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Fondant vs. Frosting (Differences, Pros, Cons, & Which To Choose)

Fondant vs. Frosting (Differences, Pros, Cons, & Which To Choose)

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Whether you’re crafting a wedding cake or trying a hand at baking, choosing between frosting and fondant can be challenging.

Both options showcase gorgeous layouts in their unique ways. With fondant, you get a smooth and perfect surface along with detailed and molded designs.

Meanwhile, frosting offers a more flavorful touch with multiple timeless piping patterns. In both cases, the sky’s the limit when it comes to adding colors.

Deciding between fondant and frosting comes down to your desired taste, texture, and usage. Stick around to learn more about fondant vs. frosting and which to choose.

Fondant Overview

Fondant is an icing that consists of sugar, corn syrup, and water. Some fondant variations use gelatin to add more elasticity.

That said, you’ve likely seen fondant on wedding or birthday-themed cakes. Bakers use the icing to create a smooth flat surface on top of the cake and add garnishes, such as flowers.

Frosting Overview

Frosting is a fluffy type of dessert topping. You can make it by whipping butter and sugar. The result is an airy and light mixture ideal for spreading over cakes.

The topping is versatile in terms of flavor and color. Whether you’re looking for a chocolaty flavor or a blue twist, add a dash of cocoa powder or a few drops of food coloring.

Differences Between Fondant and Frosting

Fondant and frosting hold multiple differences. They vary in terms of ingredients, texture, uses, and taste.


Making frosting and fondant is relatively easy. Nevertheless, each uses a different method and ingredients to create.


Bakers usually make fondant using corn syrup, water, and sugar. Making the topping involves heating and combining the liquid ingredients.

Then, gradually add powdered sugar until you reach a dough-like consistency.


With frosting, the ingredients are confectioner’s sugar and butter. You’ll achieve the buttercream topping by whipping these two components.

You can follow other variations, such as the Swiss meringue option that adds egg whites. Cream cheese frosting is another delectable choice that pairs well with red velvet and carrot cakes.


Texture plays a prime role when decorating your masterpiece. It decides what kind of shape or arrangement you’ll create.


Fondant has a clay-like texture. It’s slightly tacky to the touch but can be exceptionally malleable.

With this texture, you have an extensive scope of creativity, whether you want to make flowers, a rope, stripes, or a distinctive pattern.


Frosting has a smooth and creamy texture. It’s easily spreadable with an offset spatula. Unlike fondant, you can’t mold frosting.

A frosting finish is also silkier compared to its icing counterpart. Meanwhile, with fondant, you can expect a flat surface.


Cake decorating toppings like fondant and frosting hold distinguished purposes. Each one shines in its designated use.


Bakers use this type of icing on wedding and themed cakes that require 3D shapes and figurines. The thickness of fondant makes it suitable for sealing cakes as well.


You can use frosting as a dessert topping or filling. It offers a more rustic and natural appearance compared to fondant.

With frosting, bakers use piping bags with several tip shapes to create diverse patterns, such as rosettes, stars, or leaves.


Since there are forum pages dedicated to discussions revolving around fondant hate, we’ll let you guess which is the winner in terms of taste.


Fondant is a sugary treat beloved by many. Nonetheless, several people dislike the play-dough-like texture of the icing.


Frosting has the advantage here due to its rich flavor incorporated by the butter. It’s creamy and delicious. Some people enjoy consuming frosting by itself.

Fondant vs. Frosting: Pros and Cons

Are you torn between fondant and frosting? Let’s look at each option’s pros and cons to see which would better suit your decorating needs.

Pros of Fondant

  • Customizable: You can construct fondant into any shape you desire. The icing’s color is also easily adjustable using food coloring.
  • Pliable: The topping’s material is elastic and easy to mold into figurines and flowers. That said, make sure to add tylose to make its consistency firmer.
  • Long Storage Life: With adequate conditions, fondant can last at room temperature for over two weeks.

Cons of Fondant

  • Poor Taste: Multiple people agree that fondant doesn’t have the best taste. They compare the icing’s consistency to plastic.
  • Old-Fashioned: Despite fondant’s resurgence in the past decade, its popularity is gradually decreasing. People are now opting for more homemade styles.
  • Temperature Sensitive: Fondant tends to sag in high-temperature spaces. In turn, if you’re configuring a 3D model, it may lose its shape over time.

Pros of Frosting

  • Delicious Taste: Buttercream’s sweet and creamy taste and texture is hard to compete against.
  • Easy to Make: With only two ingredients and a beater, you can make your frosting in no time.
  • Appealing Designs: Frosting designs are elegant and classic. You can choose between several piping tips to create your wanted pattern.

Cons of Frosting

  • Temperature Sensitive: Frosting will likely melt under warm temperatures, drooping your piped pattern.
  • Requires Expertise: Piping requires some expertise and practice. It can take some time to perfect your swirls and rosettes.
  • Non-Moldable: You can’t shape frosting into figurines or shapes like fondant.

Do You Need Frosting Under Fondant?

Before laying your fondant piece on top of your cake, a frosting layer is essential. It acts as a glue for the icing to stick and smoothen on.

You’ll need about a ¼-inch layer of frosting spread over your cake. The flatter your buttercream exterior, the smoother your fondant application will be.

Is Fondant Better Than Frosting?

Fondant is better than frosting in some applications. For example, if you’re trying to create a character or animal on top of your cake, fondant is the clear winner.

The icing is also better at withstanding high temperatures since you don’t need to refrigerate it during storage.

Besides that, frosting wins in other aspects, such as taste. Plus, some people prefer the piped layout rather than a smooth surface or sculpted shape.

Which Frosting Is Best for Fondant?

Most pastry chefs prefer to use a meringue-based frosting below fondant. Nonetheless, a buttercream coating is also suitable.

Don’t add the fondant right after frosting the cake. Allow it to cool down in the fridge to have a firm and level work surface.

Final Thoughts

When comparing fondant vs. frosting, one doesn’t beat the other. Each is used for its designated purpose.

If you want to create a wedding cake adorned with vibrant flowers and detailed patterns, fondant is better.

On the other hand, if you’re going for a more traditional appeal, you can’t go wrong with piped frosting lining the cake’s edges.

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