MrsNancyB1 Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 10:39pm
post #1 of

First, I want to preface this by saying this post is in NO WAY personal. Sweetwise has been truly helpful with addressing any issues that I may have had with the Mat. With that said, I need to be honest and say that I'm now officially disappointed with the mat.

I just completed a cake for Saturday, that was two tiers (8in round on top of a 12 in round). I have Sharon Z's 'flawless fondant' DVD and I use that to level my cakes, fill my cakes, trim my cakes and crumbcoat my cakes. I followed her steps for both of my cakes, and decided to cover my 8 in cake first. I put my cake in the fridge to chill for about 15 min, and in the meantime I decided to use my Mat to roll out the fondant for it. I was previously having problems with sticking and rippling...Sweetwise directed me and said that it was probably too much shortening and to just wipe it away or wash it. I decided to wipe off any excess shortening and after doing so the mat was SO much easier to handle.

I put my fondant between the vinyl and started rolling. The rolling was extremely difficult for some reason, and I actually had to get my former-bodybuilder husband to roll it for me! icon_eek.gif Then, when it came time to cover the cake, I had a VERY difficult time getting the fondant to peel off the vinyl! It was peeling, but VERY slowly. I had the youtube video right in front of me while doing it, so I could make sure to hold my mat 'taut' the way Sweetwise does it. Unfortunately, since it was taking forever to get the fondant off the mat, whatever was getting off was falling onto the cake in a very rippled way. Since no cornstarch is used, the ripples began sticking together. icon_sad.gif

When I finally got all of the fondant off, the fondant was so moist (because no cornstarch was used) that the fondant also stuck to the cake board under the cake which made for a terrible mess while cutting away the excess. ALSO, since the fondant application was so difficult, I developed a TON of ugly air bubbles all over the cake. I was SO disappointed with the result (especially after all the work of levelling, trimming etc), that I decided to roll the fondant for my 12in cake the old fashioned way. Well, it was extremely smooth to roll out the huge piece necessary for a 12in cake AND it went on so beautifully, didn't stick to anything and didn't yield any air bubbles.

FTR, I had similar difficulties with the Sesame Street cake posted in my photos. Luckily a lot of the trouble spots were situated in the back so it doesn't appear in the picture. (the cake I'm referring to in the post is not yet pictured in my pictures)

Again, this is nothing personal, it's just business. I entered into a business transaction when I decided to purchase the mat, and like any other consumer I'm just offering my honest feedback. Sweetwise has been wonderful offering her help with me and other posters and I know that's definitely good business practice. Unfortunately, I'm disappointed with the product I bought and will likely not be using it again after encountering pretty serious problems with 2 cakes in a row.

120 replies
Coral3 Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 10:54pm
post #2 of

It's always helpful to hear other people's experiences with products - good or bad, so thanks for sharing. I'm glad I came across your post because I had been considering The Mat...I'll definitely hold off on it now until I've heard more about it.

There's another system (can't for the life of me think what it's called) that involves a set of rings. You roll the fondant out on the mat, which is the rings all together, then lift the ring that is larger than the cake you're covering and lower it with the fondant around the cake. Looks pretty easy, but I'm wondering if anyone has tried that system?

Coral3 Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 11:04pm
post #3 of

Found it (or one version at least), here's a link and a pic:

http://www.sugarcraft.com/catalog/misc/fond-lifter.htm

Image

Coral3 Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 11:09pm
post #4 of

Hmmm...looks like I'm 'not allowed' to post helpful links on here. Oh well, here's the blurb they had on it (just noticed the price - yikes!):

(Mod edited to remove copyright material.)

annabanana183 Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 11:34pm
post #5 of

MrsNancyB1 I agree with you. I was so excited to get my mat .
The first thing that disappointed me was that there was no instruction sheet with the product. I know there are videos online but I would have preferred a print out too.
Any way when I tried to roll me fondant it was very hard, the sheets kept getting stuck to each other and there was no room for the fondant to go. SO I figured I'll rub a little crisco, that helped but it was still very hard to roll the fondant out and it took me twice as long to roll the fondant. Also the fact that the mats are so big they are not that easy to handle around a small kitchen table.
Sadly I don't think I'll be using it again. icon_sad.gif

sweetcakes Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 11:40pm
post #6 of

just curious were you using MMF, i had a terrible time with mmf sticking to a wilton silicone mat.

mmdiez10 Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 11:47pm
post #7 of

I have used the Mat twice with great success. I'm sad to hear others are having problems. I followed the youtube video exactly and was so glad that my cake came out just like in the video. I'm a skeptic so I was sure something would not be right, but lucky me I was wrong.

imagenthatnj Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 12:04am
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coral3

Hmmm...looks like I'm 'not allowed' to post helpful links on here. Oh well, here's the blurb they had on it (just noticed the price - yikes!):




Those two words together "sugar" and "craft" are always blocked on CC. Legal issues from long ago. Other links/names are allowed.

There's been lots of discussions on the net about those fondant lifter rings. They're just so expensive. I've read a few people have been able to make them out of plexiglass, but it has to be perfectly cut so that the fondant rolls smoothly and doesn't get in between the rings.

Suzisweet Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 12:16am
post #9 of

Hi there,
I was very excited when I saw the video for the Mat. I love to use fondant but hate rolling it out and have tried various techniques to make it easier.
Personally, I have to say I love The Mat! I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked. I put VERY little crisco on the mat (both) then wiped it back off and rolled out my fondant. Mine rolled out like a dream! It went twice as quick if not quicker then me rolling out fondant alone. BEST thing about it is that you can flip the mat, turn the mat, ect to roll as you go. This may sound weird but at times I did not actually roll, more like I was pushing the rolling pin out as it would glide over the mat.

Seeing both sides of the fondant is a nice bonus too as you can pick the side that you think looks best to be face up on the cake.

I also rolled out gumpaste to use on the Cricut and again I had success.

I have to say, with tools, some things click with me and some do not. This definately clicked with me and I will use it over and over!

My last two cakes were done using the mat (sushi and the black and white apple tree cake) They can be seen in my pics. With the sushi cake being able to see both sides worked very well when deciding on which side of my "wood" pattern looked best.

Well, I hope my opinion helped and oh yes the price was about 15 + shipping....not bad considering what cake tools cost!!

I am a happy customer!

julzs71 Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 12:17am

I don't like using shortening to roll out fondant, it just sticks more.

Kitagrl Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 12:33am

I always just use a Roul Pat mat with a lightly dusted surface (powdered sugar) and a lightly dusted silicone rolling pin. Its always worked just fine for me.

Suzisweet Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 12:48am
Quote:
Originally Posted by julzs71

I don't like using shortening to roll out fondant, it just sticks more.




Julz,
I don't like using shortening either but they suggest that you "season" the mat before the first use so I did. I have not used shortening on it since. Plus when I seasoned it I put VERY little them wiped it ALL back off.

I am not trying to change anyones mind here. Just giving my opinion on something that has worked very well for me and was very reasonably priced...considering that I also had just spent almost 300.00 on the agbay....which is also an awesome tool...just love it! An airbrush is next...had one in art school so I hope to be able to pick it back up easily!

HappyCake10609 Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 1:00am

I don't normally post (busy absorbing knowledge icon_smile.gif) But I also recently ordered The Mat and feel that I should add my review. I ordered after reading a thread with glowing reviews and being amazed by the instructional video. I just did a cake this week and used my Mat for the first time. I had the same problems you described... I very lightly applied the Crisco and wiped is clean after (before 1st use). One of my biggest issues was "pock" marks left by tiny air bubbles! I read that some people lifted the top mat and rolled directly with a rolling pin, but if you turn it over to apply to the cake, the side still stuck to the Mat has the air bubbles/marks! My fondant rolled off the Mat the way you described leaving ripples... then stuck to the cake board and table- fluffing the skirt was not possible! The first time I tried to smooth it, I made the mistake of just using the fondant smoother, which stuck- so I ended up applying some powdered sugar with my finger tips to be able to smooth the fondant onto the cake. What I DID like about the Mat is that I didn't have to rush to roll and apply my fondant, which is a HUGE help with a 1 year old running around! I don't know if I will give up completely yet... I really like the idea of the Mat, and I want it to work! But my first reaction is disappointment, and if I can't figure out how to resolve these problems I will probably not use it- or re-purpose it...

Chevy24785 Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 1:15am

I wanted to comment on using "The Mat". I think that this is the best invention for cakes in a long time. I have used this mat for over 1 1/2 years and it seems to get better each time that I use it. It is just like a cast iron skillet, it has to be seasoned and then it works like a dream.

I know that at first, I had the bubbles, etc, but I have to say, KEEP USING IT! it is great!

And I know first hand that if you have any problems using the mat, Kathy at Sweetwise is so knowledgable.

If you look at all of the pictures that I have on CC they were all made using the mat!

Suzisweet Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 1:16am

OK...again just my opinion....
There can be NO shortening on the mat at all. Wipe and wipe and wipe. I use to get those nasty little air bubbles when I first learned how to use fondant through my Wilton course...where they tell you to use shortening. I just could not make them stop! Then one day I said to my self I am not putting shortening on the Wilton mat and guess what, I have never had bubbles again. I think shortening is the culprit behind the bubbles.

I will tell you that once or twice on the first try with the mat I did actually peel the top mat back partially and lay it back down because I got a little wrinkle but that solved that problem. As far as the other issues I had none.

Before I lay the fondant over my cake I dust all around the cake (on my work table) with corn starch. I also get a little on my hands as I tend to use my hands alot and the smoothers very little. I peel off the top mat, position on my cake and begin to peel and it basically laid itself on to the cake as I pull the mat back. The "skirt" was laying in the corn starch so no sticking. I quickly smooth top and go all around top edge so it won't strech and then go on from there.

chelleb1974 Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 1:51am

Which Mat is everyone talking about?

Suzisweet Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 2:04am

go to sweetwise website and look at "The Mat"

chelleb1974 Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 2:05am

Ok, what's the website address?

Suzisweet Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 2:06am

www.sweetwise.com/buy-the-mat.html

HappyCake10609 Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 2:17am

I'm not ready to give up on it quite yet, so I'll definitely keep trying. Thanks for the tips... I thought I had wiped the shortening off pretty well, but maybe I'll lay some paper towel between the mats and roll them up to try and absorb any excess and prevent the air bubbles. I have another cake to make this week... we'll see how it goes. In the video and from what I've read they do stress the fact that a well seasoned/used Mat works better....

KathysCC Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 2:18am

You can buy the big sheets of plastic at Walmart or a fabric store and save a lot of money. It is the same thing. People have been using those sheets for years to roll out fondant. It is nothing new.

chelleb1974 Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 2:27am

Thank you for posting the link. I took a look at it, and I used to roll out my fondant very similar to that, on my silpat. I used crisco to grease the silpat, and when I was done rolling out the fondant, I would flip the silpat over and pull it off the fondant like she did in the video.

Then I took a class from Geraldine Randelsome (Creative Cutters), and she used a very little bit of cornstarch on her silpat instead of crisco. I found it much easier to roll out the fondant, and have been using that method ever since.

I also agree with KathysCC, if I were going to try that method again, I'd go buy some sheets of vinyl at the craft store and save myself some money...although $16 for that set of 2 mats isn't all that outrageous of a price.

JMHO,
Chelle

Suzisweet Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 2:29am
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathysCC

You can buy the big sheets of plastic at Walmart or a fabric store and save a lot of money.




Everyone on this site is always stressing "food safe". The sheets from Wal-Mart...are they food safe??

MrsNancyB1 Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 2:51am

Yes, I did use an excellent batch of MMF that had no cracking, no elephant skin, no sagging etc.

It *may* be the MMF, but honestly with the cost of pre-made fondant, and all of the time that goes into levelling, filling, trimming and crumb coating, I'm just unsure that I want to 'risk' using the mat and having another bad result.

I think if I really want to give it another whirl, I'll just try it on a dummy cake or something just to get the hang of releasing the fondant from the mat. However, at this time I don't think I'll be using it again for an actual cake to make.

Suzisweet Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 3:01am
Quote:
Originally Posted by chelleb1974

Thank you for posting the link. I took a look at it, and I used to roll out my fondant very similar to that, on my silpat. I used crisco to grease the silpat, and when I was done rolling out the fondant, I would flip the silpat over and pull it off the fondant like she did in the video.

Then I took a class from Geraldine Randelsome (Creative Cutters), and she used a very little bit of cornstarch on her silpat instead of crisco. I found it much easier to roll out the fondant, and have been using that method ever since.

Chelle




You are welcome! Funny you mentioned the cornstarch because going back to the Wilton class again. My teacher taught Crisco for rolling out for the cake but corn starch for small things like flowers??? Why they teach that, I am not sure...I'd take corn starch over crisco any day for both.

jagvipers Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 3:12am

I just got The Mat too and used it on my lego cake; I'm glad I had to put the 'lego's all over it, because I couldn't get it smooth - I couldn't use my smoothing tool because the fondant was too sticky. I'm going to try it again though - wipe off the initial rub down with crisco that I did a little more and see if that helps.

KathysCC Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 3:13am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzisweet

Quote:
Originally Posted by KathysCC

You can buy the big sheets of plastic at Walmart or a fabric store and save a lot of money.



Everyone on this site is always stressing "food safe". The sheets from Wal-Mart...are they food safe??




I'm pretty sure that they are. I know people who have used them for years. All plastics can leach chemicals but clear vinyl is clear vinyl and the mat looks like it is just clear vinyl to me. They are claiming it is food safe but not saying what it is made from. I don't see any proof that it is anything different than what you buy at the fabric store. In fact, I'm guessing it is the exact same thing.

Sweetcakester Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 3:15am

Just a comment. I just cover my first two tier cake with the Mat. My MMF was very dry and a little crumbly but it worked great with the Mat and the second tier I used MMF with jello it was like a large flavored marshmallow but it rolled out great. I love it and works great.. Would recommend to anyone.

BlakesCakes Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 3:24am
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathysCC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzisweet

Quote:
Originally Posted by KathysCC

You can buy the big sheets of plastic at Walmart or a fabric store and save a lot of money.



Everyone on this site is always stressing "food safe". The sheets from Wal-Mart...are they food safe??



I'm pretty sure that they are. I know people who have used them for years. All plastics can leach chemicals but clear vinyl is clear vinyl and the mat looks like it is just clear vinyl to me. They are claiming it is food safe but not saying what it is made from. I don't see any proof that it is anything different than what you buy at the fabric store. In fact, I'm guessing it is the exact same thing.




NO, IT'S NOT THE EXACT SAME THING..................The Sweetwise people have gone to great lengths to develop a product using food safe materials. They had cheap vinyl analyzed and then made sure that the materials used in their product would be safe for use with food.

They HAVE explained in more than one post about how they went about developing a FOOD SAFE product, spending a good bit of time and money on it so that people would have a FOOD SAFE alternative to the cheap vinyl sold at fabric stores.

Just because it looks the same, doesn't make it the same.

Please--- don't speak of things that you don't know about or don't fully understand icon_confused.gif It just confuses the issue.

Rae

andreamen1 Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 3:33am
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by KathysCC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzisweet

Quote:
Originally Posted by KathysCC

You can buy the big sheets of plastic at Walmart or a fabric store and save a lot of money.



Everyone on this site is always stressing "food safe". The sheets from Wal-Mart...are they food safe??



I'm pretty sure that they are. I know people who have used them for years. All plastics can leach chemicals but clear vinyl is clear vinyl and the mat looks like it is just clear vinyl to me. They are claiming it is food safe but not saying what it is made from. I don't see any proof that it is anything different than what you buy at the fabric store. In fact, I'm guessing it is the exact same thing.



NO, IT'S NOT THE EXACT SAME THING..................The Sweetwise people have gone to great lengths to develop a product using food safe materials. They had cheap vinyl analyzed and then made sure that the materials used in their product would be safe for use with food.

They HAVE explained in more than one post about how they went about developing a FOOD SAFE product, spending a good bit of time and money on it so that people would have a FOOD SAFE alternative to the cheap vinyl sold at fabric stores.

Just because it looks the same, doesn't make it the same.

Please--- don't speak of things that you don't know about or don't fully understand icon_confused.gif It just confuses the issue.

Rae




Thank you!! this was all in another forum getting old already

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