The Great Buttercream vs. Fondant Debate

We’ve all heard it before, the never-ending debate about which is better: buttercream or fondant. When it comes to decorating cakes, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both. Some people adore the luxuriant taste and texture of buttercream, but they find it a hassle to work with and transport. While others love the moldable, shapeable nature of fondant, but don’t like the flavor.

What is buttercream?

Buttercream is an icing mixture primarily made of butter and powdered sugar, which are whipped together to form a soft, creamy consistency. It can be flavored and tinted in a multitude of different ways and can be used as both cake topping and filling.

Advantages of working with buttercream

Its softer texture makes it easy to load into a pastry bag and pipe. This means that buttercream is a great medium for piping borders, patterns, and even flowers on cakes. It’s also well suited for writing names. Buttercream has a richer flavor that many prefer to fondant.

The formula for making buttercream is forgiving. If the mixture is too thin, simply add more sugar. If you add too much sugar and the mixture is stiff, you can thin it with a little milk, cream or water. It’s easy to adjust buttercream until it has reached your desired consistency.

Buttercream’s rich taste and texture make it well suited for a variety of flavorings, from ranging from fruit puree to peanut butter. This makes it a flavorful addition to either the top or the filling of a cake.

Disadvantages of working with buttercream

Because of its softer texture, buttercream can be more susceptible to the elements, such as heat and humidity. Buttercream is also more delicate than fondant, making it stressful to transport.

Even the most perfectly spread and smoothed buttercream will never lie as flat and smooth as a layer of fondant. Buttercream’s soft texture also makes it ill-suited for sculpting. Try making a figurine out of buttercream and you’ll easily figure out why!

What is fondant?

Fondant is a pliable sugar dough made primarily of powdered sugar, corn syrup, and water. The ingredients are melted together and then formed into a paste, which is somewhat clay-like in consistency. Recipes vary, sometimes including a fat, sometimes using gelatin for its unique consistency.

Advantages of working with fondant

Because of its easily “workable” consistency, fondant is well suited for a variety of decorating techniques. It can be rolled and used to cover a cake for a smooth, polished appearance.

The smooth, flat surface that fondant creates, tends to work better for transportation. It can also be used to create fondant cake toppers of various shapes and characters, which can add a high level of personalization to a cake.

Disadvantages of working with fondant

Fondant is not well suited for piping. You might be able to extrude some fondant through a piping tip, but it is not easy, and the results are not as smooth or fluid as buttercream. The texture of fondant doesn’t work well as a cake filling. It’s more appropriate for a cake topping.

While it’s not extremely difficult to make fondant, it requires much more time and effort than making the buttercream. Fondant can dry out easily, leading to cracks or tears in the finished product. Fondant must be stored properly, or it will harden and be unusable.

In terms of flavor, many people dislike the candy-like flavor of fondant. Placing the fondant over a layer of buttercream can give fondant a nicer flavor, however, many people prefer the flavor of just buttercream to a buttercream and fondant combination.

At Seductively Sweet Cakes and Candies, I specialize in both buttercream and fondant for all your cake decorating needs. Contact me today to start building the cake of your dreams, (907) 978-1195 or

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