When sitting down to talk cake with your designer, it's good to know what's on your plate before you eat it! Here is the bride's guide to all things sweet: the most popular icings used on today's wedding cakes:
This is a sugar dough that is rolled out and applied over the cake, creating a matte smooth sugar canvass which allows your cake designer to create many wonderful designs. Fondant can be tinted any colour and flavoured with things such as vanilla bean or white chocolate. It is the ideal medium for many complicated cake designs and for cakes being displayed during the warm summer months. The fondant keeps the cake inside insulated and moist.
This is a sinfully rich icing that is made from chocolate (white, milk or dark) and heavy cream - just like the inside of a truffle. It can be shiny or matte and used as a filling or an exterior finish. Because it is so rich and dense, it is best not to pair it with a delicate cake.
Modeling Chocolate/CocoaDough/Chocolate Plastique/Chocolate Paste:
This is a mixture of chocolate (either white, milk or dark) and corn syrup which creates a wonderfully pliable substance that can be tinted many colours, used to make edible decorations and flowers, and even to cover cakes.
Traditionally used to finish fruit cakes, royal icing is a sugar icing made from egg whites and icing sugar. It is the ideal icing used for intricate piping and detailing, and can be used white or tinted to any colour needed. When dry, it is very firm and fragile.
This is the traditional style icing that you would find in a grocery store bakery. It is a frosting made from icing sugar, shortening or sometimes butter, and sometimes a liquid such as milk or hot water. This icing is firm, very sweet, and holds up very well in hot weather if made with shortening. It is very white in colour and can be tinted to any colour you can imagine, it can also be flavoured with extracts or chocolate.
A soft, satiny, luscious icing that can be used as both a filling and an exterior finish. The 2 most popular styles of this buttercream are Italian or Swiss. Both are made with egg whites, sugar, and unsalted butter, however the method of preparation differs between the two types. The flavour possibilities are endless, as are the colour choices. Due to the fact that this icing is made with butter, it is very firm when refrigerated and it does not hold up in extreme heat or sun, but is fine in air conditioned environments.
Gumpaste/Sugar Paste/Flower Paste:
This is a special sugar dough similar to fondant however it has the addition of additives that allow it to be more elastic and dry very firm. This is the ideal medium for making life-like flowers and other sugar decorations, it is not to be used to cover cakes.
This is a paste made from ground almonds and sugar. It is traditionally used to cover fruit cakes prior to being covered with royal icing. It is also used to mould flowers and small fruits.