Types Of Frosting Used In Baking

Posted on December 26, 2015 by Sweet Day Gourmet

Chocolate and vanilla buttercream frostingThere are a variety of options to choose from when making frosting for your cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. A really good frosting can make your dessert stand out from the crowd. The question is… which one to use. 

There are several ways to create frosting, and bakers have their own ideas & techniques. The consistency, taste, and coloring may vary among the individual, but there are common uses, and basic ingredients in making an excellent frosting choice for your dessert. 

Common Types of Frosting

  • Buttercream
    • Sweet & buttery; most popular. The texture should be smooth, buttery and easily spreadable. Buttercream frosting is typically used to decorate cakes. The main ingredients are shortening or butter, powdered sugar, milk and flavoring such as vanilla or cocoa powder. 

  • Royal Icing
    • Very sweet. It's thin and stiff, it should look and taste almost like candy when it's dry. Royal icing is best used for making frosting flowers or creating figures, piping and decorating gingerbread houses. The main ingredients are powdered sugar, lemon juice and egg whites. 

  • Whipped Cream
    • Rich, cream-like taste. It's delicate, airy, smooth and soft. Whipped cream frosting can be used with any cake for top, borders or filling. Main ingredients are heavy cream or whipping cream, vanilla and powdered sugar. Whipped cream frosting must be refrigerated, and should be stored no longer than 2 days.

  • Cream Cheese
    • Sweet, buttery and very rich. The texture is smooth, thick and heavy. Cream cheese frosting is commonly used for icing cakes and quick breads, especially carrot cakes, muffins and some cupcakes. The main ingredients are cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract

  • Icing/ Glaze
    • Very sweet taste, should be smooth, though sometimes slightly grainy; dries flat and firm. It creates a glaze-like frosting on cookies and pastries. The main ingredients are powdered sugar, water or other liquid to add flavor. Icing/ glaze should be covered immediately, as it will harden quickly.

  • Cooked Icing
    • Taste depends on the flavoring; lemon or chocolate is very popular. The texture is delicate, gelatin-like meringue. It is ideal for layer cakes or pies. The main ingredients are egg whites, sugar and flavoring. Cooked icing should be eaten immediately or stored in the refrigerator for no longer than 2 days.

  • Ganache
    • Rich, chocolate flavor; thick and creamy.  This is best used to make truffles or on a layer cake when beaten until it's fluffy and stiff. The main ingredients are heavy cream and cocoa powder or melted chocolate. 

  • Fondant
    • Should not be overly sweet; sometimes considered to be bland. It has a dough-like texture, smooth and satiny. The best use for fondant is for cover cakes or modeling decorations.  The main ingredients are glucose syrup, gelatin, glycerin and powdered sugar.