When it comes to decorating a cake there are a lot of thing to consider. One of the biggest things to decide is if you are going to use fondant or buttercream frosting to decorate it. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Many people prefer the taste of buttercream over fondant. Buttercream is easier to make and is great for piping and writing on cakes. However, buttercream does not look as smooth as fondant. It is also more susceptible to the elements which can make it harder to store and transport. Fondant is sometimes a little difficult to wrap around a whole cake but once you get the cake covered, fondant makes it look extraordinarily smooth. It gives the cake a flat surface which is easy to decorate on. You can use buttercream frosting to pipe onto the fondant, paint onto the fondant, or make 3D decorations out of other fondant. You can roll fondant out and cut shapes out of it with a cookie cutter. Also, because of the flat surface fondant works very well for transfers.
If you are buying a cake as opposed to decorating it yourself you still have to decide between fondant and buttercream. Again, many people prefer the taste of buttercream so you will have to think about what your guests want. Also you have to think of the design you want. If you want something more elaborate you will probably want to use fondant. When you see pictures of cakes with big bows and flowers and things, usually those pieces are made of fondant. Probably one of the biggest factors when deciding between the two is the fact that fondant cakes cost more than buttercream cakes. Fondant cakes can cost double or more than a buttercream cake.
Here are two examples of cakes made at Artistic Confections:]