Buttercream or fondant?

One of the questions I get most often from clients when we’re working on their design is “what’s the difference between buttercream and fondant?” Equally, “which one is better” is one of the big debates among other designers I meet. Both have their pros and cons, and with or without my input, the war on buttercream and fondant is likely to rage on.

I’ll try to avoid the sparring, and give you a little education on their benefits and usages, and my recommendations for using them. But before I explain, let me be clear that at the end of the day, it’s really all about you and your personal style. Have fun with it and make it your own.

Applying Fondant

Let them eat cake!

Some people are all about the taste of cake, and in my humble opinion, buttercream wins the war on taste. It’s soft, and sweet, and buttery. Fondant is, well, just plain sugary. It’s also a little more difficult to cut. Buttercream is great for making floral shapes and for pretty edges on cakes. Because it’s intended for icing cakes, it also works well for all of the little details that give a classic look.

That takes the cake!

Try designing a dolphin on the top of your cake with buttercream. Not a pretty picture, right?  For really detailed work that can hold up, even on hot days, fondant is the way to go.  Since it can be molded you can create just about anything with it. It also holds up to airbrushing, where buttercream doesn’t do too well. Fondant can transform a cake into anything you can imagine.

Have your cake and eat it too!

Many of the designs I create today have both buttercream and fondant. For instance, you could create a perfectly smooth surface with fondant and then add a delicate bouquet of buttercream flowers on top of it. So if you want to have fantastic design and rich buttercream there are ways to design a cake that can offer both. Let’s get creating!