This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

Wedding Cake 101

Sitting down with your future hubby for a decadent cake tasting is one of the best perks of wedding planning. But it’s important to know a little wedding cake lingo to help you make the right decisions when it comes to your big day dessert! Is fondant for you, or will buttercream be better? From icing options to the decorative details, get schooled on these key cake words:

Fondant is a very popular icing choice for wedding cakes. Its consistency is smooth, firm and elastic. Made of sugar, corn syrup and gelatin, fondant is rolled out and then draped over a cake creating a porcelain finish. Fondant keeps a cake fresh for days and can withstand heat (take note summer brides!). Known for its durability, fondant can be molded into beautiful decorative accents, creating a modern, sleek wedding cake design.

Unlike firm fondant, buttercream is a soft, creamy icing that easily smoothes over a cake. This blend of sugar, eggs and butter is a delicious, versatile wedding cake finish. Buttercream is the perfect consistency for decorating and fillings as well. But beware of extreme heat! If you’re having an outdoor summer wedding, light, fluffy buttercream frosting may not be the best choice.

Denser than mousse, this rich mixture of chocolate and heavy cream can be used as a glaze, filling, or spread over an entire cake as icing. Brides and grooms who love their chocolate will really go for ganache!

Bakers use piping techniques to add detail to their wedding cakes. A pastry bag is used to squeeze frosting through a narrow opening to create beautiful decorative designs like petals, flowers, leaves, rows of dots, swirls, and more. Piping can create dramatic designs over the entire cake, or add subtle, sweet details. It’s all about your personal style. So be sure to discuss the look and feel you’re going for with your cake maker.

Swiss Dots
Perfect for a classic, sophisticated bride, this piping technique forms tiny dots in patterns, resembling a traditional dotted Swiss fabric. Although wedding cake trends come and go, this look will always be a bride favorite.

Latticework is an icing design where lines of piping crisscross. The thickness and style of the piping can be adjusted based on your preference, creating many different looks.

Pillars, made of plastic or wood, are used to separate tiers of cake.

Jessica Solloway is a Washington, DC based writer and producer. From wedding planning to work, dating to dieting (and everything in between), she enjoys writing about lifestyle topics women want to know about. Jessica received her degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Check out her blog, The Savvy Mrs.