What is Frosting

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The first Food Knowledge Base article: what is fresh cream is a success! The following knowledge base article is about frosting and icing. You can use heavy cream to provide a cake with frosting. Whipped cream contains not enough fat to keep its shape for long. In this article, we’ll take a closer look on what is frosting and the difference with icing.


What is the definition of Frosting

The meaning of Frosting is:

”Frosting is a sweet mixture for coating or filling cakes and cookies. Frosting holds it shape and is always whipped”.

What is Frosting made of 

To make frosting you need a couple of ingredients. It really depends on the flavor you want. If you want to make the basics you need these ingredients:

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Milk
  • Butter

To add flavor to the mix, you can add:

  • Cacao Powder – Chocolate
  • Lemon juice / zest – Lemon
  • Vanilla extract – Vanilla


different types of frosting: chocolate

Different types of Frosting

By types I don’t mean taste, otherwise there will be dozens of different types. There are 4 types. These types are:

  1. Meringue
  2. Butter Cream (Most Popular)
  3. Cream Cheese Frosting
  4. Whipped Cream

I will explain every type below.


The first frosting you can make is meringue. Meringue is really easy to make. You need a couple of egg-whites, a bowl and a mixing machine. Start mixing the egg whites and add 3 times 20 grams of sugar. When you reach the soft peaks of the meringue its time to stop whisking.


Meringue frosting


Butter Cream

The second option is butter cream. This is by far the most popular option. Like the name says you need butter. I recommend to use Unsalted butter. Make sure the butter has the same temperature as the room. Unsalted butter is the most safe choice. With all the different brands it’s really hard to know how much salt they have added to the butter. With the butter you add the powdered sugar. Mix the two ingredients together. The third ingredient is: heavy cream or whipping cream. A third option is milk, but for the best result you need to use heavy cream. It can hold its shape the best. The butter cream is perfect to decorate cupcakes.

butter cream frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

This type is most popular for a red velvet cake. You combine butter, powdered sugar, and cream cheese in a bowl. Mix it together and you get an amazing frosting. You can even add food color to give the mix a different color. Watch the recipe on YouTube or below!

Whipped Cream

The last type is whipped cream. Out of all the types this is by far the most easy to make. You need two ingredients: heavy cream / whipped cream and powdered sugar. Put both ingredients in a bowl and start mixing. By mixing the ingredients you see after 3-5 minutes soft peaks. Keep mixing until the peaks hold their shape.

The difference: Frosting vs Icing

After explaining the different types it’s time to explain the difference between frosting and icing. I can imagine that you think that both are quiet similar. Well after my explanation below you will know the difference forever. Frosting and icing are different based on:

  • Shape
  • Ingredients
  • Use

To begin with the shape. Frosting is stiff and whipped. Icing is weak and never whipped. The difference is made in the ingredients. Icing is made with sugar and water. Or you can add milk instead of the water. To give the icing more flavor you have the option to add lemon juice or vanilla extract. That really depends on the dish that you are making. Like I mentioned above Frosting is made with butter, heavy cream and powdered sugar. To make the mixture right you need a kitchen machine or a hand mixer.

Because the mixture is stiff you can use is it in different ways. You can use it for decorating cupcakes or cakes. Icing can be put on a lemon pound cake. When you pour the mixture over the cake you see the white stripes. The mix is slightly thicker than water. I hope you now know the differences and will never forget! At last a small FAQ.

FAQ Frosting

Below you can find the most frequently asked questions:

What is Frosting?
Frosting is a sweet mixture for coating or filling cakes and cookies. It holds it shape and is always whipped.

What are the ingredients?
Milk, Powdered Sugar and butter if you make a butter cream for example.

What are the different types?
There are four types: meringue, butter cream, cream cheese and whipped cream.



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