Producing And Handling Basic Types

Icings or frostings (the two terms mean the same thing) are sweet coatings for cakes and other baked goods. Icings have three main functions:

1. They improve the keeping qualities of the cake by forming a protective coating around it.

2. They contribute flavor and richness.

3. They improve appearance.

There are six basic kinds of icings:

Fondant Fudge-type icing

Buttercream Flat-type icing

Foam-type icing Royal or decorator's icing

In addition,we consider two other preparations for cakes:

Glazes Fillings

Use top-quality flavorings for icings so they enhance the cake rather than detract from it. Use moderation when adding flavorings and colors. Flavors should be light and delicate.Colors should be delicate,pastel shades—except chocolate, of course.


Fondant is a sugar syrup that is crystallized to a smooth, creamy white mass. It is familiar as the icing for napoleons, éclairs, petits fours, and some cakes.When applied, it sets up into a shiny, nonsticky coating.

Because it is difficult to make in the bakeshop,fondant is almost always purchased already prepared, either in ready-to-use moist form or in a dry form that requires only the addition of water.


Buttercream icings are light, smooth mixtures of fat and confectioners' sugar. They may also contain eggs to increase their smoothness or lightness.These popular icings are used for many kinds of cake.They are easily flavored and colored to suit a variety of purposes.

We consider three basic kinds of buttercream:

1. Simple buttercreams are made by creaming together fat and sugar to the desired consistency and lightness. A small quantity of egg whites may be whipped in.

Decorator's buttercream is a simple buttercream used for making flowers and other cake decorations. It is creamed only a little because if too much air is beaten in, it would not be able to hold delicate shapes.

2. Meringue-type buttercreams are prepared by first beating egg whites and adding a boiling syrup or just sugar. Soft butter is then mixed into the meringue.This is a very light, smooth icing.

Guidelines for Using Fondant

1. Heat fondant over a warm water bath, stirring constantly, to thin the icing and make it pourable. Do not heat over 100°F (38°C), or it will lose its shine.

2. If the fondant is still too thick, thin it with a little simple sugar syrup or water (simple syrup blends in more easily).

3. Add flavorings and colorings as desired.

4. To make chocolate fondant stir melted bitter chocolate into warm fondant until the desired color and flavor are reached. Chocolate thickens the fondant, so the icing may require more thinning with sugar syrup.

5. Apply fondant by pouring it over the item or by dipping items into it.

3. French buttercreams are similar to the meringue type,but the foam is made with egg yolks (and,sometimes,whole eggs) and boiling syrup.This is a very rich,light icing.

Butter, especially sweet, unsalted butter, is the preferred fat for buttercreams because of its flavor and melt-in-the-mouth quality. Icings made with shortening only can be unpleasant because the fat congeals and coats the inside of the mouth and does not melt. However, butter makes a less stable icing because it melts so easily.There are two ways around this problem:

1. Use buttercreams in cool weather only.

2. Blend a small quantity of emulsified shortening with the butter to stabilize it.

Simple Buttercream

Yield: 3 lb 10 oz (1850g)





1 lb

500 g



Cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar until well

8 oz

250 g


blended, using the paddle attachment.

2 lb

1 kg

Confectioners' sugar (10X)


Add the egg whites, lemon juice, and vanilla. Blend in at

2.5 oz

75 g

Egg whites, pasteurized

medium speed. Then mix at high speed until light and fluffy.

1 tsp

5 mL

Lemon juice


1 tbsp

15 mL



Per 1 ounce:

Calories, 150; Protein, 0 g; Fat, 10 g (58% cal.); Cholesterol, 15 mg; Carbohydrates, 16 g; Fiber, 0 g; Sodium, 65 mg.

Per 1 ounce:

Calories, 150; Protein, 0 g; Fat, 10 g (58% cal.); Cholesterol, 15 mg; Carbohydrates, 16 g; Fiber, 0 g; Sodium, 65 mg.

Decorator's Buttercream

Use 1 lb 8 oz (750 g) regular shortening, no butter. Omit lemon juice and vanilla. Reduce egg whites to 2 oz (60 g). Blend at low speed until smooth; do not whip.

Cream Cheese Icing

Substitute cream cheese for the butter and shortening. Omit egg whites. If necessary, thin the icing with cream or milk. If desired, flavor with grated lemon or orange zest instead of vanilla.

Meringue-Type Buttercream

1 kg 250 mL



Sugar Water

1. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

2. Continue to boil until the syrup reaches a temperature of 240°F (115°C).

1 lb

500 g

Egg whites 3. While the syrup is boiling, beat the egg whites in a clean, grease-free bowl, using the whip attachment, until they form firm, moist peaks. Do not overbeat.

4. As soon as the syrup reaches 240°F (115°C), pour it very slowly into the egg whites while the mixer is running at medium speed.

2 lb

8 oz

2 tsp 1 tbsp

1 kg 250 g

10 mL 15 mL

Butter, soft Emulsified shortening Lemon juice Vanilla

Continue to beat until the meringue is cool and forms stiff peaks. (You have now made an Italian meringue. For more information, see Chapter 34.)

With the mixer still running at medium speed, begin adding the butter, a little at a time. Add it just as fast as it can be absorbed by the meringue.

When all the butter is beaten in, add the shortening in the same way.

Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla.

French Buttercream


1 kg 250 mL

Sugar Water

12 oz 375 g Egg yolks 3.

While the syrup is boiling, beat the yolks with the whip attachment until they are thick and light.

As soon as the syrup reaches 240°F (115°C), pour it very slowly into the beaten yolks while the mixer is running at second speed.

Continue to beat until the mixture is cool and the yolks are very light and thick.

6. With the mixer still running, add the butter, a little at a time. Add it just as fast as it can be absorbed by the mixture.

7. Beat in the vanilla. If the icing is too soft, refrigerate until it is firm enough to spread.


Flavored buttercreams are made by adding the desired flavoring to any of the basic buttercream recipes. In addition to the two variations given below, extracts and emulsions such as lemon, orange, and almond may be used.

Chocolate Buttercream

Add 4-5 oz (125-150 g) sweet chocolate, melted and cooled, to each 1 pound (500 g) buttercream.

Coffee Buttercream

For each 1 pound (500 g) buttercream, add 1V2 tbsp (22 mL) instant coffee dissolved in 2 tsp (10 mL) hot water.


Foam icings, sometimes called boiled icings, are simply meringues made with a boiling syrup.Some also contain stabilizing ingredients like gelatin.

Foam-type icings should be applied thickly to cakes and left in peaks and swirls. These icings are not stable.They should be used the day they are prepared.Italian meringue, discussed in Chapter 34, is the simplest foam-type icing. Follow the recipe on page 1000 but add 8 ounces (250 g) corn syrup to the sugar and water for the boiled syrup.The meringue is usually flavored with vanilla.

2 lb 8 oz 1.25 kg Butter, soft

1 tbsp 15 mL Vanilla

Per 1 ounce:

Calories, 150; Protein, 1 g; Fat, 12 g (71% cal.); Cholesterol, 80 mg; Carbohydrates, 10 g; Fiber, 0 g; Sodium, 110 mg.


Flat icings, also called water icings, are simply mixtures of 10X sugar,water, and, sometimes, corn syrup and flavoring.They are used mostly for coffee cakes, Danish pastry, and sweet rolls. Flat icings are warmed to 100°F (38°C) for application and are handled like fondant.


Fudge icings are rich cooked icings. Many are made somewhat like candy. Fudge icings are heavy and thick, and they may be flavored with a variety of ingredients.They are used on cupcakes, layer cakes, loaf cakes, and sheet cakes.

Fudge icings are stable and hold up well on cakes and in storage. Stored icings must be covered tightly to prevent drying and crusting.

To use stored fudge icing, warm it in a double boiler until soft enough to spread. Fudge-type icings do not necessarily contain chocolate. Plain white fudge icings may be flavored with vanilla, almond, maple, coffee, or other desired flavoring.

Flat Icing



Confectioners' sugar

(10X or 6X) Water, hot Corn syrup Vanilla

6fl oz 180g

2 fl oz 60 g

112 tsp 8 mL

Per 1 ounce:

Calories, 90; Protein, 0 g; Fat, 0 g (0% cal.); Cholesterol, 0 mg; Carbohydrates, 24 g; Fiber, 0 g; Sodium, 0 mg.

1. Mix all ingredients together until smooth.

2. To use, place desired amount in a double boiler. Warm to 100°F (38°C) and apply to the product to be iced.

Caramel Fudge Icing


1500 g 750 mL 375 g 1 mL 15 mL


Brown sugar Milk

Butter or shortening



Per 1 ounce:

Calories, 130; Protein, 0 g; Fat, 4.5 g (33% cal.); Cholesterol, 15 mg; Carbohydrates, 21 g; Fiber, 0 g; Sodium, 65 mg.


1. Combine the sugar and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Using a brush dipped in water, wash down the sides of the saucepan to prevent sugar crystals from forming. (See "Sugar Cooking," Chapter 35.)

2. Boil the mixture slowly, without stirring, until it reaches 240°F (115°C).

3. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a mixer. Add the butter and salt. Mix in with the paddle attachment.

4. Turn off the machine. Let the mixture cool to 110°F (43°C).

5. Add the vanilla and turn the machine on low speed. Beat the icing until it is smooth and creamy in texture. If it is too thick, thin it with a little cream or milk.

6. Spread on cooled cake while the icing is warm, or rewarm it in a double boiler.

Quick White Fudge Icing

U.S. Metric Ingredients ■ Pr0cedure

8 fl oz 250 mL Water

4 oz 125 g Butter

4 oz 125 g Emulsified shortening

3 oz 90 g Corn syrup

12 tsp 2 mL Salt

4 lb 2 kg Confectioners' sugar

1 tbsp 15 mL Vanilla

Per 1 ounce:

Calories, 110; Protein, 0 g; Fat, 2.5 g (20% cal.); Cholesterol, 5 mg; Carbohydrates, 23 g; Fiber, 0 g; Sodium, 25 mg.


Quick Chocolate Fudge Icing

Omit the butter in the basic recipe. Beat in 12 oz (375 g) melted unsweetened chocolate after the boiling water has been added. Thin with more hot water as needed.

2. Sift the sugar into the bowl of a mixer.

3. Using the paddle attachment and with the machine running on low speed, add the boiling water mixture. Blend until smooth. Icing will become lighter the more it is mixed.

4. Blend in the vanilla.

5. Use while still warm, or rewarm in a double boiler. If necessary, thin with hot water.

Cocoa Fudge Icing


Granulated sugar Corn syrup Water Salt

8 oz

1 lb

6 oz to taste as needed

250 g

500 g

175 g to taste as needed

Butter or part butter and part emulsified shortening Confectioners' sugar

(10X or 6X) Cocoa Vanilla Hot water

Per 1 ounce:

Calories, 110; Protein, 0 g; Fat, 2.5 g (20% cal.); Cholesterol, 5 mg; Carbohydrates, 22 g; Fiber, 1 g; Sodium, 60 mg.

While the sugar is cooking, mix the fat, sugar, and cocoa until evenly combined, using the paddle attachment of the mixer. With the machine running at low speed, very slowly pour in the hot syrup.

Mix in the vanilla. Continue to beat until the icing is smooth, creamy, and spreadable. If necessary, thin with a little hot water. Use while still warm, or rewarm in a double boiler.


Vanilla Fudge Icing

Use evaporated milk or light cream instead of water for the syrup. Omit cocoa. Adjust consistency with additional confectioners' sugar (to thicken) or water (to thin). Other flavorings may be used in place of vanilla, such as almond, maple, peppermint, or coffee.


Royal icing, also called decorating or decorator's icing, is similar to flat icings except that it is much thicker and is made with egg whites, which make it hard and brittle when dry. It is used almost exclusively for decorative work. To prepare royal icing:

1. Place the desired amount of 10X sugar in a mixing bowl.Add a small quantity of cream of tartar (for whiteness)—about 1/s teaspoon per pound of sugar (1 g per kilogram).

2. Beat in egg white, a little at a time, until the sugar forms a smooth paste.You will need 2 to 3 ounces egg whites per pound of sugar (125 g per kilogram).

3. Keep unused icing covered with a damp cloth at all times to prevent hardening.


Glazes are thin, glossy, transparent coatings that give shine to baked products and help prevent drying.

The simplest glaze is a sugar syrup or diluted corn syrup brushed onto coffee cakes or Danish while the glaze is hot. See Chapter 30 for recipe (p. 922). Syrup glazes may contain gelatin or waxy maize starch. Fruit glazes, the most popular being apricot, are available commercially prepared. They are melted, thinned with a little water, and brushed on while hot.

Fruit glazes may also be made by melting apricot or other preserves and forcing them through a strainer.

One of the most common uses of glazes in cake-making is to coat the fruit arranged on the top of fruit tortes (see p. 943).


Fillings are sometimes used instead of icings between cake layers. Fillings are also used in such products as jelly rolls, Danish, and other pastries.

1. Fruit fillings.

Fruit fillings may be cooked or uncooked.

Cooked fruit fillings are chopped or pureed fruits or fruit juices thickened with starch or eggs.They are prepared somewhat like pie fillings (see Chapter 34).

Uncooked fruit fillings include jellies and preserves and dried fruits that have been ground and flavored (see recipes in Chapter 30). Fresh fruits, such as the strawberries in strawberry shortcake, are also used. Many ready-to-use fruit fillings are on the market.

2. Cream fillings.

Cream fillings include pastry cream (recipes in Chapter 35) and various puddingtype preparations.

Desserts with cream fillings should be assembled as close to service time as possible and kept refrigerated to avoid health hazards.

3. Whipped cream.

Whipped cream is used as a dessert topping, filling, and frosting. See page 810 for instructions on whipping and handling heavy cream.

Artificial whipped toppings resemble whipped cream in appearance.They should be used only if your customers actually like them.

Continue reading here: Assembling And Icing Cakes

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