Fondant Vs. Buttercream: The Wedding Cake Icing Debate

Seriously, inquiring minds need to know

Editor’s note: We’re starting 2015 on the right foot — and it’s leading us straight into the wedding cake tasting room! This entire month, we’re devoting our Wedding Guru posts to all things cake. Bon appétit!

This kind of goes without saying, but you should know the different ingredients that go into your wedding cake. In today’s post, we answer the age-old question: what is fondant (and is it better than buttercream)?

Dear Wedding Guru:
“What’s the difference between buttercream and fondant icing — and what’s the better choice of the two?” — Fond of Fondant

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Dear Fond of Fondant:
Fondant is a thick, pliable, cream coating that is poured on the outside of wedding cakes. It looks great, but I’ll admit most people don’t enjoy the super-sweet taste. More often than not, guests will cut off the fondant and eat just the cake. The shame! Fondant is actually more expensive than other icings, which is why most bakers recommend buttercream instead for budget-savvy brides. The good news about fondant is that, since it doesn’t require almond meal, it’s the go-to choice for those with nut allergies. Plus, it’s easy to manipulate, so choose it if you’re going for some elaborate cake décor.

Buttercream has the same smooth consistency as fondant, but frankly, it’s richer and more palatable. The flavor is easy to change, too, so your baker can design your cake with your preferences in mind — anything from pineapple to vanilla and more.

Have a wedding question? Write to me at

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that fondant was “smeared” rather than poured over the cake. Thanks to our diligent readers for the update.

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