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Fondant vs. buttercream on wedding cakes: Delaware experts weigh in

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You plan to have your cake decorated in the colors and style of your wedding, but have you decided whether to ask for fondant or buttercream icing?

With rolled-out fondant, bakeries can achieve the perfectly smooth look seen on many television cake shows, yet it has a reputation for not tasting as good as buttercream.

“It tastes sweet, but some people don’t like the doughy texture,” says Jordan Serger, manager of Cake Bar in Lewes.

Buttercream has a more “rich and buttery flavor” than fondant, says Dana Herbert, owner of Desserts by Dana in New Castle and winner of TLC’s “Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker.”

Because so many guests prefer the taste of buttercream, the option of using a layer of both might be ideal. SugarBakers and Desserts by Dana both use a layer of buttercream under fondant to provide the taste and look. “Fifty percent of people eat the fondant and 50 percent peel it,” Herbert says.

Cakes from Cannon’s Custom Cakes in Newark are iced with buttercream, yet look just as “nice, smooth and rounded-off” as the more-expensive fondant, says Leah Cannon, the bakery’s founder.

Fondant can add $1.50 to $2 to the cake price per person. Even without using fondant, Cannon says, they can achieve “just about anything that a bride wishes,” creating fancy scroll work with buttercream and flowers with a sugar gum paste that dries hard and looks beautiful.

Herbert says fondant allows him to do 3-D sculpting (such as coral, shells and starfish for a beach wedding) that cannot be achieved using buttercream. Also, color can be painted only on fondant, so he can use metallics.

Brides with outdoor weddings or receptions without air conditioning might consider using fondant, which holds up better in the heat, according to Serger.

Look at photos (and displays, if possible) of a bakery’s fondant and buttercream-iced cakes. Serger advises doing a tasting, as well. With a little research, you can make sure your icing looks and tastes great. —T.G.M.

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