Buttercream, Cream Cheese, Fondant: A Guide to Frosting

Provide a sweet finish to your wedding cake

By Kimberly A. Smith

Person icing white cake
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The perfect wedding cake is one that reflects the theme and style of your wedding and still tastes good. Choosing the right frosting is a decision based on the flavor and the look that you want to achieve with your cake. Understanding the options available can help you talk to your baker in his or her terms and end up with the cake of your dreams.


One of the classic frosting varieties, buttercream is made primarily from sugar, eggs and butter. Some bakeries use shortening in addition to butter, which can give the frosting an artificial flavor. Buttercream can be flavored with almost anything from chocolate to mint.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese frosting is traditionally made from cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar. It is the traditional frosting for carrot cake, but also goes well with chocolate cake.


Fondant is popular as a cake frosting because of its perfectly smooth surface. It has the consistency of dough, and can be rolled out and draped over a cake. While beautiful, most varieties of fondant are not particularly tasty and will peel off before serving.


If you are looking for an alternative to the usual white frosting, ganache may be a good choice. It is a combination of chocolate and cream that can be spread on like buttercream or melted and used to glaze the cake.

Royal Icing

Royal icing is made from powdered sugar, meringue powder, egg whites and water. It dries hard and is relatively flavorless, but can be used to create beautiful designs on top of another frosting.

Whipped Cream

Whipped cream is a simple topping that can be flavored in a variety of ways. However, it will not hold up in the heat as long as some of the other icing choices. Consider the location and the weather before choosing a whipped-cream cake.

About the Author

Kimberly A. Smith is a freelance writer and a contributor to DexKnows.

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