Does anyone know the history of Fondant? When did we all start putting it on cakes? I did a search on CC to see if its been talked about before with no luck. What got me curious is that I was looking at a cook book from 1970 and it has recipes for cooked and uncooked Fondant. It doesn't describe using it on cakes but rather as candy filling or as a dip for nuts. Both recipes tell you to "knead" it so it must have the same consistency as "modern" fondant. The cooked recipe looks too complicated.
It has been in use in Australia, United Kingdom and other European countries long before it came to the U.S. Even Mexico used it in the almond paste version and what they called fondant was a pouring one.I believe it was brought to the U.S. by the famous cake decorators that came to teach the technique.
Fondant has been used as far back as the Renaissance times. As Omicake mentioned, it was a sugar/almond paste. It had similar properties of todays fondant, but it actually tasted really good. The sugar/almond paste was a version of cake covering for the poor. Renaissance users of the sugar/almond paste like it for the same reasons we do today, shapeability and elegance. If you just do a google search on ORIGINS OF FONDANT you can find a slew of information on it. Happy baking!
Some older references, particularly European ones, call it sugarpaste instead of rolled fondant.