You’ve selected the shape, style, flavor and filling for your wedding cake. Now it’s time to decide how to ice your cake. Consider the frosting the finishing touch for your confectionery whether it’s a classic tiered cake or individual cupcakes you serve your wedding guests. Having an outdoor wedding? Remember, avoid icings that melt like butter cream or spoil like whipped cream.

Taste

Selecting an icing is a chance for the bride and groom to express their individual style, get creative, customize the ordinary or stick with the traditional. Your baker or cake designer will give you icing options from America’s favorite butter cream frosting to Marzipan, the classic sweet European almond paste. Each variety icing has its own unique qualities just like a fabric for your wedding dress. To help you get started, here’s an easy guide to common icings used to decorate the bride and groom’s wedding cakes:

Butter Cream

A smooth, creamy texture paired with a not-too-sweet taste makes butter cream the most popular frosting for wedding cakes. Brides favor white butter cream frostings. But you can make the icing any color or flavor. Butter cream is ideal for creating cake decorations like rosettes and swags. Best of all, it’s easy to cut and very affordable. Caution: Unfortunately, left outside in high heat or humidity or under harsh lights, genuine Butter Cream icing can drip, run or even melt.

Rolled Fondant

Looking for your wedding cake to present an elegant, polished look? Request a Rolled Fondant icing. The sweet frosting, made of sugar, corn syrup and gelatin is rolled out in sheets like a pastry crust. Then it is carefully draped over the cake before being smoothed to fit the cake’s contours. You’ll pay more for rolled fondant than butter cream, but it may be worth the extra expense. Caution: Avoid refrigerating rolled fondant. That means a rolled fondant won’t work with on wedding cakes with ingredients that must stay on ice like a whipped cream or custard filling.

Royal Icing

This meringue based icing is created by beating sugar and egg whites that then dries to a very hard plaster-like finish. Cake designers favor the soft paste icing because it requires no refrigeration. That way they can make in advance intricate decorations like bows and lace patterns and put them on the wedding cake when it’s ready.

Gum Paste

Usually a mixture that includes powdered sugar, cornstarch, water and gelatin, or another hardening substance. Gum paste is sometimes called Pastillage or roll-out icing. The thick, paste, when rolled out, works like malleable clay allowing bakers to create life-like fruits, ribbons and flowers. Caution: While the miniature decorations made with gum paste look artistic and enticing, they don’t taste great.

Marzipan

For centuries, Marzipan, a super sweet paste of ground almonds, sugar and egg whites, has been a favorite around the world for creating colorful decorations. Marzipan can also be rolled in sheets to cover a wedding cake. Bakers and cake designers often color the paste into decorative shapes they paint with food coloring. Sometimes, marzipan is layered between the cake and royal icing.

Ganache

This mixture of semisweet chocolate and heavy cream is perfect for the chocolate lovers. Pour Ganache over a cake for a dark, glass-like finish. Ganache can be made in a range of thickness. The more cream the softer the Ganache icing will be on your cake. Some bakers add oils or extract to flavor the icing. Caution: Ganache often and slides off the cake in humid weather.

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