Frosting Choices For Sweet Treats

Most cakes, unless prepared by an expert, have to rely on frosting to give them a bit of punch. That sweet, smooth and creamy layer on top is what adults and children tend to look for when shopping for and sampling cakes. It may surprise amateurs to know that there are different types of frosting and each offers a unique flavor.

To make frosting, powdered sugar or sugar substitute is always used. Cream, egg white, artificial coloring and essences are added to transform an ordinary round cake into one that features patterns, vibrant colors and a combination of flavors.


Cakes and other baked goods with a glistening surface have glaze applied to them. This is nothing but a simple preparation of sugar and liquid that can be brushed or poured. When it sets, it hardens into a shiny layer. If ordinary glaze is not used, melted chocolate can be applied to achieve a richer flavor.


Buttercream is a soft, sweet and buttery frosting that’s extremely popular. It can be spread like butter and is favored by both children and adults as an indulgent treat. It doesn’t set into a hard candy-like finish.

Comprising powdered sugar, liquid and artificial flavoring and color, buttercream achieves its creamy state because of prolonged beating or whisking to make it fluffy, smooth and easily spreadable.

Royal icing

More popular back when buttercream wasn’t, royal icing is still favored by many for decorating elaborate cakes as it sets and holds its shape. Like the rest, it contains powdered sugar, liquid and artificial color and flavor. Meringue powder is sometimes used.

Where buttercream is creamy, royal icing feels and tastes like candy. Use it when you intend to decorate cakes more elaborately.

Whipped cream

Easy to make and an all-time favorite, whipped cream frosting can be used to top cakes, cupcakes, cookies and pies. It isn’t as heavy as buttercream or royal icing and not as sweet. This makes it especially suitable for summertime desserts. You can also use it along with other types of frosting. Its composition is the same as the rest but with the addition of whipped cream.

Cream cheese

For a rich taste that will linger long after sweet treats are eaten, choose cream cheese. It’s smooth, thick and very filling. Cupcakes, muffins and carrot cakes go especially well with cream cheese frosting. Try to avoid dyes which create too bright a color and enjoy the original ivory texture.

Fudge icing

Wintertime treats can be topped with rich fudge icing for an energy boost. It’s rarely dyed as the dark brown color is what transforms cakes, brownies and cookies into mouth-watering goodies. To make fudge icing, use powdered sugar, butter, milk, cocoa powder and vanilla essence. Refrigerate to preserve it for up to a week.


A simple mix of cocoa powder and heavy cream, ganache can be fluffy or stiff. It boasts a rich chocolate flavor and a delicious deep brown. The mix is beaten until fluffy or stiff to use as cake decorations, make truffles or coat a cake with a creamy layer of sweetness.

Rolled fondant

Where overly sweet frosting is not desired, rolled fondant delivers a blander taste. It’s pliable with a satin smoothness that makes it suitable for complex cake decorations. Consisting of powdered sugar, glycerin, gelatin and glucose syrup, it’s the only frosting that can be stored up to 2 months when refrigerated.