Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wedding Cakes--Sometimes Fondant Is Necessary

I've written about this before, but it bears repeating for all of you summer brides out there. If you're going to have an outdoor wedding in the summer, your wedding cake will be better off being covered in fondant, not in buttercream.

The last few weekends in Richmond have been REALLLLLLY hot. Not only has it been hot, it's also pretty humid. I delivered two cakes to outdoor receptions in the past few weeks, and both were covered in fondant. Both of the brides were reluctant to have fondant instead of buttercream, but my policy is that outdoors in the summer=fondant unless it's cool enough to use buttercream, and that's my call. It's a good thing, too, because sugar + heat + humidity= a big pile of mush.

If these cakes had been covered in buttercream, they wouldn't have survived the heat. The fondant was even looking very sticky because of the humidity, so I knew that the barrier that it provided between the weather and the cake was totally necessary. The one that I delivered last weekend was decorated with royal icing and fondant decorations, because royal icing doesn't melt. If I had decorated it with buttercream the borders would have melted and the flowers would have slid right off of the cake. It was so hot the bride decided to leave the cake inside until later in the reception (a smart choice), but even in the coolest room in the house it was pretty warm (Historic homes on the River are generally not air-conditioned.)

So ladies, if your baker tells you that the idea of an outdoor cake with buttercream in June or July is okay, question their judgment. In 95 degree heat with the kind of humidity that we have here, it's not a good idea unless you want to have the icing slide off of your cake.

I'm really looking forward to cooler weather!

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com


Jennywenny said...

Gosh, and here's me worrying about summer in San Diego!!

That brings up another point, it is so important for a baker to be realistic about what they can achieve and to put their foot down when the bride/groom wants something that just isnt going to work, or the baker wont be able to pull off well.

Kara said...

It sounds like you guys have to worry more about earthquakes shaking the cakes apart out there!

Anonymous said...

yep! i delivered a 3 tier iced in buttercream last saturday to a nice place and even tho it was inside the venue was on the river and even with the ac blasting the door was being opened and shut with all the vendors coming in and out so it was pretty hot and extrememly humid inside AND the cake table was in front of a window!!! a kid there told me that they had moved that table a dozen places before settling on this spot, reeeeaaaally???? i told him that the sun would be coming straight in this evening as it was facing west and didn't they realize when they take pictures the flash will be bouncing against the glass??? *sigh*

kara, this saturday i will be delivering that fondant covered wedding cake you referred to me that is going to berkeley plantation, in a tent on the river--boy howdy is that going to be one hot and humid reception--whew!!
thanks! cindy/cindy's cakery

Yvonne said...

Which type of buttercream do you use under the fondant? I've tried SMBC recently, because I really love the flavor, but it's been pretty soft under the fondant... sort of too soft. Although I don't refrigerate the finished cake, the spaces are air conditioned. Does this mean that I need to use PS American buttercream :( ???

Kara Buntin said...

I use the powdered sugar buttercream, but you can use meringues. Some people use a ganache under fondant, but people around here think that's too sweet (the white chocoalte version), so I don't usually do that. Anything that you put under the fondant is going to soften up in 100 degree heat...

It can help if you refrigerate the cake before you cover it with the fondant to give the base icing a chance to harden up. I personally DON'T do that because I want to see what it's going to look like and how it's going to behave when it softens up, but it's an option.