When choosing the type of wedding cake you want, one of the first things you’ll need to decide is whether you’re a buttercream or fondant kinda person.
Now if you’re sat there confused because you thought there was just one type of cake- the delicious kind- then allow me to enlighten you.
I’m talking about frosting, icing, covering, decoration, whatever you call it, it’s the stuff that covers your cake and gives it a certain look and flavour. Buttercream is a combination of butter and sugar whipped together to make it smooth and spreadable, whereas fondant is a combination of powdered sugar, water and glycerine to make a paste that can be rolled thinly.
Buttercream cake by Anges | Fondant cake via Cup a Dee Cakes
There was a time when hard-setting royal icing was the only decorative option when it came to your wedding cake, but thankfully rock hard slabs of hardened sugar have fallen out of favour and your guests can hold onto their teeth a little longer.
Chocolate ganache and naked are also modern cake finishes to choose from, but today I’m going to look at Mr and Mrs popular. Ever since Americans started decorating cakes with them, this duo has been battling it out around the world because they each have their own merits when it comes to decorating cakes:
Image by Sugarbliss Cake Company
- Super smooth and silky finish thanks to rolling it out thinly
- Soft and chewy to eat, even after a few days
- Brilliant white colour for classic wedding cakes or can be coloured very vividly
- Great blank canvas to decorate in different ways
- Seals in moisture by acting like an air tight container
- Super sweet, you can’t escape that it’s nearly 100% sugar
- Artificial smell and flavour that can overpower the cake
- Needs a skilled baker to carefully handle otherwise it looks terrible
- Heavy and weighs down light cakes, limiting your choices to denser recipes
- Delicious and creamy, the butter mellows out the sweetness
- Can be flavoured by almost anything to enhance instead of fight the cake flavour
- Not too sweet, especially a variety like meringue buttercream which has less sugar
- Lightweight so can be slathered on any cake
- Can be coloured with food colouring paste
- Can also be piped for texture and different effects
- Melts under high temperatures, so not great for Summer marquee weddings
- Can look messy if it’s not done properly or rushed
- Slightly restricted by the range of colours as it’s hard to get very rich shades like you can with fondant
So whether you go for buttercream or fondant on your wedding cake, it really comes down to the look you’re wanting to achieve and your personal preference in terms of flavour/texture. There was a time when buttercream just meant rustic style, but techniques have progressed so much now that many pro decorators can create a super smooth finish as if it is fondant. That’s the joy of getting married these days, you have a huge variety of things to choose from, whether you borrow from the tradition of royal icing or go for a modern naked cake- the choice is yours!