'icing' on Serious Eats

Flour Buttercream

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. More

Italian Buttercream

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! More

German 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. More

Classic American Buttercream

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! More

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

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. More

Cook the Book: Grandma Stevens's Coconut Cake

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. More

Gluten-Free Tuesday: One Bowl Chocolate Cake

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. More

How to Ice a Cake

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. More

In Genius Snack Ideas: Frosting On Saltines

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.... More

The Icing vs. Frosting Debate

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.... More

Real Black Food Coloring At Last

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]... More

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