Different frosting types out there!
So how do I make frosting and what are the different types of frosting out there? What is the best recipe to make frosting? This post covers all that!
Frosting vs Icing
Lets start off with the difference between icing and frosting? Frosting is stiffer and pipes well and consists of cream or butter. Icing is a thin and sugary glaze spread that hardens on cooling. They are both used for decorating cakes, donuts, muffins and/or pastries.
So lets talk about different types of frosting…
1. Basic Buttercream
Buttercream is a frosting made with butter and icing sugar. Some people make buttercream frosting with Crisco (a vegetable shortening brand popular in the United States and often used in American frosting). Buttercream is a super easy frosting for cupcakes.
If you´re looking for recipes for buttercream frosting, you can search for the word “buttercream” or “frosting” on the right side of this page where it says “search this blog”.
2. Cream Cheese Frosting
When you think of red velvet cake, you think of cream cheese frosting. The two go hand in hand. It also goes really well with carrot cake (in this recipe I show you how to make cream cheese frosting from scratch) or one of my favorites, hummingbird cake (Hummingbird cake is a banana, pineapple, pecan, spice cake that is common in the Southern United States).
Cream Cheese Frosting is normally a buttercream frosting with cream cheese added to it. I have found that if I add the cream cheese right at the end while it is still cold (although many recipes will say it needs to be at room temperature) it works the best! Trust me on this one!
3. Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Swiss Meringue Buttercream is a base of Swiss Meringue and then you slowly add cubes of room temperature butter to the Meringue when it is cold.
To make the Swiss Meringue you basically heat the egg whites and sugar/icing sugar in a bain marie (a bain marie is normally a pot of hot water with a bowl placed on top of it – the bowl should not touch the water) until the sugar has melted. Once it has you add the mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer and mix it on high until you have firmly whipped meringue. Top tip: put a kitchen towel over your stand mixture to avoid spillage – I´m not kidding!
4. Italian Meringue Buttercream
With Italian Meringue Buttercream you use the same method as with Swiss Meringue Buttercream by slowly adding the cubes of room temperature butter at the end when the Italian Meringue has cooled down.
To make the Italian Meringue you cook the sugar syup to the hard boil stage (250-265°F/125-133ºC) whilst whipping up your egg whites in a stand mixer. Test to see if the sugar syrup is ready, you slowly add it the side of your bowl to the stiffly whipped egg whites. Once all the sugar syrup has been added, continue to beat on high speed until the bowl of the stand mixer is cold to the touch.
5. French Meringue Buttercream
Once again French Meringue Buttercream works on the same principle as with Swiss and Italian Meringue Buttercream.. but.. this time instead of using egg whites, you are going to use the yolks of the eggs.
You start of by beating the egg yolks in your stand mixer at medium speed for about 5 minutes until they are pale in color. Meanwhile make a sugar syrup and cook it on a high heat until a candy thermometer registers 235-240°F/118-120ºC (this is the soft ball stage). Now slowly pour the sugar syrup on to the egg yolks whilst continuing to beat on low speed. Once all the syrup has been added, turn the mixer to medium-high speed and whip until the bowl no longer feels warm to the touch.
If you like chocolate, you will love ganache frosting. Start off by making a basic ganache by heating heavy cream in the microwave until it is hot, but not boiling (2 – 2.5 minutes). Then add chopped dark chocolate to it (I chop my own chocolate, instead of using chocolate chips because I can be quite frugal that way..ha!). Allow it to stand for a few minutes and mix well. Add a piece of transparent film right on the surface of the mixture (this avoids it forming a skin on top) and leave it to cool at room temperature. Transfer it to the fridge until is has set completely.
You could also use milk or white chocolate but you would need to add more parts chocolate than cream to ensure the mixture sets properly. To get back to the method: leave it to set in the fridge until it has set completely. Now comes the part where you convert the ganache to frosting. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature and beat on high until the ganache is light and fluffy and resembles a frosting.
7. Whipped Cream
To see how to make whipped cream frosting, check out my video on how I make my whip cream. The trick is to ensure your cream, bowl and whisk is really cold before whipping it up. Another tip is to ensure your mixing bowl is grease free. Use a piece of paper towel to wipe out the bowl before starting. I normally add my cream to my Kitchen Aid bowl and leave it alongside the whisk attachment in the fridge for about an hour or in the freezer for 15 minutes. Take it out and start beating on low until bubbles form. Now increase the speed to medium until soft peaks form (at this point you can add your 1 -2 tablespoons of white sugar very slowly), increase the speed further to medium high and continue until your cream has whipped firmly. To test to make sure the cream is whipped firmly, I turn the bowl upside down and if it stays, I know it is ready 🙂
I have also written a post with My Top 10 Baking Tips where I encourage you to be brave in the kitchen: experiment with recipes. The frosting types explained in this post are just basic. Be bold and add your favorite ingredients to them. Example: Imagine you like peanut butter (like I do). You could for example add some room temperature peanut butter to your Swiss Meringue Buttercream once all the butter has been added. Trust me it taste devine!
I like being daring in the kitchen and invented this delicious marshmallow frosting! It´s made with a real marshmallow recipe and I love it! Go ahead and try it 🙂
So what is the best recipe to make frosting? It depends on the recipe, what the cake flavor is, the season, the event.. All these are considering factors when deciding on what frosting to make! I have no favorite frosting and seriously love them all!
I really hope this post helps you to understand better the types of frosting out there!
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