Let’s talk about wedding frosting. Or is it icing? Most people use these two words interchangeably, which honestly is totally fine, but they really are two different things. So what’s the difference? Well, frosting is usually thick and fluffy; it is used to frost both the outside and inside of a cake. Icing is traditionally thinner and shinier; it is usually used more as a drizzle or a glaze. With that said, we are going to use the word frosting as it pertains to this blog. Otherwise, I’m gonna be saying frosting – or icing. Or icing – I mean frosting…it’ll just be a whole thing. Right? So let’s talk about four options for frosting your wedding cake.
When you are deciding on your wedding cake, you want to make sure to pick the best frosting based on a few things. What’s the cake’s design? Do you want lots of details? Do you just want simple or plain? Do you want to a cascade of edible flowers? Another thing to consider is where you are getting married. Is it outdoor? Will it be hella hot? And how far away from the bakery is it? Travel distance can affect your choice as well.
So the four options for frosting that we are going to discuss today are Buttercream, Fondant, Ganache, and Naked (p.s. I always giggle when I type that).
Buttercream frosting is most likely the one that is most familiar to you; think every birthday cake or cupcake you ever had growing up! It is made by mixing butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and cream to a soft, light consistency. Of all four options we are talking about today, Buttercream is easily the sweetest tasting (so of course, my fave 😉 #allthesweet). Buttercream frosting can be colored and flavored to almost anything you want. But experts say to beware of using too dark of a hue, as it will require more dye and could affect the flavor.
Since buttercream is so soft, it can easily be put into a piping bag to create flowers, borders, and designs. Buttercream is also great for cake textures like you see above. Although buttercream will never give the polished appearance of fondant, some people actually prefer the textured look buttercream frosting gives.
Be careful of choosing buttercream frosting if you are having an outdoor summer wedding as buttercream melts easily, and will work best if the cake is stored and served in a cool, air-conditioned venue.
Fondant frosting is a wedding favorite as it gives cakes a smooth and structured appearance. Fondant is made from powdered sugar, corn syrup, and water; it is melted together to form a thick paste which is then rolled out into a sheet to become very smooth. The sheet is then placed delicately over the cake, creating the smooth, polished appearance you know. Because Fondant is so flexible and durable, it allows for the ability to create elaborate and detailed designs, such as flowers, cut-outs, bows, draping, figurines, and more. If you have always dreamed of having a very detailed, structured cake, then Fondant is the frosting for you, as nothing can compete with the smoothness Fondant can create. However, if you are on a budget, you’ll want to be careful of how much detail goes into creating your cake, as Fondant designs can quickly add up.
Not nearly as sweet as Buttercream, people either love Fondant or hate it – you’ll rarely find an in-between! Most people peel the Fondant off of their cake and opt for just the cake with buttercream interior frosting!
A fondant covered cake is also the most durable of the four frostings we are discussing today. It is definitely the best choice for hot summer weddings and long delivery distances – as it is easily the most forgiving!
Ganache is made by mixing chocolate and cream together. ↩️ Did you just read that? Chocolate and Cream. Choc-o-late and creeeeeeeeeeam people! I feel like that really is all I need to write about this.
Ganache can be spread over cake for a smooth and silky finish. While not as smooth and structured as Fondant, the look of Ganache is still smoother than Buttercream. It’s literally like the Three Little Bears – it’s JUST RIGHT!
As you can see above, white chocolate ganache has a natural-looking cream color, and we don’t have to tell you about the ridiculous chocolate brown deliciousness of the dark or milk chocolate! If you prefer color, however, you can color ganache as well to suit your wedding theme.
And staying true to falling right in the middle of Fondant and Buttercream, Ganache is also right in the middle for the best option in hotter summer temperatures. It’s more stable than Buttercream, but not quite as durable as Fondant.
Naked cakes (giggle) are cakes with no outer layer of frosting. And they have become extremely popular over the last five years. They give the opportunity to show the cake’s natural texture and whatever unique filing you decide to have. Naked cakes look and feel natural and organic; they are perfect for a vintage, barn, rustic wedding. Because there is no outer layer of frosting, you get to have all your fun with your fillings. Another option is the semi naked cake – as seen in the first image above. This still shows all the texture of the cake but provides just a little sweetness on the outside.
Naked cakes can dry out quicker than other iced cakes, so be sure to make sure it is served no longer than 24 hours after being stacked. Semi-naked cakes can hold their moisture longer, as it creates a sort-of seal around the cake.
So what are you having? Buttercream, Fondant, Ganache, or Naked? We’ll take one (er, several) of each…
And don’t forget to check out our amazing local cake + dessert providers to find out where you’re gonna get naked (I’m killing myself 😂)!
Happy Wedding Planning!