Learning how to make frosting on your own starts with learning the interesting balance in consistency needed for the kind of cake you’re making.
Certain, more delicate cakes will crumble under a harder frosting, which might instead be the best for a denser, richer cake that doesn’t pair well with a fluffy frosting.
Still, making your frosting at home will enhance any treat you make, whether it’s from scratch or from a box.
Different Types of Frosting
Now you may be asking, how many different kinds of frosting are there? While flavors may vary, the types of frosting are limited, but you should still know the key differences.
The big ones are those with cream cheese, buttercream, or egg white bases. Others that exclude these ingredients do exist, but that’s a completely different question.
Not to be confused with buttermilk, buttercream simply means that you will use both butter and cream in the recipe.
Unless you have a dietary restriction that requires you use substitutes, do not use almond milk or fake butter. Cooking is very specific to how and what you use.
If you’re attempting to create your own recipe for buttercream frosting, experiment away, but for those that aren’t, follow the recipe or you’ll sacrifice certain aspects that make buttercream frosting the way it is.
This is a common type of frosting used for cupcakes, cakes, and other pastries. It’s not too hard and can usually be adjusted by either using more or less butter or confectionary sugar.
Cream cheese is, in its natural state, is a rather dense substance. You’re going to be very disappointed if you try to make a fluffy cream cheese frosting.
Using a piping bag and tip will make this a really nice choice for decorating cupcakes. They hold their form well so long as they’re not exposed to heat.
The biggest risk factor here is overbeating your cream cheese. You might be tempted to let it sit in your standing mixer while you work on the next step, but don’t do it. It’ll make your cream cheese too runny and thin.
To fix this, you can try to refrigerate it or add more powdered sugar, but it won’t be a perfect solution. Beat only until it’s malleable.
This one isn’t as variable as the other types, mostly known as “royal frosting” or “7-minute frosting.”
It’s typically some combination of egg whites, cream of tartar, and confections sugar, though some recipes may use water or vanilla extract as well. Like one of its names, it’s a very quick and easy recipe.
This frosting should generally be used on delicate cakes. It will be very fluffy and not very supportive.
How To Make Homemade Frosting
You’ll find various recipes with many slight variations, but these should function as a good starting point for those wanting to start small.
- 2 ½ cups confection sugar
- 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 5 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small bowl, add the cocoa powder and a tablespoon of milk. Mix it together with a table or butter knife until it’s a thick paste.
Then, add another tablespoon of milk and mix it in, and then another. This will prevent clumping of the cocoa powder when you add it to the butter.
Over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the cocoa-milk paste and mix in until smooth. Add the vanilla and remaining milk, and then pour into a bowl to cool naturally.
At a little above room temperature, you can begin to hand mix in the confection sugar. Take it a fourth cup at a time to avoid pockets of unmixed confection sugar, and to gauge how thick you want it to be.
Do not feel obligated to use all of the confection sugar if you feel the consistency is at a place you want it. If it’s not hard enough, add more, a tablespoon at a time.
Seven Minute Frosting
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat your saucepan to medium heat. In a separate bowl, sift together the sugar and cream of tartar.
Combine the water and mixture in the pan and mix until the sugar dissolves. Do not overcook.
Set aside in a bowl to cool. It doesn’t need to be completely cool (do not put in the refrigerator), but it shouldn’t go directly from the stovetop to the egg mixture.
In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer or a standing mixer with a whisk tool. Whip egg whites and vanilla until it forms soft peaks when the whisk is removed.
Gradually, add the liquid sugar mixture, and mix for about seven minutes until the frosting then forms stiff peaks when the whisk is removed.
Et voila! Easy home-made icing for a variety of treats. And if you’re feeling adventurous, the video below shows to make cream cheese frosting.
Do you have any tips on how to make frosting?