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Fondant vs. Buttercream

Weddings

Questions that we get asked.

Q: Which is the better choice: a fondant or a buttercream frosting for your wedding cake?

A: It depends on the style and finishing touches that couple wants.

Q: I don’t like fondant, can I get the same design with buttercream?

A: It depends the design. Cake designers can create similar designs on different media, but there are some styles that look nicer and cleaner on different finishes. For instance, ruffles can be formed using buttercream or fondant. However, painted designs look better on fondant-covered cakes.

Photo by Jodie Brim Photography

What is buttercream?

Buttercream is a mixture of butter and sugar that has been creamed together to make a fluffy frosting.

American buttercream is very easy to make and the one most commonly used in home kitchens. American buttercream is made simply by creaming together butter or shortening and confectioners sugar with milk or cream. It is referred to as a ‘crusting’ buttercream because it forms a thin crust that can be helpful in some circumstances.

In the Sugar Euphoria kitchen, we use Swiss Meringue buttercream, which starts out with the creation of Swiss Meringue. The process includes using a double boiler to heat the egg whites and sugar. This mixture is beaten into a meringue and then butter and flavorings are added. We love it because of the infinite flavor possibilities and smooth finish.

Photo by Jamie Vinson Photography

What is fondant?

Fondant is extremely pliable and has a dough-like consistency. It enables cake designers to create smooth finishes and/or elaborate structural elements. Fondant is typically a better exterior option when placing cakes in areas of high humidity and heat. I know a lot of brides come to us with the mind-set that they do not like the taste or consistency of fondant, but when applied properly it should add too much sweetness to the cake and should not be a thick layer.

Photo by Katherine Miles Jones Photography

Best of Both Worlds

If you are a bride who loves the look of a fondant cake I would suggest going for it!  Buttercream (or ganache) needs to be included under the fondant layer in order for it to adhere to the cake.  Plus, there will be adequate filling between the layers to add flavor and deliciousness.  Those who don’t mind fondant are free to indulge and those who don’t like fondant can peel it off and still have their cake and buttercream.

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