Top 5 Wedding Cake Icing Finishes

wedding cake blog

With so many decisions to make planning your big day, we thought we would help with possibly the sweetest one of the day… the Wedding Cake. Gone are the days of a traditional fruit cake covered in fondant icing; these days almost anything goes! So, who better to ask than the phenomenally talented Pia Cato, founder of the Vanilla Pod Bakery, creator of stunning luxury wedding cakes which she creates with a relaxed yet elegant vibe. Here’s what she had to say….

“There are so many wonderful, and delicious, icing finishes that couples can have for their wedding cake. You can go down the traditional route or dare to be different! This blog explores 5 of the different types of icings and finishes you can have for your perfect wedding cake….


Delicious fluffy buttercream. There are a few popular types of buttercreams that cake makers like to use (and I am sure there is many more). My personal favourite type to use is classic UK/American Buttercream with Madagascan vanilla to add a delicious flavour. There is also Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Italian Meringue Buttercream, French Buttercream and German Buttercream.  

You can also add cream cheese into some of these buttercream recipes and create a cream cheese buttercream. However, be warned this type of icing only has a 4 hour shelf life once out of the fridge. Just like whipped chantilly cream.

Buttercream creates a wonderful finish on a wedding cake. The trend I am noticing for wedding cakes recently is smooth buttercream iced cakes, like the picture (one of my favourite ever cakes we created). But you can easily create buttercream bands, icing swirls, ruffles and even flowers with this icing.  

Image credit: Virginia Photography
Cake: Smooth Buttercream Cake with Fresh Flowers.

Semi Naked

The semi naked wedding cake finish has been a firm wedding favourite for over 7 years now. Essentially, the semi naked look is a thinner coated buttercream cake. There are a couple of different looks you can go for with this type of finish. You can add texture with a pallet knife (like the image below) or make it super smooth with sharp elegant edges.

Image credit: Eve Dunlop Photography
Cake: Semi Naked Three Tiered Cake With Fresh Flowers

Chocolate Ganache

I haven’t seen this finish around that much and I don’t know why because it is super delicious! Chocolate ganache is a cream and chocolate mix. We use different ratios of the two ingredients to achieve different looks. The example here was a cake we made with dark chocolate ganache. I love working with this medium and we actually use chocolate ganache under all of our fondant iced cakes to give a crisp edge and base to work from. I think a white chocolate ganache three tiered cake would look stunning with just a hint of fresh flowers and berries.

Cake: Dark Chocolate Ganache Iced Three Tiered Wedding Cake
Image credit: Dotty Photography

Royal Icing

Steeped in tradition, this is the cake finish that kicked it all off. Created by using a mixture of icing sugar and egg whites. Royal icing is natural pure white icing that sets rock hard as it dries out but melts in your mouth once consumed.

The firmness of the icing makes it ideal for weddings in super hot countries.

We created this beautiful Royal Icing bands cake for a wedding on Lake Garda in Italy. It was an extremely hot day but the beautiful tiered fruit cake stay perfect well into the evening.

Cake: Royal Iced Bands Three Tiered Cake With Fresh Flowers and Olive Leaf


Fondant iced cakes can have a beautifully smooth finish. It is refined, it is elegant and is the covering most people associate with christmas and birthday cakes of their childhood. With a base of marzipan, chocolate ganache or buttercream. Fondant icing is the extra pizzazz, is covers your cake in elegance.  You can have the fondant icing smoothly covering your cake, or have it draped into fabric folds, or ruffled to look like a beautiful ballerinas tutu You could even texturise the fondant to add a touch of drama.

With all these icing finishes whirling around your head why not talk to your cake designer and create something really special for your wedding day.

By Pia Cato x

The Vanilla Pod Bakery

Instagram: @vanillapodbakery

Pinterest: @vanillapodchelt

Vanilla Pod Bakery
Pia Cato
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