Here at Amari, we have noticed some people are making inquiries on types of icings and may not be sure of the differences. We have decided to explain some of the icings that are generally used in Kenya for cakes for a better understanding of them. Of course there are many different types out there, we’ll mention six of the more popular ones used.
1. Buttercream Frosting:
This is one of the most popular frosting that is used for cakes and cupcakes. This type of frosting is made with icing sugar, liquid and unsalted butter (you can also substitute the butter for margarine). It is very popular because it’s one of the best tasting frosting and looks great for most decorating projects. It’s easy to use and make, it’s also very economical to make as well.
|One of Amari Chocolate cake with buttercream creations ^_^|
It can be made into a thin or stiff consistency depending of the amount of sugar used – more sugar makes it stiff. It remains soft enough on all types of cakes and even flower designs can be cut with a knife. However, this frosting melts if it is kept in very hot conditions so it is not good for outdoor events like weddings, etc. The frosting can be stored in an airtight container in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Buttercream can be used on most cakes; especially those made using the creaming and folding method such as Vanilla or Chocolate cake. There are also variations such as Cream Cheese Frosting (Buttercream frosting that has an additional ingredient – Cream cheese); which are best used on Red Velvet cake or Carrot cake.
|Amari Lemon Frosted cupcakes with buttercream frosting|
2. Whipped Cream Frosting:
This is another popular type of frosting. It is creamy, delicate and sweet. This type of frosting is made with icing sugar and cream. Color can also be added (very gently – since the frosting is super sensitive) but it works well with pastel colors only e.g. light purple, pink etc. It can be used on most types of cakes especially lighter ones such as sponges.It is of a lighter consistency and should be used immediately if possible. The iced cake or cupcakes must be refrigerated if they’ll not be used immediately. the cream frosting remains soft on cakes. This frosting is also not good for cakes used for outdoor events since the cream needs to be mostly refrigerated to remain stable.
There is however a more stable commercial pre-mixed cream frosting option that is especially used by commercial bakeries – note that it’s non-dairy. Companies such as Puratos & Pristine, etc. have the 1L box package of pre-made cream frosting. It comes as a thick liquid, all you have to do is beat it with a whisk or electric mixer and in a few minutes you have cream frosting.
This type of frosting is best used on lighter cakes such as Chiffon cakes and other types of Sponge cakes.
|Whipped Cream (courtesy: pixelatedcrumb.com)|
This is the simplest form of icing. It is made with icing sugar and a liquid mixed to form a thin consistency. It is poured and drizzled on all types of cakes, cupcakes or cookies.
|Home-made Glazed chocolate cupcakes|
4. Royal Icing
This type of frosting is made from icing sugar, egg whites and flavoring. An easier more hygienic way is to use meringue powder in place of the egg whites.
There are three main types of consistencies of this icing. One is that of a flooding consistency where it is shiny/glossy and more like a liquid or glaze. That way it can be used to drizzle on your cake or on cookies. It can also be beaten thoroughly until it is soft, fluffy and has peaks and also you can make it in a medium consistency that is in between the flooding & fluffy consistencies. You can also beat it longer for a stiff consistency.
When making this icing use grease free tools, any contact with grease will prevent peaks from forming. This icing dries candy-hard for lasting decoration. It is used for flower making, figure piping, making flowers on wire and decorating cookies.
It can also be used on most cakes; especially those made using creaming and folding method. It’s good to note that since it dries and hardens fast, you must work with it quickly. It is good for most climates since it sets hard and doesn’t melt under a lot of heat.
|Royal Icing (courtesy of foodnetwork.com)|
5. Rolled Fondant
This type of icing is a combination of icing sugar, glucose syrup, gelatin and food grade glycerine to make it pliable. It can also be made of icing sugar and melted marsh mellows. It is used on cakes with a firm structure like Pound cake or Fruit cake. It gives cake a smooth, sleek texture when finished and holds up very well. It can withstand high levels of heat and is therefore used a lot in outdoor events and occasions. It is particularly popular for wedding cakes with elaborate designs like bows and ribbons. However, some people may not enjoy the texture when they eat it, it’s chewy. It has a dough-like consistency that is rolled out before covering the cake. A butter cream or ganache layer (see below) is used on the cake before covering the cake with fondant. You can knead in the flavor or color preferred on the fondant. It stays semi-soft on cakes; it is highly recommended not to be refrigerated or frozen.
|Rolled fondant (www.wilton.com)|
This is a french term for chocolate melted with heavy cream. This type of icing is a combination of chocolate and cream (butter can also be added to make it shiny). It is used on cakes (especially chocolate ones ^_^ such as Chocolate fudge cake) and cookies as well; it gives them a shiny, beautiful drizzled glaze. It can also be used to drizzle as an extra garnish on cakes such as Black Forrest cake on top of a whipped cream frosting base.
You can make truffles if you beat until fluffy and stiff, then form into balls. You can also chill the ganache, beat it and frost a cake with it.
|Cake with Ganache (courtesy: allrecipes.com)|
We hope this information has helped you get a better understanding of some of the different types of icing used on baked products. Any additions on the topic are always welcome ^_^!
We offer Basic Cake Decoration short courses if you know how to bake, but would love to learn how to decorate cakes. Check out Baking Classes page to find out the next intake on the Decoration classes.