Buttercream A Dying Art?

Decorating By whisperingmadcow Updated 2 May 2009 , 5:06pm by bostonterrierlady

whisperingmadcow Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 12:06am
post #1 of 43

Do you think buttercream is a dying art? I have alot of respect for cakes done only in buttercream but it seems that you don't really find that anymore. Most of the cake pictures that appear in the all-time favorites are either all fondant or buttercream with fondant accents.

I know we have to keep up with growing trends, but are the days of all buttercream cakes dying out... icon_confused.gif ?

42 replies
tonedna Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 12:13am
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Most of my cakes are done in buttercream. I can say most of my cakes weddings are buttercream
Edna icon_biggrin.gif

tastyart Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 12:17am
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I hope it's not dying. I still haven't learned enough skills. And my husband won't eat fondant.

sofiasmami Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 12:17am
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I'm one of the guilty ones!! ... I love working with fondant, I love the smooth texture it delivers. Maybe I just need to practice a little more with buttercream icon_sad.gif

Deb_ Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 12:18am
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Dying art? No way, I get way more requests for all bc. Most people have it in their heads that fondant isn't pleasant to eat. Buttercream has been around since the beginning of time, fondant will be the dying art in my opinion. I find it easier to plop fondant on a cake rather then spending time smoothing bc, I think that's why fondant became popular with so many decorators, it's quick and smooth........but since I hate to have to chew my icing 25 times before I can swallow it, buttercream is my #1 choice, and my client's as well icon_biggrin.gif

kansaslaura Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 12:19am
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Not around here.. I do a lot of buttercream.

282513 Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 12:21am
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In a heart beat I would frost with only buttercream but I can not get mine to look smooth. I too am guilty of loving the look of it. I need to practice. I don't think it could ever dye. It tastes tooooo good!

BCJean Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 12:27am
post #8 of 43

NO.....the art of buttercream is not dying out....it can't be. I don't have any cakes in the all time favorites but I am trying. All of the cakes in my photos are decorated with buttercream.
BCJean.....that would be "Buttercream Jean".

I love the special look you get with buttercream ...not just a flat sheet draped over a cake......and you can slice and eat the whole thing.

And for the record.....I like sheet cakes also.

bostonterrierlady Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 12:28am
post #9 of 43

I feel that it is a dying art too. But I will not give it up. I cannot think of one of my family or friends that I have made cakes for that would eat fondant. They all love buttercream. It is very disheartening to me to see all the fondant. I really do not believe that people really like it. They just think its the thing to do. All the cake magazines are going to a focus on fondant too. I cherish all my old books when buttercream was king. I do not know if the fondant craze will ever pass or not. I hope so. It is up to us that love the art of buttercream to keep it alive. Another thing is all the video and dvds now are all geared toward fondant too. I loved Sugarshacks butterctream dvd. I love buttercream Jeans dvd on buttercream flowers too.

2txmedics Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 12:29am
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No way!!!...I love working with it, and am learning so much from working with it...and I will continue to do so...so for me...ITS NOT DYING...but just starting to come allive.

indydebi Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 12:34am
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As one of the old timers on here .....

It's funny that it's implied these days that BC is the "higher skilled" decorating. (I see lots of threads implying this: BC is taught in the Masters Course; The two comments above about not yet learned enough or need more practice; discussions and advice to use fondant "...because it's SO much easier"; threads on how making BC roses are next to impossible.)

When I started decorating, you had to learn the BC methods or you didn't decorate a cake. It wasn't "higher skilled" ... it was the ONLY skill. There were no molds or easy methods of doing things ... you had to actually learn it.

Smooth icing? You better figure out how to smooth that BC or you're not going to decorate a cake. BC roses? If you couldn't make one of those, hang up your decorating bag!

30 years I've been making cakes ... and I've only just recently started doing fondant. I've only got 4 or 5 fondant cakes under my belt.

A dying art? I don't think so, Tim! icon_wink.gif I have too many brides who flat out tell me "I don't want anything fondant on my cake!" (one just last week). I have a cousin who is a wedding photographer and he tells me he's just now starting to see a fondant cake or two.

As Kerry Vincent said: We must preserve the art of buttercream. There are too many people who start in this industry, who put some material in a mold and think that makes them a cake decorator.

SOmething only dies out when it is allowed to die out; when people give up on it; when the effort isn't out there to continue with it; the the "kids of today" think it's "too old fashioned" to mess with. (Yes, I've been told that by younger CC'ers.)

Come on ladies .... if *I* can move into fondant, and actually like it, you all can master that BC rose! I'm living proof about teaching old dogs new tricks! You can do it! I know you can!! thumbs_up.gif

By the way, I also still crochet and have nice little doilies under my lamps! It's not 'old fashioned' .... it's "victorian decor"! icon_biggrin.gif

icer101 Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 12:35am
post #12 of 43

buttercream , is not and will not be a dying art... you can do too much with it still... too many people prefer it over fondant... no matter what brand it is... yes, the beauty of it is wonderful... but the beauty of buttercream is also wonderful... and the taste of buttercream is preferred the most...

indydebi Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 12:41am
post #13 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by kansaslaura

Not around here.. I do a lot of buttercream.



where have you been, girl! I've missed seeing you!

DsLady614 Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 2:15am
post #14 of 43

Actually, I think that in some ways buttercream IS a "dying art". The term generally means something that people don't learn to do any more. As indydebi mentioned, it's like crocheting and needlepoint. You just don't find as many people who do it anymore. That's not to say people don't want it, because that is most certainly NOT the case. I think that buttercream is still preferred over fondant tastewise, and you will sure hear a LOT of oohs and aahs over a well done buttercream cake.

The problem is, buttercream is harder to work with than fondant. Rather than taking the time to learn to make all the buttercream things, people turn to fondant, because it's quicker. So, as an art, I'd say yes, buttercream is struggling. Fortunately, there are still plenty of us buttercream purists out there to keep it alive.

SeriousCakes Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 3:37am
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lol, I like that, 'buttercream purists'! That would be me, with the occasional candy clay detail thumbs_up.gif

adven68 Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 4:24am
post #16 of 43

putting fondant on a cake IS easy. So is buttercream, for that matter. Getting either of them perfectly smooth is a different animal.
Do people make fondant covered cakes without buttercream underneath? I never heard of that.
I put on just as much as if it were remaining a buttercream cake. ....but there is nothing like the smooth finish of a fondant cake. Sorry...you may get the smoothest bc cake that you ever saw...but it will never compare to a fondant cake...maybe in a photo...but not up close.
I have nothing against BC...I just LOVE fondant.

p.s. Kerry Vincent may love BC...but she uses tons of molds on her cakes as well.

Deb_ Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 2:27pm
post #17 of 43

Amongst decorators I just think it's a personal preference as to what we find "easier". What's easy for me may not be for the next and vice versa.

Now, I'm speaking as one of the "old timers" here icon_lol.gif If you're just getting started and you think that you can just master fondant and be successful, I'd rethink that decision. You need to master both methods of decorating and not limit your skills.

I realize that we ice in bc or imbc/smbc under our fondant, however I certainly don't spend the same amount of time smoothing if I know I have a nice layer of fondant going over it.

Looking back at my 08 orders, 80% of them were all BC. After 25 yrs I've yet to have someone say to me "I don't want ANY BC on my cake", however I have many people say "I don't want ANY fondant on my cake".

KlyKat Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 2:57pm
post #18 of 43

I am the manager of a never-seen-used-almost never heard of fondant type bakery. We are the only bakery in town along with a few un-licensed ladies that bake from their home.

I am in a grocery store, but we are family owned and in a rather small town. BUT, we are almost one-hour from any other bakeries. With all this being said, I am ready for fondant or atleast adding some rbc to our cakes.

With all the talk around here about "grocery store" bakeries I tend not to chime in too much, but we are honestly different. Yes, we do do alot of kit cakes. But we also do alot of specialty cakes that are all hand-drawn (my daughter works with me and goodness can she draw), lovely wedding cakes and so on. And yes, we do fresh bake our cakes!!! They don't came in fozen or pre-iced icon_wink.gif

I think I've gotten off track icon_redface.gif Anyway, we do tons of BC cakes and yes it does take knowing how to smooth a cake perfectly. So, I think both fondant and bc have their own strenghts and weaknesses.

But for this little town bakery---BC lives on thumbs_up.gif

classiccake Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 3:10pm
post #19 of 43

I use fondant when the technique calls for it, but if someone wants the smooth fondant look, then I achieve that in my buttercream.
We do thousands of cakes a year, and I think we covered maybe 10 cakes in fondant last year.

Buttercream can be as smooth as fondant. All the cakes in my photos are buttercream. The last one I posted (the Crystal wedding) was buttercream. The chef at the reception site thought it was fondant when he saw the cake.

IcedTea4Me2 Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 3:13pm
post #20 of 43

Buttercream fan here! I've tried fondant and I must admit I do like modeling the figures, etc., but then sometimes I think to myself, what a waste! You make a cake and the figurine gets "oohs and ahhhhs" and then you move it, eat the cake, and the figurine has no other purpose. That was its 15-mins of fame. The buttercream cake is devoured, though. That's why I love buttercream. I don't like to see wasted cake and most of the time the fondant is pushed to the side from my experience.
What I really love are the buttercream cakes of yesteryear that are very ornate and just dripping with decoration. I know...old fashioned. I still think they're lovely. Maybe I'm just stuck in the wrong time period! Someone posted a thread not too long ago about a lambeth cake and I was just in awe of the cake. Now that's talent!

OTOH, there are some stunningly beautiful fondant cakes on here, too. icon_smile.gif

Lisa

jlsheik Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 3:24pm
post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by classiccake

I use fondant when the technique calls for it, but if someone wants the smooth fondant look, then I achieve that in my buttercream.
We do thousands of cakes a year, and I think we covered maybe 10 cakes in fondant last year.

Buttercream can be as smooth as fondant. All the cakes in my photos are buttercream. The last one I posted (the Crystal wedding) was buttercream. The chef at the reception site thought it was fondant when he saw the cake.




Mine too are all buttercream w/fondant accents...I can get it smooth so why the extra work? Brides are always calling me asking for a "fondant cake" they saw of mine!

grama_j Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 3:28pm
post #22 of 43

BUTTER CREAM !! I have never had anyone ask for fondant...... I use it for accents though.....

Deb_ Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 4:30pm
post #23 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by KlyKat


With all the talk around here about "grocery store" bakeries I tend not to chime in too much, but we are honestly different. Yes, we do do alot of kit cakes. But we also do alot of specialty cakes that are all hand-drawn (my daughter works with me and goodness can she draw), lovely wedding cakes and so on. And yes, we do fresh bake our cakes!!! They don't came in fozen or pre-iced icon_wink.gif

But for this little town bakery---BC lives on thumbs_up.gif




Just wanted to say the local (not National Chain) grocery stores in my area of MA bake their own cakes also, and they are very good. I've bought them in a pinch, my DH buys me one every year for my Birthday and I love it. (at my request) I tell him to go there over a well known bakery in nearby RI, whose cakes are frozen and taste like they are!

I think what a lot of members here (including myself) talk about is Sam's, Walmart and BJ's type mass produced frozen cakes. Not bakers like yourself. thumbs_up.gif

classiccake.......that's an incredibly amount of cakes and only 10 were fondant! WOW, that's very interesting. Tells me the longer fondant is around the more people realize it's pretty but not delicious.

littlewoman Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 4:48pm
post #24 of 43

I don't believe that buttercream is dying....I think fondant is a trend.....simplicity is in right now and it is easier to get the look with fondant....I use lots of fondant for decoration but I frost almost exclusively with buttercream

Everything cycles and in a few years buttercream will be all the rage again.

KlyKat Posted 22 Feb 2009 , 5:26pm
post #25 of 43

[quote="dkelly"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by KlyKat


With all the talk around here about "grocery store" bakeries I tend not to chime in too much, but we are honestly different. Yes, we do do alot of kit cakes. But we also do alot of specialty cakes that are all hand-drawn (my daughter works with me and goodness can she draw), lovely wedding cakes and so on. And yes, we do fresh bake our cakes!!! They don't came in fozen or pre-iced icon_wink.gif

But for this little town bakery---BC lives on thumbs_up.gif




Just wanted to say the local (not National Chain) grocery stores in my area of MA bake their own cakes also, and they are very good. I've bought them in a pinch, my DH buys me one every year for my Birthday and I love it. (at my request) I tell him to go there over a well known bakery in nearby RI, whose cakes are frozen and taste like they are!

I think what a lot of members here (including myself) talk about is Sam's, Walmart and BJ's type mass produced frozen cakes. Not bakers like yourself. thumbs_up.gif

icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

saramachen Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 1:24am
post #26 of 43

I am fighting the urge to use fondant every cake. I don't care for fondant myself. I don't want people who eat my cakes to peel the icing off cause they don't like to chew it... But I crave the smoothness of it.

I am still new at this and have been decorating less than a year and i am trying REALLY hard to learn buttercream. I have sugarshacks dvd and have watched a ton of youtube videos. But I need to practice, practise, practise. Most of the decoraters in my area use fondant, even the lady who did my wedding cake talked me into fondant (before i started decorating). And I aspire to be able to do buttercream like Sharon Z, Indydebi, Edna and all you other buttercream experts on CC.

TooMuchCake Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 2:21am
post #27 of 43

The majority of my cake sculptures are covered in buttercream!

Deanna

Butterpatty Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 3:16pm
post #28 of 43

Quite honestly, there is nothing like the fun of getting a buttercream rose on YOUR slice of cake and nothing like the guilty pleasure of popping the whole rose in your mouth! Just the silky feel and the burst of sweetness is smile-producing. I love the look of fondant cakes, but the sweet guilt of that buttercream taste can never be replaced. Lots of people secretly sweep their plate or the edges of the cake board for that last bit of yummy buttercream, but I have never seen anyone go looking for a stray bit of fondant.

Shelle_75 Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 4:13pm
post #29 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

As Kerry Vincent said: We must preserve the art of buttercream. There are too many people who start in this industry, who put some material in a mold and think that makes them a cake decorator.




My opinion of her has slowly been changing for the better, and that just did it for good!!

I am a 99.9% buttercream decorator, and I've never covered a cake in fondant, just used it to make critters. My husband loves to brag to everyone that I ice my buttercream as smooth as fondant (he's a tad biased, of course). It's DEFINETLY not a dead art around here!

CeeTee Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 5:44pm
post #30 of 43

Buttercream in and of itself is not dying out as the icing of choice among decorators, but I do agree that many of the more elaborate piping techniques that used to be more commonplace are no longer being used because it's much easier to replicate the same effects with fondant. Instead of figure piping, decorators use fondant models (or DecoPac toys). Instead of drop string work, they drape fondant. Buttercream borders are nothing but basic or reverse shell, basic star, or basic ball. Once in a blue moon you'll find a buttercream ruffle border on a cake that's not a Wilton class project. Otherwise, they are all fondant.

However, it's not like it's easy for someone to find out more on buttercream techniques. I have not found a single modern cake decorating book in the bookstores which focuses primarily on buttercream, with maybe the exception of Hello Cupcake! (but that still relies on candy rather than piping for its decor). Decorators familiar with the Lambeth method are rare, and instruction on that method is even harder to find. It's virtually impossible to find books or tutorials on buttercream techniques that are not featured in the Wilton courses.

Even then, Wilton no longer teaches many of the techniques which first made them popular. I found a Wilton instruction book from 1954 in a used bookstore and it's HUGE. It has all these crazy funky borders and swags, and maybe about 10% of what was featured in this book is still used today.

I don't think this makes someone who works only in fondant lazy or less skilled than someone who works only with buttercream. Both have their bonuses and drawbacks. I think it's just because the popular cake decorators of right now all work with fondant and it has high exposure is why it's so commonplace. We just need someone who does piping to come along and get a Food Network show, and then we'll see a resurgence of buttercream techniques icon_wink.gif

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