In Part 1 of this series, Jackie Travis explained what fondant is and how to use it properly. Today, we continue to bring you Jackie’s thoughts and insights on cake as she talks about a common battle in the cake world, “Fondant vs Buttercream.” Enjoy!
Fondant vs Buttercream
For some reason, there seems to be a battle as to which is better, fondant or buttercream? It’s as if everyone who likes using buttercream has to find something wrong with fondant to justify their not using it. As opposed to an “either/or” approach, I use a “both/and” approach. It is my opinion that both are a great icing, and used in conjunction, make for the best cake possible!
One thing that bothers me is the number of cake shops/bakeries that call their icing buttercream, yet there is not one stick (not even one teaspoon) of butter in the mix! Yes, most places, to compensate for the humidity, to get a whiter cake, to get a smooth finish, or to not spend the money, opt to ice their cakes with shortening and then sell it to the consumer as BUTTERCREAM! Added butter extract is the justification for calling it that. To me, it leaves an unpleasant residue in your mouth and smells like popcorn at the movies!
We use butter at our shoppe. Good old fashioned butter. Do we use shortening in our shoppe? Sure. But we can call our buttercream by its name because we use butter. We want a high quality product for our customer. We want them to have a memorable experience when they eat our cake. The best compliment that we get about our cakes is when a customer has eaten our cake and the comment is that they were shocked that the cake tasted just as good as it looked. Some people think that if a cake looks great, the taste must be compromised. We believe that a cake is not worth making if ANYTHING needs to be sacrificed! It better taste as good as it looks or its not worth the money!
At Let Them Eat Cake!, in most cases, this is a cross section of a slice of cake:
4 layers of cake;
3 layers of filling and/or buttercream dividing the cake layers;
buttercream covering the cake to complete the delectable confectionery treat; and
a thin covering of fondant to preserve the freshness below, providing a surface on which to decorate.
Buttercream is the glue that holds the fondant onto the cake. We like to apply the buttercream thick enough that if one chooses to remove the fondant, the cake is still intact and a pleasure to consume.
Price between fondant and buttercream makes no difference to us. If you use fondant or not, the price is the same. Having heard how “expensive” fondant may be, you ask why. Well, honestly, if applied properly, one does not use enough fondant to make that much of a difference in the price. It’s quick and gives you a surface that is immediately ready for decorating. Buttercream, made with BUTTER, is a little trickier. What you save in money by not using fondant, you acquire in labor…that is if you want to accomplish a look that is as beautiful as what buttercream can be. It is a multi step process where buttercream is applied, and then some is removed, and then more is applied…and removed…and so on and so on. Given the proper attention and tender love and care, a buttercream surface can look just a smooth as fondant, but it takes time. We believe in taking that time. The work that leaves here has our name on it and it has to meet our standards.
If you have any questions about fondant or buttercream, or would like to meet with us about a cake idea, please contact us using the “Request a Consult” tab on our page. We’d love to help bring your creative ideas to life!