Deciding on your wedding cake sounds easy, right? WRONG! Between the look, the taste and of course – what type of frosting… you will want to pull your hair out! There are dozens of choices and endless combinations, not to mention that the cake and the frosting you choose will depend on a lot of factors; the location of the wedding, the outdoor temperature, what style of cake you want… and (of course) your taste. Having a great looking cake that tastes bad is just as much of a disaster as a delicious cake that looks awful.
For me , the most important part of the cake is the frosting so I have broken it down into three main types:
Buttercream frosting is made from butter or margarine combined with powdered sugar, flavorings, and liquid. This is by far the most popular frosting because it is easy to work with and very adaptable, plus it holds up well to humidity and temperature variations. These characteristics are especially important in the case of an outdoor wedding where there is an uncontrolled environment. If you love the look of fondant but can’t live without buttercream frosting, relax…. a skilled baker can replicate the look of fondant with buttercream.
Whipped Cream frostings are made from powdered sugar, flavorings, and whipped cream – what could be simpler? Unfortunately the whipped cream is sometimes a problem since this type of frosting requires refrigeration and does not hold up well to heat or high humidity. However, this is the sweetest and fluffiest of all frostings and is a real treat if the conditions are right. As far as the design is concerned, the possibilities are endless with a talented baker.
Fondant creates a very smooth and elegant cake covering but is less sweet and more dense than other frosting types which have lighter whipped textures. The main benefit of fondant is that, unlike buttercream frosting, in a fairly short amount of time you can have a silky, perfect-looking cake. In just a matter of minutes you can roll out your fondant, cover your cake, and smooth. You can also use fondant to create interesting shapes and figures for your cake that you wouldn’t be able to do with plain frosting. Accomplishing the same thing with buttercream frosting can be nearly impossible, even for the most dedicated cake decorator. However, fondant doesn’t always taste as good as buttercream.
There are no clear-cut rules but, consider the taste and temperature to be the deal breakers. You absolutely cannot have a cake with whipped cream frosting in the middle of July in Louisiana and you will never get the same texture and taste of buttercream frosting using rolled fondant. Figure out what is the most important thing to you and use your baker’s expertise and advice to accomplish your main goal – having a beautiful cake that holds up at least until it is cut.
Last but certainly not least – arrange to taste cake samples together. Finding a cake you both love will be a lovely memory. This is definitely the best part of wedding planning!
-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago
Leeson’s Cakes, Tinley Park, IL
Sharon’s Custom Cakes, Crete, IL
Oak Mill Bakery Chicago, IL