Ask The Celebration Advisor: I'm getting married outdoors in Salt Lake City, Utah. It's late enough in the year that it should be cool (so the almanac says) but my mom is still worried about me getting the buttercream icing that I want on my wedding cake. Do you think it'll be ok or should I try something else? ~ Leigh
The Celebration Advisor: An outdoor wedding in Salt Lake City sounds, well, a little precarious if you have opted for a buttercream wedding cake. However, there are many kinds of buttercream icing so it's a good idea to ask your local baker which type they use.
Buttercream icing for wedding cakes with a high sugar content tend to last longer under heat. The more common types of buttercream icing, French buttercream and Italian buttercream, have a higher fat content and therefore do not withstand heat as well. Once you have discovered which your Salt Lake City wedding bakery uses, you can judge from there.
As much as we all hate to hear this, your mother is probably right. A stiffer icing will most likely last longer. Fondant wedding cakes are popular with modern brides and allow a wide range of shapes and designs. Buttercream icings soften when cooled but fondant was designed for cakes that need no refrigeration and can last a while. Therefore, the rolled fondant icing on wedding cakes tends to harden slightly when left out.
Your biggest decision is whether or not you want to go against your mother even if it is your wedding. You can find buttercream icing wedding cakes that will hold up for a short time (a few hours at best) during your outdoor wedding. If you wait until just before time for the reception to display your wedding cake, your cake should be fine if your wedding cake baker uses a stiffer buttercream. If you want to avoid an argument, go with what mom says on this one and agree on a high-sugar buttercream or a rolled fondant wedding cake icing.