One of the most important decisions about your cake is what icing you would like to cover your cake with. Each type of icing has its advantages and disadvantages and will determine what your options are when it comes to choosing your cake flavor and the design or decorations. The three options are buttercream, fondant and ganache. Read on to find out more about each to help you decide!
Buttercream is made by creaming butter with icing sugar until light and fluffy. This is my personal favourite to both make and eat. I find it tastes much better than fondant and more easily coloured and flavoured than fondant or ganache. Drawbacks are it may have to be kept in the fridge in heat, due to its dairy content and it can’t be shaped or sculpted into figures like fondant can. It can still look very striking on rustic or naked cakes.
Fondant icing is a dairy-free icing made from sugar, gelatin and water. It is the icing which you use to create a totally smooth cake surface and to sculpt figures and designs. Fondant requires a medium to high density cake, like a mud cake or fruit cake, to support the heavier weight of the icing. A fondant cake will also require a layer of ganache underneath it to create a smooth surface and to keep the fondant in place. Fondant does not like moisture, making a shaped fondant cake in a humid environment is a recipe for disaster. Fondant is the traditional icing used on wedding cakes.
Ganache is a combination of chocolate and cream that is melted and whipped to create a rich mixture for icing. It has incredible flavour, but it has limited options for decoration, so most ganache cakes will be decorated with buttercream piping, sugar flowers, chocolates or lollies. There is also a new trend of carving ganache which is quite time consuming but can result in a visually-stunning cake. Due to its dairy content ganache should be kept cool, especially in Australian summers.