One of the first things to consider when deciding on your Wedding Cake design is whether to choose Buttercream or Fondant. The decision between Buttercream and Fondant is often based on how you would like your cake to look, or how you would like it to taste overall, but I also think it is a great idea to consider the aesthetics of your wedding venue and what style of cake would suit the surroundings. For example, rustic style buttercream and semi-naked cakes are perfect for Barn and Country Weddings, whereas an elegant fondant wedding cake is perfectly suited to a beautiful Country House or Luxury Hotel venue.
Both options have their benefits and drawbacks so read on to find out more….
Buttercream cakes are ideal for a Rustic Wedding setting and lend themselves well to an “imperfect and unfinished” look - think Harry & Megan's wedding cake
Buttercream works beautifully with fresh flowers and organic edible flowers
Buttercream can be made in a variety of flavours to suit your wedding cake flavour choices
Buttercream can often be a more cost effective option
It does not fare well in warm and humid weather so would not be recommended for weddings during the warmer summer months, particularly if your wedding is outdoors or in a marquee
Your cake will already be filled with buttercream and compotes so if you are not a huge fan of buttercream, you may find the taste is too much to have buttercream covering the cake as well
Colouring buttercream can be limited as it can be more harder to achieve deeper colours. The base of buttercream is yellow due to the butter content so this can make achieving some colours a little more challenging
The finish won't look as smooth and polished as a fondant cake
When I make Buttercream and Semi-Naked Cakes I always use Swiss Meringue Buttercream. This is made by heating egg whites and sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved, then beating in butter to achieve a deliciously smooth and fluffy texture which tastes delicious! It works beautifully for cake fillings as well as cake covering and lends itself really well to having pretty much any kind of flavour adding to it, making it incredibly versatile. However, for Cupcakes I use a traditional American Buttercream made with butter and icing sugar as it holds it's shape and dries to a slight crust so works much better when creating those beautiful cupcake swirls.
Fondant creates a smooth and flawless finish and allows for lots of textured designs and finer details
It creates the perfect base for hand crafted Sugar Flowers
Fondant provides a more stable surface than buttercream and makes transportation much easier
Withstands much better in warmer weather and climates
Fondant seals in moisture keeping the cake fresher for longer than buttercream cakes
Can achieve a bright white cake which is much more difficult with buttercream due to the yellow base colour of the butter
It is a more expensive option as high-quality fondant can be quite pricey
Some people don’t like the taste of it and find it too sweet
My fondant covered cakes are made with Swiss Meringue Buttercream fillings and a light covering of Belgian White Chocolate Ganache under the Fondant. The ganache has a delicate flavour and dries really firm to provide a lovely smooth and solid base for the fondant to be applied to, which enables a beautiful flawless finish with clean sharp edges for a contemporary look. The high quality fondants available on the market now are much less sweet than they used to be and have more of a subtle vanilla flavouring to them. They are also capable of being rolled out incredibly thin so the good old days of thick layers of icing on cakes are thankfully no longer!
As a Wedding Cake Designer who loves the modern and contemporary look, fondant will always be my preferred choice to work with. I love the smooth finish achieved with fondant as it provides a much firmer structure to the cake making it much easier to transport. It is also more forgiving and allows more time to work with the cakes prior to delivery as the fondant "seals" the cake and keeps it fresher for much longer than a buttercream covered cake. For those who say that they don’t like the taste of fondant, unless you have an outside slice of the cake, the fondant you will have will be so minimal you will barely even notice it. A traditional wedding cake serving is 1” x 1” so there would only be a 1” fondant square on the top of the serving which can easily be removed without too much waste.
So there you have it, my little round up of the Buttercream V's Fondant Debate! Did you find this blog post helpful? If so, share it with someone who may benefit from the information provided or leave me a comment below, I would love to hear from you!