You are going down your list of to do's for your wedding and have reached the wedding cake section, you open your browser and think ok where do I start.
Before you start searching for your wedding cake designer you need to ask yourself if you are a fondant or buttercream kind of person and each has its advantages and disadvantages.
What is it?
Fondant is a thin, clay-like icing most often made from icing sugar, glucose, glycerine, palm oil, and water. It dries on contact with air and creates a smooth, solid finish, and it can be coloured with food colourings.
Fondant can be rolled out easily to cover the exterior of a cake with a beautiful sharp finish. It seals in moisture too, meaning your sponge will keep it's moisture when your cake is cut. Fondant is also great for sculpting, which makes it ideal for creating decorations such as sugar flowers, bows and toppers.
Fondant is not a rustic looking cake so if your picturing a vintage type style cake, this type of icing isn't for you. Fondant also dries quickly, which can cause cracks in the exterior of your cake. And because of its hard, clay-like texture — which can be difficult to cut through with a fork — fondant does not do well as a filling between layers of cake.
Fondant has a much more sweet-like flavour than soft buttercream. Many couples find the flavour of hard, sweet-like fondant icing to be less pleasant than buttercream. Be sure to try both options at your cake tasting consultation and discuss with your cake maker which option is best for you!
The cake above is an example of a fondant covered tiered wedding cake that was made for the beautiful venue of De Vere Tortworth Court, in the Cotswold.
What it is:
Buttercream is the soft, thick icing. It’s made from Icing sugar, butter, and flavouring ( mainly vanilla bean) — and can be coloured with food-grade colouring. It can be used as both to cover a cake and filling.
Because of its fat content, buttercream is rich and full of flavour, a reason many people prefer it to fondant. And because it’s soft, it can be loaded easily into a piping bag to create flowers, designs, and piped edges. Piping buttercream using different tools and heads can create a variety of patterns and decorations.
Buttercream is soft and must be spread by hand, which means that it will never lay as flat on the surface of a cake as firm, smooth fondant. If you’re dreaming of an architectural cake with intricate designs, buttercream is not the icing for you. Buttercream will not hold well in direct heat ( sunlight, next to a radiator or marquee ), don't let that put you off there are ways of getting your buttercream cake even if the elements are against you on the day of your wedding. Speak to your wedding cake designer before ruling your buttercream cake out!
The cake above is an example of a semi naked buttercream wedding cake set up for a wedding at The Swan in, Bibury.
Ultimately, the choice comes down to the texture and flavours you want from your cake, as well as the intricacy of the design you have in mind.
There was a time when buttercream just meant rustic style, but techniques have progressed so much now that many 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!