Buttercream or Fondant Iced Wedding Cakes?
If you have been searching Wedding Cakes via Google, Instagram and Pinterest you may have come across numerous icing finishes, and it may have left your head in a spin!
So today I thought I would talk about two of the most popular icing finishes for wedding cakes, buttercream and fondant.
Buttercream Frosted Wedding Cakes
Essentially buttercream is a delicious mix of sugar and butter. There are a number of different ways to create this wonderful frosting. Some recipes call for more sugar, some for more butter, some add flour and some incorporate eggs.
My favourite type of buttercream is American Buttercream, I think it tastes the nicest, it is the buttercream I grew up with, the one I love to put in between the sponges of the Vanilla Pod Bakery cakes we bake, and my favourite to decorate with. We make it with creamy unsalted butter, soft powdered icing sugar and a little Madagascan Vanilla. If we are making a dairy free or vegan friendly version, we simply swap the butter for Flora Plant butter.
Majority of the cakes we create are decorated with this type of American style buttercream, unless our customer asks for a bespoke option, like Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
I would say buttercream is our most popular Vanilla Pod Bakery icing finish and we can achieve many wonderful styles with it.
So what are the pros and cons with this type of icing:
Buttercream Wedding Cake Pros:
- It is utterly delicious, and there are a number of different recipes to suit all tastes and sweetness.
- You can achieve a number of different looks from super smooth, to rustic textured and concrete style (a hybrid of the previous two).
- You can even use buttercream to add piping details, such as ruffles and swags.
- In it’s natural state, buttercream is quite yellow in colour but we can tint it white to bring out the whiteness or add a colour with a few drops of food colouring.
- Buttercream cakes look gorgeous dressed with either fresh flowers or sugar flowers.
Buttercream Wedding Cake Cons:
- Can be tricky in extreme heat - Therefore, you may need a back up plan for marquee weddings when the British weather it between 35-40 degrees, the cake may not be able to sit out as long, or the cake would need to be set up as close to the cake cutting as possible and then whisked away to be served. Rest assure, if your wedding does fall on a super hot day, we would have been in contact with yourselves, your wedding venue and planner to make the necessary arrangements so that everything is perfect.
Fondant Iced Wedding Cakes
Fondant is a fabulous sugary dough, that is rolled out and then skilfully used to cover the cake. With it’s origins dating back to the 1500s, when it was a hard icing originally made from sugar, rosewater, egg white, lemon juice, and gum tragacanth. The current dough formation was believed to have been invented during the 20th century by the British, as a softer alternative for covering fruit cakes.
Fondant icing is a beautiful icing medium to work with, once you begin to master and understand it. For the fondant to achieve it’s lawless look, it also requires an undercoat of another type of icing, either an almond marzipan, a buttercream or a chocolate ganache. At the Vanilla Pod Bakery, we love using a mouth-watering white chocolate ganache for our fondant undercoat, unless the clients requests a bespoke option. This allows the fondant to achieve its super smooth finish. Along with the skills required to use fondant icing, the added ingredients and time involved, fondant cakes are a premium option when it comes to cake covering icing.
Fondant Wedding Cake Pros:
- A beautiful traditional wedding cake icing.
- You get a double layer of icing (the wonderful fondant and the delicious undercoat).
- Locks in the freshness so the cake can last longer (provided it hasn’t been cut).
- Fondant is a brilliant blank canvas for adding all types of wonderful embellishments, such as sugar flowers, royal icing piped details, edible painted finishes, and even buttercream touches.
- Handles the heat well compared to solely buttercream iced cakes.
- You can use fondant to model decorative elements.
- Fondant is dairy free.
- Can achieve a fabulous smooth sleek finish.
Fondant Wedding Cake Cons:
- It is super sweet - it is pretty much made out of just sugar!
- Many people have bad memories of dry thick fondant covered cakes from their childhood - I am pleased to note the world of fondant has come along way since the 1970s and 80s.
- Makes the cake incredibly heavy - so a denser sponge base is needed - it is not great with Genoese sponges.
- A skilled cake decorator is required to achieve a flawless look.
- Not all fondant brands are equal - generally speaking the premium brands taste the nicest.
Wedding cake at Ellenborough Park
Buttercream or Fondant?
Which type of cake covering will you be choosing for your beautiful wedding cake?
Let us know in the comments selection belo!
If you are like me, and enjoy reading about the history side of things, check out this blog for more on the history of cakes and cake icing - https://www.leaf.tv/articles/the-history-of-fondant-cakes/