Fondant wedding cakes are so smooth and perfect, they are almost like a blank artist’s canvas. There are endless different designs you can achieve with them – painted cakes, printed icing designs, using lustre/shimmer/metallics, creating textured effects, and all kinds of artistic effects. And, if you’re going for a more traditional style, fondant works really well because you can mould it into different shapes and create elaborate relief designs (like sculpted pottery, wood or stone work) or edible flowers.
As you have probably guessed, fondant wedding cakes are on the more expensive end. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it takes more time to create a fondant cake. The reason they are so smooth on the outside is because both the ganache layer underneath and the fondant layer on top are applied with such attention to detail that they are flawless. This can easily take 1-2 hours per tier. Secondly, couples choosing fondant wedding cakes tend to opt for more complicated or extravagant designs. Whereas with buttercream or semi-naked cakes, it tends to be just fresh fruit or flowers. With fondant cakes, couples often opt for sugar flowers, moulded decorations or artistic effects. All of which take a long time to create. In fact, for a single ‘statement’ sugar flower, which might be a focal rose, peony, anemone or orchid, a typical price is around £25 per flower. So one small arrangement of sugar flowers with 2-3 focal flowers and some filler flowers could be in the region of £100 – £200. You can find more information about my wedding cake pricing and how to set a wedding cake budget across my website.
Finally, I personally tend to class fondant wedding cakes as the least environmentally friendly option. A lot of this comes down to your guests’ tastes, but most people will eat the cake (maybe eat the chocolate ganache) and leave the fondant. This means kilos of fondant are applied to the cake, just to be thrown away at the end of the wedding. There’s also a balance with shelf life – in order to create more elaborate designs, cakes need to be baked earlier in the week so are often made on a Monday or Tuesday (although I bake on a Wednesday), then decorated over the rest of the week. The cake will certainly still be fresh by the weekend, but is coming to the end of its ‘best time’. With a buttercream or semi-naked cake, most designers will bake on a Wednesday or Thursday (and I will usually bake Friday) for a Saturday wedding, meaning the cake is fresher for a weekend wedding. As naked cakes are completely exposed, they deteriorate more quickly, so it’s less of a factor for comparison.