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Jun 07, 2010

Inspired by the Great Cake Debate: Fondant Vs. Buttercream


Today we tackle the great cake debate: Fondant Vs. Buttercream! This debate has been raging on for decades and now we have a battle ground for the two sides to duke it out! In my opinion they both have pros and cons. While fondant is super easy to mold into whatever shape you want the taste isn’t so great. And while buttercream is delicious, it is messy to handle and not as smooth. That being said i did have both types at my weddings. We asked wedding experts in various fields to get their opinion, here is what they had to say:

Jessica Claire of Jessica Claire Photography: I WAAAAAY prefer fondant!  It’s so smooth and clean looking, such a good base for elements that pop like sugared flowers, or other decor.  Plus, and I know I’m in the minority, but I think it’s delicious 🙂

Anja of The Knot: 99% of the wedding cakes we feature in the magazine are totally fake (as in not real cake but rather a Styrofoam mold) and are covered in fondant. Reason: During photo shoots, we’re constantly moving these cakes around from stand to stand and to various boards and plates a ton. So the Styrofoam cakes covered in fondant make it much easier to maneuver and get the shot we’re looking for. But that doesn’t mean we don’t LOVE us some buttercream – honestly. (IMO, there’s nothing better than thick fresh buttercream frosting – yum!) Most of the cakes we feature in the magazine could be reproduced in buttercream, and that’s our hope — that cake bakers from all across the country will be able to reproduce these amazing designs in buttercream or fondant, depending on what their brides are looking for and which technique they feel most comfortable with.

Amy from Vanilla Bake Shop: Here is my opinion on the BIG question…We like making both buttercream and fondant cakes equally. For logistical purposes, fondant is a great option during the warmer summer months because it keeps your cake cooler. As far as transporting and assembling buttercream vs. fondant cakes, we are really careful with both. Buttercream doesn’t have that extra protective icing shell, so if I were to chose which one was easier to assemble or transport, I would say fondant. There is still buttercream underneath the fondant, so you get the best of both worlds. With that being said, I had buttercream at my own wedding because my husband is a buttercream kind of guy! Its all a matter of personal preference and where and when your wedding is going to be. Outdoors in warm weather  I suggest fondant. Otherwise either choice is great!

Carissa from JL Designs: i like the look of fondant better than buttercream but its MUCH easier to add florals to buttercream  🙂 personally i like the trend of moving away from fresh floral on cakes and letting the pastry chef create unique textures, patterns, shapes, (argyle, ruffles, polka dots, plaid) etc. with the cakes to make them stand out on their own, without having to add flowers…OR maybe doing one huge sugar flower instead of a cascade of real flowers…or even a clustering of brooches or buttons… overall i just think less is more  🙂

Susan of Bella Weddings and Events: I like the look of fondant, but the taste of buttercream!  Even though there is buttercream under fondant, it’s not usually as thick as buttercream on it’s own.

Melody of Sweet and Saucy: I prefer using both fondant and buttercream on all of my cakes.  We use swiss meringue buttercream to cover all of our cake tiers and then roll high quality fondant about an 1/8″ thin and cover the cake.  Using this method I think I get the best of both worlds…I get great taste from the buttercream and then a perfect designer’s canvas with the fondant.  Fondant gives me the ability to do basically anything on a cake, from handpainting to intricate sugar jewels and that is just something that buttercream by itself can’t do. As far as transport and assembly, I prefer to fully assemble every cake before it leaves the shop because I really don’t like having to decorate that much onsite.  I like having all of my tools at the shop to finish off the cake and assembling onsite just wouldn’t afford me that luxury.  I only assemble onsite if the cake won’t fit in my car because of the height and then I just stack as far as I can and add on the top tier or two of the cake when I get there.  Transporting wedding cakes isn’t a fun job, but I do it because I love the end result!

What do you think? Are you team fondant or team buttercream?

Photo by Jessica Claire

How pretty are the designs on this beautiful cake! We love how each layer has a different intricate design like the florals and the pearls!

This such a creative way to incorporate floral appliques into a cake design! Love how it’s a neutral color but the floral designs still pop!

Found on Martha Stewart

The ombre pink cake is to die for! How cute is that! Perfect for a bridal shower and baby shower!

Photo by Leigh Miller

Ombre layered cakes are all the craze! We LOVE it!

Photos by Jasmine Star

We love this unique cake display on a glass box with a dried mini-tree inside! Perfect for a rustic outdoors wedding!

Photo by Stephanie Williams

Photo by Stephanie Williams

Found on The Knot

Photos by Featerlove

Found on Sweetest Occasion

Photo by Jagger Photography

The scallop detailing on this cake is to die for! So pretty and intricate!

Photo by Stephanie Williams

Photo by Melissa Schollaert

Photo by Flory Photo


  • Darcy

    I’m very much team buttercream! i hate the taste of fondant!! and I don’t like the modern look of it!

  • Christy

    fondant just looks way better!

  • LOVE the look of fondant, but like the taste of buttercream. I’d have to say I’m team fondant, just because fondant cakes are so amazing looking!!

  • As I don’t even like to eat frosting, I’m definitely on the fondant team! I love the look and versatility you get with it though there is one style you get with buttercream that I adore.

  • I think most people love the look of fondant but prefer the taste of buttercream. I think the worst thing is to try and compromise with a really stiff buttercream made of crisco to get the clean finish and it will still taste awful!

    Buttercream is generally much harder to get completely smooth, so as long as you dont mind more of a rustic look it could work…

    I dont like fondant myself, but I’m very surprised to find that lots of people, especially kids, love the stuff!

  • no contest… buttercream! fondant tastes nasty and even when it looks amazing, all i can think of is how many people’s hands were all over that cake that i’m about to eat. gross.

  • Buttercream!! When done right, buttercream can be SUPER smooth, and it tastes SOOO good!

  • Christy

    Fondant just looks so good in pictures and who really eats the butter cream anyways? great post!

  • Team Buttercream! Cake is for eating and buttercream tastes better. Use fondant only if you aren’t serving your guests cake…:) Otherwise, don’t torture them.

  • Fondant givees you the freedom to create a masterpiece, and good chef to make it taste delicious!

  • From a wedding photographer’s point-of-view, fondant looks amazing in pictures — I’ve seen some gorgeous fondant cakes! However, from a foodie’s perspective, I’d have to say buttercream — it just tastes better!

  • Buttercream all the way–with 100% Irish butter from happy cows that ate only yummy green grass! I’m a cake eater, and Christy (above)- I am the “who” that does eat the buttercream. Taste trumps looks for me!

  • I love cake, I love everything about cake and I always save the frosting for last – because to me it is the best part of cake, especially buttercream!

  • kristi

    I am 100% TEAM BUTTERCREAM! I think it takes a bit more patience and skill to decorate in buttercream only (making it almost as smooth as fondant). Plus, the taste is MUCH better than sticky gummy fondant. I like to add fondant/gumpaste decorations to my buttercream. I do all wedding cakes buttercream.

  • Audrey Green

    How do you make a tasty buttercream as I find the crisco one tastes very fatty.
    Thanks

  • lola

    I use both. A thick layer of buttercream under the fondant. If they don’t like fondant they have buttercream and the filling. Fondant is faster, smoother and easier to work with. I make my own fondant, people seem to like it. 🙂

  • Anthony Cordero

    I prefer fondant. I love the taste of buttercream as it takes me back to the cakes I used to eat as a child. But….fondant is a better medium for creating. Fondant is nasty and id never make for others what I would never eat, so I make all my cakes with Marshmallow Fondant. It’s a little harder to work with than regular fondant but the taste is great. Plus I use real butter in my buttercream, lard just isn’t appealing to me. Butter costs more but well worth it.

  • Roberta

    My family always owned old fashioned bakeries. At that time nothing was made with fondant, just delicous B/C or W/C. It makes no sense to me to make a cake that looks awesome, but tastes like plastic. Sure, kids like fondant, they love sugar. My father’s B/C was not to sweet either, you could eat it off a spoon. I only will use fondant for decorations on a wonderful tasting and pretty smooth looking cake. (Viva works great for smoothing to the point oflooking like fondant.

  • virginia

    you americand are really stuck to a very few posibilities. Here in Spain we don’t like fondant very much although it is spreading fast. Tere are much more posibilities than fondant or buttercream. Take a look at this http://www.confiteriagil.es/tienda/49-tartas. Tere are not wedding cakes but you can see hoe delicious they look.

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