Buttercream is the new fondant

You might have noticed a change in wedding cake designs over the past year or so. The Cake Engineer (thecakeengineer.ca) explains how things are changing, and why you’ll love the newest designs.

An Expert Tip by Mary at The Cake Engineer

As a cake designer, I receive all kinds of requests for wedding cakes that range from the simplest ‘naked cakes’ all the way to very complex fondant cakes.

Couples ask me all the time: Mary, what is your favourite design of cake to make? My answer for that has changed over the last 5 years. When I first graduated from Bonnie Gordon Confectionary College, I would have said Fondant, Fondant and more Fondant. I became so fascinated with how sleek and pristine fondant covered cakes looked and I was so proud of how skilled I had become at working with fondant that I wanted everyone to want a fondant covered cake. When people would want just buttercream, I would feel disappointment that I couldn’t show off my newly acquired fondant skills. But as the years have passed, my Answer would now be Beautiful Buttercream. Of course I still love making fondant covered cakes, but I have fallen in Love with the elegant simplicity of a buttercream covered cake.

The Cake Engineer
The Cake Engineer

In the last few years a lot of new Buttercream piping techniques have emerged and the possibilities are almost endless as to what you can do with buttercream these days.

Some of my most popular buttercream techniques are Rosettes, Petals and many different types of buttercream scraping which can be achieved using many different cake decorating tools in many different directions on the cake.

People ask me if they can do a buttercream cake if they want a smooth finish…they assume they can’t because they think only smooth cakes are done in fondant. My answer is Absolutely you can! I explain that the only way to achieve a smooth buttercream cake is to have a perfectly smooth buttercream finish underneath. We can then add ribbon to match your wedding colours, or even fondant accents onto the buttercream cake as well.

The Cake Engineer
The Cake Engineer

A LOT of my couples are now leaning towards buttercream cakes, partially because most people don’t like the taste and consistency of fondant, and partially because of how much more advanced buttercream cakes have become in the last few years.

Buttercream is also soft and fluffy and melts in your mouth which seems to be much more enjoyable then the chewy consistency that fondant has.

I am also often asked if all buttercreams are the same and why some are so sweet that they hurt your teeth? I always explain to people that there are different types of buttercream and that they are very different in flavour and texture.

In North America, American Buttercream has become the standard in a lot of bakeries and with home bakers as well. The process for this one is the most simple of all the buttercream types and most of the time its ingredients people have on hand, icing sugar, Butter or Shortening, vanilla and a liquid of some sort to thin it to the right consistency. This buttercream tends to be on the sweeter side but it is what you will find most bakeries use.

Instead, at The Cake Engineer,
our standard buttercream is a variation of Swiss Meringue Buttercream,
which combines egg whites with granulated sugar, is heated to dissolve the sugar, and then is whipped to a meringue. Butter is then added to the mixture slowly, as well as vanilla, and the mixture is whipped to the consistency of whipped cream.

I constantly receive comments from people on how light and fluffy it is, that is melts in their mouth and that it’s not so sweet that it hurts your teeth. From a decorating perspective, it’s also a dream to work with and can hold up to all of the any piping technique.

The Cake Engineer
The Cake Engineer

Note: a buttercream covered cake will not work for every single cake design. If you have a concrete idea of what you want, your cake designer will be able to tell you if you can go with buttercream or if the cake has to be fondant covered to achieve that specific design.

So when you’re planning your wedding cake, just remember that you have options and that beautiful buttercream is an emerging trend that is not only beautiful to look at but is also delicious.

More on The Cake Engineer | Engineering your dream wedding cake to look and taste amazing, Mary of The Cake Engineer offers “dreamed by you” wedding cakes, cupcakes, cake pops and other confections. She says that everything is made to order using the finest ingredients. Find out more (prices, packages, cake photos) in her review in The Ring or contact her directly using the form below: 

Expert Tips, The Cake Engineer