When choosing the design and details of your wedding cake, you will need to decide what type of icing you’d like, and it usually comes down to two options: fondant or buttercream. This topic has been the source of much culinary debate, but at the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. We’re here to fill you in on everything you need to know when it comes to choosing between these two types of icing for your wedding cake.
What Is Fondant?
Fondant icing is a thick, pliable paste that’s similar to clay or plasticine in texture, and is often made of sugar, water and corn syrup. When used to ice a wedding cake, it is rolled out like pastry or dough to create a thin layer that is draped over the cake to leave a smooth and seamless finish. Fondant is also used to mould figures and decorations, or used to make cutouts, like raised dots or a lace-like overlay. It’s what’s underneath hand-painted tiers and what’s used to make stiff ruffles and flowers. Unlike buttercream, it is not used between the cake layers as a filling.
The Pros and Cons of Fondant
Con – some people don’t like the flavor or texture.
Pro – it can make unique moulded shapes for toppers and embellishments
Pro – very smooth finish, basically unachievable with any other icing.
Pro – can be used as a base for hand-painted tiers
Pro – tools can be used to roll patterns onto the fondant
What is Buttercream Icing?
Usually made of butter or shortening and sugar, buttercream icing is fluffy and easy to spread. It is also used with decorating tips to create rosettes, swirls and many other designs, and can be used as piping (the thin lines of icing used to draw lines and write words). There are a variety of types of buttercream icing, including meringue, and it is very versatile in flavor and color. It is used to top a cake, as well as to fill between layers.
The Pros and Cons of Buttercream
Pro – tastes great and has lots of potential to change the flavor
Pro/Con – softer texture is enjoyable to eat, but more susceptible to the elements (heat and humidity are its enemies!)
Con – delicate and can be stressful to transport Con – near impossible to make as smooth as fondant
So… Which Is Better?
As we stated above, choosing between fondant and buttercream icing is a matter of personal preference. First, decide what’s important to you when it comes to your wedding cake, and it will likely start to become clear which type of icing will suit your vision the best. When you choose a few inspiration photos from Pinterest or wedding magazines and bring them in for a consultation, your cake designer will easily be able to tell you which is which, and what icing will achieve your desired look. Luckily, you will often end up with the best of both worlds, as buttercream may be put on top of the cake, but under the fondant to create an ideal base for the fondant.
We hope this information has helped you understand the pros and cons of the two most popular types of icing for a wedding cake. If you still have questions, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!