Types of Wedding Cake Frosting - What Are Your Options

Types of Wedding Cake Frosting

It’s the icing on the cake, literally, that is. Or perhaps frosting would be a more accurate description. But whatever you decide to call it, your sweet tooth will love all the available types of toppings you can decorate your wedding cake with. Depending on the type of frosting used on your cake will give it a different taste, texture and appearance. It is important to understand the differences and types of wedding cake frosting and know what you like before you decide to taste test and order your wedding cake.


Buttercream Wedding Cake Icing

Buttercream is one of the most popular frostings for cakes – both event cakes and weddings. Buttercream is a generic term who's ingredients include butter, powdered sugar and flavorings. There are versions made with shortening and those made with both shortening and butter. Cakes made with genuine butter need to be refrigerated or kept in a cool place so that the decorations do not run, melt or drip. Wedding cakes with a shortening buttercream base, can withstand being in warmer temperatures. Not all buttercream tastes the same, so be sure to taste test you’re bakers recipe.

Buttercream gives the best value per slice of cake because of the ingredients used. The texture is smooth and creamy and usually not overly sweet. It is soft, easy to cut and can make a variety of different decorations on the cake.

Meringue or Mousseline Buttercream

Meringue is a smooth and creamy frosting that holds best in the heat. Egg whites, sugar, and flavorings are combined in the top of a double boiler. The mixture is gently heated while continuously being mixed. Cooked frostings hold their shape because the egg white proteins have been coagulated by the heat. Perfect for beach weddings, but it is time consuming and more expensive to make than standard buttercream.

Mousseline Buttercream is also known as French buttercream or Swiss buttercream and it makes one of the richest, most luxurious frosting preparations. By mixing egg yolks with fresh unsalted butter and a sugar syrup the taste and texture is pure velvet and silky on the tongue, and far superior than a powdered sugar icing. This is usually the preparation that is a real buttercream, not the one based on powdered sugar.

whipped cream wedding cakes

Whipped Cream Frosting

Powdered sugar, flavoring and whipped heavy cream form the main ingredients for this light and delicate frosting. Because of its consistency it makes it highly susceptible to heat and humidity. These wedding cakes should be refrigerated and brought out just before the cake cutting ceremony. Your baker can add a stabilizer such as cornstarch to help preserve the frosting so that the cake can be displayed during your reception. Better for cooler weather weddings than hot summer days.

fondant wedding cakes

Fondant Frosting / Icing

A smooth sheet of sugar paste that can be flavored and tinted to any color. The icing is a combination of sugar, corn syrup, gelatin and food grade glycerine which keeps the sugar pliable. It can also be made using powdered sugar and melted marshmallows. Fondant gives a beautiful clean finish and smooth texture to the cake. It holds up very well, but many people don’t enjoy the texture when they eat it. (It’s chewy). If you want the look of fondant, you should have a layer of buttercream underneath so that all your guests will be able to enjoy the cake. These cakes cannot be refrigerated, so you will need to discuss this with your baker, especially if you want a perishable filling.

ganache wedding cakes


This fancy term is simply chocolate melted with heavy cream. Ganache is made by heating heavy cream, then pouring it over chopped dark semi-sweet chocolate. The mixture is stirred until smooth, with liqueur or flavorings added if desired. Depending on the purpose the ganache is intended, and the temperature at which it will be served, the ratio of chocolate to cream is varied to obtain the desired consistency. This frosting makes a beautiful shiny glaze on cakes and cookies. If you want a lighter and fluffier texture with the same rich flavor the ganache can be chilled and whipped before frosting the cake.

naked wedding cakes

Naked Wedding Cakes

Naked wedding cakes have no frosting or icing on the outside and are plain cakes filled with frosting or fruit filling between layers. They typically are decorated with flowers or natural items such as fruits, and are several layers tall. Often they are sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Royal Icing, Marzipan, Spun Sugar and Pastillage

The finishing touches and decorations can be created with these decorative icings. Balls, flowers and fine details can be made with these. They can be tinted to create realistic looking elements for your wedding cake.
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