-over material is used as it is often the source of such problems.


CAUVAIN, S.P. and YOUNG, L.S. (2000) Bakery Food Manufacture and Quality: Water control and effects, Blackwell Science, Oxford, UK.

Continue reading here: Why is a small amount of bicarbonate of soda added to pikelet batters just before baking

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