Wedding Cake Vocabulary 101: Everything You Need to Know Before Meeting Your Baker


There's a lot more to ordering your wedding cake than deciding between chocolate and vanilla. Whether its the size and scale of your confection or the type of frosting and décor you prefer, you'll need to be equipped with a special set of vocabulary that many non-bakers don't recognize before their nuptials. Here, an arsenal of words and their meaning, which will help you in choosing your dream wedding cake.

Most wedding cake vocabulary refers to the type of icing (yes, there's more types of frosting than Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker canister). A few of the most common types of frosting are buttercream, fondant, whipped cream, royal icing, and spun sugar, pastillage and marzipan.

Buttercream is popular because it gives you the most value per slice. This frosting is sweet and creamy and smooth making it easy to cut and perfect for complementing a variety of flavors. If you're leaning towards buttercream, just know it's made with real butter and will be need to be kept cool.

Fondant is a very popular icing for wedding cakes because it's a really great base for decoration. Made of sugar, corn syrup, gelatin and glycerin it can be rolled into sheets and wrapped around each tier of the cake. It's extra sleek and hard, again, making it easy to paste flowers or any other additions on top of it.

Whipped cream is probably the most familiar finish for your confection, consisting of a very light and soft texture. It's not the most malleable, and will need to be kept in a cool environment as well.

See more: The 50 Most Beautiful Wedding Cakes

Royal icing is most often used for decoration because it's smooth upon application but then hardens later (think latticework, beading, and flowers). It will never be used for covering the entire cake.

Pastillage, marzipan and spun sugar are all decorative icings made from — you guessed it — sugar. Spun sugar is caramelized so that it's pulled into strands to make embellishments like bows. Pastillage is more like a paste (like fondant its make includes gelatin and corn starch) and will dry a lot harder than spun sugar. Marzipan is also paste-like but instead made from ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites and will often be painted with food coloring.

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