Wedding cakes range from the simple to the ornate. They can be decorated with thick and rich fondant, or with beautiful fresh flowers. Creating a wedding cake is an art, and there are plenty of artists, willing to craft the confection of your dreams, usually for a substantial fee.
Types of Wedding Cake Icing
Buttercream: A versatile butter-based icing that is easy to work with, due to its smooth and soft texture. Buttercream can take on virtually any color or flavor, and works well as either a smooth cake icing, a decorative icing, or a cake filling. The only drawback is that it melts, if left in the sun.
Fondant: A very sweet icing composed of sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin. This very thick and highly elastic concoction is rolled out with a rolling pin - much like dough - and then applied to the cake. Fondant is a very stable base for decorations made of gum paste, ganache or marzipan. Fondant does not need to be refrigerated.
Ganache: A very sweet and decadent chocolate icing. The consistency of ganache is somewhere between mousse and fudge, making it suitable for icing or a cake filling. Due to its heavy cream content, fondant can soften in high heat or humidity.
Gum paste: A cross between a frosting and a purely decorative material, gum paste is composed of sugar, cornstarch, and gelatin. Its thick consistency is suited to creating realistic cake decorations, such as flowers. Gum paste decorations are technically edible, although they don't taste as good as ganache, buttercream or marzipan.
Marzipan: An extremely tasty option for the discerning palate, marzipan consists of ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. Thick and easy to mold, this paste is suited to crafting edible decorations and, like fondant, can also be rolled smooth and used as an icing.
Royal icing: This type of icing is squeezed from a pastry bag to create intricate designs, such as piping, beading, flowers and basket weave. It does not need to be refrigerated, as it hardens when dry.
Whipped cream: Delicious as it is, whipped cream is not well suited to be a decorative icing. Furthermore, it must be kept refrigerated.
Wedding Cake Decorating Techniques
Basket weave: An icing technique that emulates the woven look of a wicker basket. The latticework technique produces a similar effect.
Cornelli: This intricate piping technique produces a lacy pattern.
Dotted swiss: This technique yields hundreds to thousands of tiny dots, producing an effect similar to the fabric, which it is named for.
Piping: This term refers to the general process of applying icing with a pastry bag. Piping can produce a wide variety of designs.
Pulled sugar: The process of boiling and then crafting sugar to create decorative details.
Unique Wedding Cakes
Cupcakes: Why not dodge that caterer's cake-cutting fee by building a tiered formation of your favorite kind of cupcakes? A fun and unusual option, you can even personalize your cupcakes with each of your first initials.
Cheesecake: Although this option is slowly catching on among the chic set, cheesecake is still an unusual enough idea to provoke surprised and delighted reactions in your guests. Cheesecake is rich enough to stand alone as a dessert at your reception - no need to purchase that extra meal course from the caterer.
Torte: Sophisticated and decadent, this dense, flourless cake will have your guests salivating. Like cheesecake, a torte doesn't need to be supplemented by an additional dessert course or table.