decorating a cake with fondant requires its own special skill set: the ability to work with speed and precision (it dries out quickly), a good eye for size, hands that aren’t sweaty, money (it’s expensive!)… and so on.
comparing fondant cakes and buttercream cakes is like comparing michelangelo’s david with the ceiling of the sistine chapel. each is a form of artwork, but they’re executed in different mediums. it’d be tough to try to sculpt nine scenes from the book of genesis out of marble, and a painting of a naked, stark white man might not be quite as breathtaking as a 17-foot tall statue. similarly, it’s hard to use fondant to pipe a border of rosettes, and equally challenging to try to make a cruise ship-shaped cake out of buttercream.
the only time i get really annoyed with fondant (or gumpaste) is when it’s sculpted into roses and used to decorate a buttercream cake. buttercream roses are so beautiful, pretty easy to make, and honestly, just as lifelike as fondant ones! i like to make a bunch at a time, put them on separate slips of wax paper, and freeze them. then, if pressed for time while decorating a cake, i just pull a few out and set them on top.
i made this cake for my friend margot’s birthday – she’s the best artist i know, and she’s particularly talented at drawing roses. i made a pink vanilla cake in a quarter sheet pan and used an empty 28 oz tomato can to punch out circles. then i lined the can with a strip of acetate and layered the circles with vanilla buttercream. freeze it for 12 hours, then remove the can and acetate (you can also use wax paper)!
here’s a pretty good tutorial on how to make a buttercream rose. i’m gonna try to film one of my own soon. i used a wilton no. 65 tip for the leaves, and a no. 104 tip for the rose. a rose nail is also pretty important, but it’s such a good investment! down with fondant roses!