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Wedding Cakes.. Buttercream vs. Rolled Fondant

Wedding cakes over the years have been a centerpiece to the wedding reception. Now more than ever in our world of Pintrest, Facebook, Twitter, the Food Network, etc. everyone is into cake decorating and getting the coolest cake they can get whether it’s for a wedding cake, birthday cake, shower or any occasion cake. Although one of the biggest questions that comes up is do we want the cake iced in buttercream or covered in rolled fondant? Here are some answers to the most popular asked questions about the topic and tips to help you come to your conclusion!

Will buttercream icing hold up at my reception, indoors and / or outdoors?

Normally yes. There are many different recipes for buttercream icing. You need to speak with your chosen cake decorator to see what the limitations are to the recipe they use. For example, our recipe, when cold is hard like butter. When it comes to room temperature it’s smooth and creamy, just like butter. It can withstand being set in a reception room for hours and depending on the heat and maybe more importantly the humidity of the day will let you know how long it can be outside. I always suggest for outside weddings to do your ceremonial cake cutting part of the reception just as you come into the reception before you sit down to eat. This way, the cake can still sit there if everything is ok but it can also be taken away if it’s too hot or humid outside.

What is the taste difference between rolled fondant and buttercream? I have heard that rolled fondant tastes gross, does it?

Every cake decorator does things differently but most have a layer of buttercream underneath the fondant, a crumb coat it’s called. Rolled fondant is definitely an acquired taste. In easiest terms, it doesn’t taste bad- it’s a sugardough, sugar isn’t a bad taste. I think what most people don’t like is the consistency- its chewy. So if you were expecting to get a smooth icing in your mouth and you get a chewy dough, that’s what throws people off. If you choose fondant to cover your cake, it does not affect the flavor of the icing or the flavor of the cake, it’s basically an outer coating. Some people choose to eat it, some just peel it off and place it to the side of their plate.

What is the cost difference between fondant and buttercream?

Cakes that are covered in rolled fondant and possibly some that just have fondant decorations on them are generally more expensive then cakes that are iced in buttercream. Rolled fondant is a very expensive ingredient first of all. Secondly, it takes more time and a bit more skill to work with fondant so you are also paying for the artistic value of your cake.

My best advice is to keep an open mind about the decoration of your cake. Understand and utilize your decorator's skills and experience to make the best possible cake for you. It is definitely a centerpiece to your wedding reception. Don’t sweat the decision, have fun planning!

I started Delectable Delights as a side business to make a little extra money when I started at Penn State as the Assistant Pastry Chef. 19 years later, I’m now the Executive Pastry Chef at the Penn State Bakery and my husband Keith and I along with our children, continue Delectable Delights out of our Centre Hall home. We have done thousands of wedding, birthday and special occasion cakes along the way. We hope the tradition will continue on for many years to come.

Heather Luse Delectable Delights

332 North Pennsylvania Avenue

Center Hall, PA 16828

(814) 364-2995

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