When it comes to weddings cakes there's so much choice these days. Once upon a time wedding cakes were all fruit cake and decorated in royal icing, and more recently fondant. Personally I love a good boozy fruit cake, but for a wedding on top of all of the other food served it can be a little heavy. Today there are two main styles of wedding cakes fondant or buttercream, though ganache is also an option. Though fruit cake is still an option with fondant, sponge cakes tend to be the cake of choice, and with an Italian meringue buttercream, you can't get much better. We've compiled six reasons why you might want to consider a buttercream finish to your wedding cake.
1. Light, soft & creamy and can be flavoured however you like
There are so many types of buttercream, the most popular for wedding cakes are the meringue buttercreams. The added meringue creates a velvety and light buttercream that is wonderfully delicate so is perfect for cakes for special occasions such as weddings. The Italian version uses a hot sugar syrup to cook the egg whites while the beat, this adds extra stability to the buttercream compared to other buttercreams, allowing it to be much more heat-stable, which makes it perfect for summer weddings. Even on a hot day, that cake will hold its ground, so long as you don't put it in a south-facing window that is. Unlike fondant, you can flavour buttercream with anything from classic vanilla to raspberry puree or caramel, or even peanut butter.
2. Not so sickly sweet
Fondant icing and royal icing are pretty much just sugar. Even a classic American buttercream will usually be at least 50% sugar, but usually closer to 75% or more. That's so much sugar, and it can be just too sweet for cake. Meringue buttercreams use a fraction of this usually between 15-40% depending on your preference. This gives a much more delicate and creamy flavour and allows for other flavour profiles to come through. And if your guests are at all worried about their sugar intake, they can treat themselves a little without having to worry quite so much.
3. Tiers can be taller and sponges can be lighter
Fondant is quite heavy, so requires a firm sponge to support it and a sturdy ganache usually rather than a buttercream underneath. It's also a little trickier to create taller tiers because of this. With buttercream you can opt for lighter more delicate sponge cakes, without worrying about whether they will be able to support the decoration. In recent years, trends have shifted towards taller cake tiers, one of many reasons why buttercream has become more popular.
4. New modern decoration styles
When you think of buttercream wedding cakes I bet you think of naked & semi-naked wedding cakes. Over the past 7 years, this trend has really helped increase buttercream popularity, as they can be simple & rustic or with a touch of elegance. Over the last two-three years buttercream has had a reinvention, no longer is it just for naked cakes and birthday cake, but new decorating techniques are being developed all the time all over the world to elevate buttercream cakes to the level of any fondant wedding cake. New piping techniques means that floral designs look so much more realistic than they did a few years ago, and the trend for handpainted and sculpture painting cakes have turned buttercream into an art form. Anything you can do with oil paint or acrylics you can do on a cake with buttercream.
5. Works great with edible flowers and fruit decoration
People care more and more what goes into their cake but also what it's decorated with. Sustainable eco weddings and natural wedding cakes are becoming more and more popular, and buttercream lends itself so well to these trends. Simple fruit and edible flower decoration is the perfect choice for eco-wedding themes. Safe for all your guests and no need to worry about floristry wires or plastic. What could be better than that, oh and they just smell amazing too!
6. It won't get left on the side of the plate.
Now some people do love fondant icing, my sister, for instance, will eat all of her own fondant and marzipan and then pinch everyone else's of the sides of their plates. But most just peal this off and throw it away. I think this is a shame and a waste of food personally. Much better to choose something that tastes good and complements the flavour of your cake.
I'm not sure anything can really beat a soft and delicate buttercream wedding cake. From rustic naked cakes to elegant handpainted floral masterpieces you are sure to have a showstopper that has all your guests in awe. Just make sure you ask your caterers to save you some back, as the last thing you want is all your guests polishing off that delicious cake and you never getting a slice yourself!
If you want to learn more about buttercream wedding cakes, take a look through the rest of our blog or our website. If you are getting married in Cornwall and would like to sample some of our scrummy buttercream wedding cake flavours head to our consultations page for more information.