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Wedding Cake Designs: How to Choose Between Buttercream and Fondant Icing

By: Kathryn Abrams, Editor, AllFreeDIYWeddings.com

Climbing Roses DIY Wedding CakeWith so many decisions when it comes to your big day, the cake is one of the most important and most fun ones you will make. Wedding Cake Designs: How to Choose Between Buttercream and Fondant Icing is a great way to choose the right icing for you. Like most things in life, buttercream and fondant both have pros and cons, so your choice comes down to personal preference and what type of look you're trying to achieve when it comes to your decorating your wedding cake. This sweet treat will be a focal point at your reception and it will be photographed from every angle, so it's important to pick both a beautiful and delicious design.


Beside from cake fillings and the physical design aspects of your dessert, one of the biggest decisions you will need to make is whether you go the buttercream or fondant route. Most people have already heard of buttercream, but not as many are familiar with fondant. The good news is you will be an expert on both icing options in no time at all. Your wedding cake is one of the stars of the show (after you and your beau, of course), so you want to make sure it is a masterpiece worthy of such an important day in your life. The possibilities are simply endless when it comes to wedding cake designs, but if you come up with a rough idea of the look and feel you're going for, the wedding cake selection process will be both a fun and absolutely delicious experience.

 

Wedding Cake Designs: How to Choose Between Buttercream and Fondant Icing

 

Wedding Cake Designs: How to Choose Between Buttercream and Fondant Icing

Table of Contents

Buttercream Wedding Cakes

Fondant Wedding Cakes

 

Buttercream Wedding Cakes

Buttercream icing is a traditional frosting you have probably enjoyed many times in the past. Buttercream wedding cakes are sure to be crowd pleasers, because they are an extremely popular option and very versatile. In its simplest form, buttercream is made by creaming butter with powdered sugar. Sometimes other fats are used, such as margarine or lard. Typicaly, colorings and flavorings are often added to the icing. Common flavorings include fruit purees, various extracts, and chocolate. Buttercream can be used as both a cake topping and filling.
 

Buttercream Pros:

Due to its soft texture, buttercream can be easily loaded into a pastry bag and pipe. Meaning, buttercream is a great medium for piping borders, flowers, or any other pattern imaginable. You can also use buttercream to write any sort of words you want to appear on your cake.

Since buttercream is made with fat, it has a luxurious, rich flavor many of your guests will love. After all, who doesn't love a bit of fat in their dessert? That's the point, right? The rich taste and texture lends itself well to a variety of flavorings, such as fruit or chocolate, so buttercream is a great addition to the outside or inside of your wedding cake design.

Buttercream is a very forgiving icing, so there is no need to panic if you don't get it right the first time. For instance, if you've added too much sugar and your mixture is too stiff, you can easily thin it with a little milk, cream, or water. You can reach your desired buttercream consistency with very little effort.
 

Buttercream Cons:

Buttercream can be, at times, difficult to work with and a hassle to transport. Because of its softer texture, the icing can be susceptible to the elements - especially heat and humidity. Since it is more delicate than fondant, transporting a buttercream wedding cake is a bit more stressful.

Buttercream may not be the ideal choice for those looking for a perfectly smooth and even wedding cake design. Even the most perfectly spread and smoothed buttercream will never lie as flat and smooth as a layer of fondant icing, so some view buttercream as a less sophisticated-looking option. Plus, it is nearly impossible to sculpt any sort of design with buttercream due to its soft texture.
 

Examples of beautiful wedding cakes using buttercream:

Amazing Ruffled Ribbons CakeAutumn Leaves Wedding Cake DesignsOmbre Watercolor DIY Wedding CakePerfect Petal Wedding Cake

 

Fondant Wedding Cakes

Another popular choice for wedding cake designs is fondant icing. Fondant is a great option when you want to achieve a highly molded or intricate design, because it is very malleable. Fondant is composed mainly of confectioners' sugar, water, and corn syrup. These ingredients are melted together and formed into a paste with a somewhat clay-like consistency. Other fondant recipes may include a fat, such as gelatin or melted marshmallows to achieve the unique consistency.

The word "fondant," in French, means "melting." This edible icing is melted and used to decorate or sculpt exquisite wedding cakes. Rolled fondant is commonly used to decorate wedding cakes. If you have guests who suffer from nut allergies, fondant is a wise choice, because it does not require almond meal (both marzipan and royal icing include almond meal).
 

Fondant Pros:

Fondant has a clay-like consistency, so it is easily workable and moldable. Meaning, this type of icing is well suited for a variety of decorating techniques. You can easily acheive a smooth, polished appearance with fondant, because it can be rolled and cover your entire wedding cake design.

Fondant works especially well for transfer methods, because of its smooth, flat surface. If you want your wedding cake to be highly personalized, you may want to consider a fondant cake topper. Practically and shape or character can be realized with the power of fondant.

Fondant is ideal for highly stylized designs, including cutouts. The icing can be rolled our cut out into shapes using cookie cutters and it these shapes can be used as beautiful decorating elements.
 

Fondant Cons:

Because of its stiffer texture, fondant is not well suited for piping. It is not easy to extrude fondant through a piping tip and the results are certainly not as smooth as buttercream. Keep in mind many cake professionals will purchase premade fondant, because it requires much more time and effort than making buttercream.

Be sure to store a fondant wedding cake design properly, because it will harden and become inedible. This type of icing dries out quite easily and your finished product may have cracks or tears if not closely monitored.

Unlike the versatility of buttercream as both a filling and a topping, fondant is best used as only a topping. The consistency is too tough to be an enjoyable filling.

In terms of flavor, many people do not care for fondant, because it is not as rich as buttercream. You may want to consider placing the fondant over a layer of buttercream in order to solve this problem. You will get the polished look of fondant with the flavor of buttercream - perhaps the best of both worlds.
 

Examples of beautiful wedding cakes using fondant:

Gorgeously Golden Fondant Rose Wedding CakeTiffany Blue Lace Wedding Cake DesignsElegant Ruffled Rose Wedding Cake DesignWhimsical Chocolate Fondant Cake

 

 

 

Did your wedding cake design feature fondant or buttercream icing? Tell us in the comments section below!

 

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I haven't had to make this decision yet, but my sister had buttercream. Though you can sculpt fondant, it's just not "frosting" to me, so I will always lean toward buttercream or whipped cream for any cake.

Fondant is soooo pretty, but I do not like the taste @ all. (

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