Buttercream vs. Fondant: Pros and Cons for Cake Decorating

Buttercream Vs Fondant

When it comes to adorning cakes, the two most popular options are buttercream frosting and rolled fondant. Both have their own unique purpose, techniques and applications. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons of each and which works best for desired cake designs. 

Buttercream

Buttercream adds flavor, moisture, and a visually appealing finish to cakes and pastries, making it a popular choice among cake decorators. It can be used for frosting cakes, filling pastries, piping borders, and creating intricate designs. There are many variations of buttercream, some common recipes include American, Swiss, and Italian. The most commonly used flavor for frosting is vanilla buttercream, its white color makes it the perfect canvas for decorating or coloring.

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When it comes to frosting a cake, it’s essential to use a buttercream that is silky smooth when icing your cakes, we recommend using American or Swiss Meringue Buttercream to achieve a flawless finish that could easily compete with fondant.

Pros:

  • Highly versatile
  • Can be flavored with extracts
  • It can be colored with gels
  • Smooth & creamy texture
  • Easy to work with
  • Flavor control when made from scratch
  • Quick turnaround time

Cons:

  • Temperature sensitive
  • Can be smudged or smeared during or after decorating process
  • Can form air bubbles during the mixing process

Click here for a step-by-step tutorial and a delicious Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe!

Fondant

Fondant is a thick pliable icing used to cover cakes and desserts such as cookies, it is also used to create edible decorative elements. It has a sweet and delicious marshmallow taste and texture. Fondant provides a clean, smooth polished finish on cakes and allows for a wide range of decorative possibilities.The main type of fondant used by cake decorators is rolled fondant. It can be rolled out and draped over cakes to create a smooth surface, hiding any imperfections. Fondant also allows for intricate details and sculpted decorations like flowers, bows, or figurines. It can be shaped, molded, and sculpted into various designs due to its pliability.

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Pros:

  • Extra smooth finish
  • Can be colored
  • It can be painted over
  • Heat-resistant options
  • Ideal for creating sharp edges, intricate patterns, and sculpted decorations.
Cons:
  • Requires more skill to work with due to its elasticity.
  • Can be time-consuming to work with

Learn how to cover a cake dummy with fondant in this step-by-step tutorial with Justin Ellen!

Choosing The Right Option

Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider the design and style you want to achieve and assess the skill level required for the chosen cake design. Experiment, practice, and have fun as you explore the creative possibilities of cake decorating!

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