Ivan Kovalenko

How to Choose between Buttercream & Fondant Icing

Ivan Kovalenko
How to Choose between Buttercream & Fondant Icing

Deciding on the perfect cake can be overwhelming! When ordering your custom cake, you will often be asked to decide on color, decoration, theme, as well as to choose between two icings — buttercream, or fondant.

If you aren’t familiar with the differences between these two icings, read on. Knowing the pros and cons of these sweet frosting fundamentals can help you choose which one is best for your cake’s taste, look, and cost.

What is buttercream icing?

Buttercream icing is made from butter, sugar, and cream. It is used to pipe designs onto the outside of the cake, and is commonly chosen for its delicious taste and lower cost.

What is fondant?

Fondant is a stronger icing that can be rolled into thin sheet, then placed over buttercream or ganache icing for a smooth, gorgeous look. It is typically reserved for classy, upscale cakes. While fondant cannot be piped, it is used by master bakers to create decorative details to achieve special effects and structural design that cannot be done in buttercream. In terms of flavor, it is sometimes compared to a marshmallow.

Both icings can be used to create a variety of different looks, accents, and texturing, but they differ in their flavor, use, and more.


Buttercream offers a variety of piped designs, including swirls, scrolls, borders, simple patterns, text and flowers. Even though buttercream can sometimes look airy and fluffy, with the right experience and skills, a cake covered with buttercream icing ends up being smooth and virtually indistinguishable from fondant — with the added advantage of lower cost.

Fondant’s versatility really shines through for decoration. Covering a cake with fondant also gives it a sleek, modern, glossy look. Furthermore, almost any shape imaginable can be cut out of fondant sheets. Since fondant is stronger, cakes with unique architectural shapes are usually created with the use of fondant, as are more detailed designs that require preciseness. If you have a specific, difficult-to-achieve look in mind for your cake, fondant may be your best option.


Buttercream can melt under the extended heat of an outdoor wedding, leading to drooping details and colorful puddles. If not watched carefully or served indoors, it won’t look its best.

Conversely, fondant stands up to outdoor pressures better. However, if left for too long, it will dry out and crack.

The key is to serve both kinds of cakes indoor, or have them exposed to the elements as briefly as possible.


Because buttercream is less demanding to work with, it often costs less, making it a suitable option for the budget-conscious buyer.

Fondant is more expensive, but if you want to achieve more sophisticated and clean look, 3D effect, higher complexity details and structural elements in mind, the expense will be worth it.

The Conclusion

Finally, when taking in consideration all of the above, buttercream and fondant aren’t enemies. If you’d like to use both on your cake, or can have it fit into your budget, ask your cake creator about combining buttercream frosting with fondant details to get the best of both worlds.

Need a gorgeous custom cake for your event? Skazka Cakes creates one-of-a-kind masterpieces in Midland Park, New Jersey. Call (201) 228-0550 to place your order today!