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Officially disappointed with 'The Mat'.

post #1 of 121
Thread Starter 
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.
post #2 of 121
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?
post #3 of 121
Found it (or one version at least), here's a link and a pic:

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

Image
post #4 of 121
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.)
post #5 of 121
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
post #6 of 121
just curious were you using MMF, i had a terrible time with mmf sticking to a wilton silicone mat.
post #7 of 121
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.
post #8 of 121
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.
post #9 of 121
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!
Sugar, spice & everything nice!
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Sugar, spice & everything nice!
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post #10 of 121
I don't like using shortening to roll out fondant, it just sticks more.
post #11 of 121
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.
post #12 of 121
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!
Sugar, spice & everything nice!
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Sugar, spice & everything nice!
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post #13 of 121
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...
post #14 of 121
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!
post #15 of 121
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.
Sugar, spice & everything nice!
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Sugar, spice & everything nice!
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