A Simple Guide to Fondant Wedding Cake

Here's everything to know from how it tastes to its pros and cons.

two tier white wedding cake with flowers


With elaborate sugar flowers, intricate icing vines, and cascading ruffles, wedding cakes can be true works of art. But if you ask the artists behind these masterpieces what their preferred medium is, many bakers will likely share the same answer: fondant. However, what exactly is fondant cake?

Fondant is edible icing that can be rolled out to cover a cake or used to sculpt three-dimensional flowers and other details. It's made of sugar, sugar water, corn syrup, and sometimes gelatin or cornstarch. Simply put, it's a dream come true for those with a sweet tooth.

If you’re going for a significant wow moment with your wedding dessert, chances are high that this important baker’s tool will make an appearance. And to learn more about this type of icing, read on for everything you need to know about fondant cake, from how it tastes to its pros and cons.

Meet the Expert

Melanie Moss is the co-founder of Mini Melanie, a Brooklyn-based cake and dessert company. She was also a former contestant and winner on Chopped, a competition television show on the Food Network.

What Is Fondant?

As mentioned above, fondant is “A lot of sugar,” Moss jokingly says. “It’s super sweet, with a pretty good bite to it.” Rather than being silky and creamy, like buttercream, fondant has a thicker, almost clay-like texture. And instead of being spread with a knife, fondant must be rolled out and then draped and shaped over a cake. 

What's more, another version of fondant is poured fondant. “It has a higher liquid content, and is used to cover traditional desserts like petit fours,” says Moss. “It’s very traditional, fancy, frou-frou, and you get a nice shine with it.” 

five tier white wedding cake with white roses

Photo by Shannon Skloss; Cake by Sugar Bee Sweets; Florals by HauteFloral

The Pros of Fondant 

Fondant will harden, which means it can endure warmer temps and still hold its shape for the entire duration of your celebration. “If you’re having a summer wedding and the cake is going to sit outside for hours, a fondant cake is not going to melt,” says Moss.

The hard, flat surface is also the ideal canvas for painted cake designs, and is necessary to make anything more geometric or angular, such as a square wedding cake. Groom’s cakes, which often take on unusual shapes, like a football helmet or a whole building, also can’t happen without the icing. Finally, fondant’s malleability is what allows bakers to create the elaborate shapes and designs—ruffles, blossoms, lace textures, etc.—that make a wedding cake feel so special in the first place.

The Cons of Fondant 

The taste and thick texture of fondant can be a bit intense for the average palette. For this reason, many wedding cake designers will either remove the fondant layer before serving slices to guests, or take Moss’s approach: “We like to make sure a cake tastes great by covering it in buttercream, and then adding on as many fondant decorations as you want,” she says. “It’s the best of both worlds.” What’s more, those fondant decorations can be removed and then preserved as wedding keepsakes.

Should You Use Fondant on Your Wedding Cake?

If you want your wedding cake to be a unique shape, resemble a sculptural work of art, or be adorned with sugar flowers or other three-dimensional structures, know that fondant will likely be a necessary part of the design. The same holds true for an outdoor wedding: If your cake will be exposed to the elements for several hours, a fondant coating will keep it from getting droopy or losing its shape ahead of your big cake-cutting moment

If you’re going for something simpler and more rustic—like, say, a naked cake—fondant isn’t necessary. It’s also not necessary if height is your only concern: A multi-tier wedding cake can happen just as easily with a buttercream coating.

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