Most home bakers are familiar with making buttercream. It's smooth, creamy and it tastes amazing spread over cake, piped onto cupcakes, or smushed between two cookies. However, there are actually six different kinds of buttercream! Read on to see how they compare...
'icing' on Serious Eats
Swiss buttercream is silky-smooth, incredibly creamy, and unbelievably delicious. Because it's made with Swiss meringue, it holds up pretty well in warmer temperatures. The meringue base also makes it a lot lighter in color than most buttercreams.
French buttercream is a gorgeously smooth, velvety and rich buttercream. Because it's made with an egg-yolk foam (technically called pâte à bombe), it naturally has a bright yellow color.
This buttercream is light, fluffy, and delicious. It is made by first cooking a simple pudding made with milk, sugar and flour. Once this pudding base has cooled to room temperature, you add it to beaten butter by the spoonful. The result? A super smooth, light buttercream with a pale ivory color.
Italian buttercream is creamy, velvety, and delicious. Because it's made with Italian meringue, it's a lot lighter in color than most buttercreams and it looks almost pure white against a dark chocolate cake. It also holds up pretty well in warmer temperatures, so if you're planning a summer party outside, this is your go-to buttercream!
This German buttercream is incredibly smooth and delicious. It's made with a custard base, which gives it a natural yellow color. And although this buttercream contains a fair amount of butter and three egg yolks, it is surprisingly light, both in texture and taste.
This classic American buttercream is deliciously creamy, super sweet, and incredibly fluffy, and one of the easiest buttercreams to master. It's just a matter of beating softened butter until it's fluffy, adding powdered sugar, cream and a little vanilla and whipping it all together. No cooking required!
From Taste and Tell
Royal icing, at its most basic, is a mixture of confectioner's sugar, liquid, and food dye. The type of liquid depends on taste, most contains at least some water, and many folks like to add lemon juice, extract, or (for the grown-ups) booze for flavor.
My favorite recipe for making sugar cookies with royal icing comes from the venerable Martha Stewart. It's a classic recipe for perfect sugar cookies, the kind that are light and crisp and perfect for decorating. I recommend using brandy or cognac, which adds a butterscotch note to the cookies.
Just right for birthdays or other special occasions, this Old-Fashioned Cake is a perfect balance of moist bittersweet chocolate cake and marshmallowy icing.
Desserts don't get more Southern than a towering coconut cake. Fluffy and white, dusted with shaved coconut and gobs of seven-minute icing, it's a gorgeous way to end a meal. This particular version from Molly O'Neill's One Big Table incorporates an extra layer of coconut flavor in the form of a sour cream-coconut filling. Mixed up a few days before baking, it's a dead ringer for chocolate Easter egg filling, i.e., super delicious and plenty coconutty.
Not only do I prefer the texture of boxed cake, I also love the ease. Open a box, dump in a few ingredients and in two minutes you have batter. Would it be possible, I wondered, to create a homemade, gluten-free, one bowl cake recipe? Turns out, the answer is yes. This cake, which was inspired by the classic gluten-filled Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" recipe, comes together quickly. White rice flour, cornstarch, and just a little sweet rice flour combine to create a cake that has a texture that's very similar to boxed cake—only better.
Ahh, icing and cake. Few foods bring about more childlike joy. And yet, trying to bring these two together without a little know-how can make you feel like a five-year-old with two left hands. Here are a few pointers to make the next go-round less messy.
Previously Tarragon Chicken » All French in a Flash recipes » One thing that hasn't changed since childhood is that I love playing with food. As a cook, that now means using ingredients in ways as creative as my...
Photo from Boots In The OvenAnother triumph for the happy union of sweet and salty. Logan at Boots In The Oven recalls a favorite snack from childhood that he's never given up: canned frosting on crackers. "Yup, my favorite is cream cheese frosting with Premium brand saltines," he says. "Original flavor." Sweet and gooey on salty and crunchy... almost like Nutella on tortilla chips....
From left: icing; frosting. Or is it the other way around?! Is this an issue of semantics? Like jimmies versus sprinkles? And banana peppers versus pepperoncini? Cakespy says the terms are ultimately interchangeable, but a little research in Cake, the new Williams-Sonoma cookbook, proves "an icing is generally thinner and glossier," while frosting is "a thick, fluffy mixture, such as buttercream, used to coat the outside of a cake." Then there's glaze (oy!) which is more slippery and thinner than the other two. Where do you stand on the debate? Don't fret too much. At the end of the day, our veins are full of sugar and happy cells....
A long national nightmare is about to end very soon, when McCormick launches black food coloring on the market—finally, bakers everywhere will no longer have to endure the indignity of mixing all their different colors together in hope of getting a muddy gray dark enough to pass. Retired Chicago-area teacher Betsy Friduss bakes that staple of every New York deli, the black-and-white cookie, and usually makes her icing "a very, very dark brown. I've never done anything in true black," Friduss said. "I could go nuts." [thanks, Andrew]...