Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their choice for their wedding cake, it’s been all over my social media feeds. From the flavour choice and design to speculated cost.
Somewhat unconventionally it is reported that they have opted for a buttercream creation featuring fresh flowers. I have a number of bookings for buttercream wedding cakes already this year and I’m sure wedding cake designers everywhere will see an increase in requests for buttercream cakes following the recent royal announcement.
If a buttercream wedding cake is something that you’re considering here are some key facts you need to know.
- It may be stating the obvious, but in order to be called a buttercream, it must contain a proportion of butter. If it doesn’t contain butter, then the resultant product is referred to as a frosting, which is typically made with a vegetable fat.
- There are many types of buttercream available, American, Italian meringue, Swiss meringue and French meringue. American buttercream is the most common, containing just butter, icing sugar and flavourings. Italian and Swiss meringue buttercream are very similar to each other. Both are made using a cooked egg white meringue that butter is then added to. It is the specific method for making this meringue which differentiates the two. French meringue buttercream is also a cooked meringue buttercream which uses egg yolks or whole eggs. Each buttercream has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- American buttercream is the most stable, followed by Italian, Swiss and French.
- The stability of buttercreams can be an issue in warmer temperatures as buttercreams are much softer than other coatings such as ganaches. A proportion of the butter in American buttercream is replaced with white shortening to increase the stability when needed.
- With many buttercreams it is difficult to obtain a truly white shade due to the natural yellow colour of the incorporated butter, although Italian and Swiss meringue buttercreams are whiter than American buttercream as they contain just the whites of the egg.
- Naked cakes are sponge cakes where the exterior is left uncoated. They are often filled with a buttercream of choice and decorated with fresh fruit and/or flowers. Care must be taken when adding fresh flowers to cakes as many species are toxic. See here for a blog post all about the use of fresh flowers on cakes.
- A semi naked is similar to a naked cake but the exterior is coated with a thin layer of the chosen buttercream, so that the cake layers can still be seen. Both naked and semi naked cakes are best assembled as close to the reception time as possible. As these cakes are not covered in fondant they do dry out very quickly.
- Buttercream isn’t just for large wedding cakes. Cupcakes topped with your favourite buttercream flavours make great favours or can be served instead of a large cake.
Meet Centrepiece Cakes by Kerry on stand G8 at our London Excel Show.