Differences Between Frostings Help?

Baking By whoawicked Updated 2 Jan 2014 , 9:38pm by SARAFINA1991

whoawicked Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
whoawicked Posted 17 Dec 2013 , 5:10pm
post #1 of 5

Hi there, I'm just starting out in cake decorating and I've come to a crossroads. The only kind of frosting I've used for cakes is the stuff that comes out of a can, but now I want to try making my own. But which one do I choose?


The problem is that there seem to be a million types of frostings and several hundred recipes for each one. There's Swiss, Italian and French meringue buttercream, not to mention the good ole fashioned American buttercream but what about royal icing and then there's cream cheese frosting and-- Ugh so many choices!


I've looked up the Wikipedia articles about the different kinds and it gives me a very good background of how they differ in preparation, but I'm looking for the practical uses of these frostings. I've even looked up videos of how to make just about each and every type of frosting, but it's hard to tell if the recipes are what I'm looking for. For now I'm going to stick with practicing my frosting skills on sheet pans (I'm such a noob!), but I would like to have a nice decorating frosting to work with.


Could someone point me in the right direction of which type of buttercream to use for decorating? Any help at all would be great! (:

4 replies
-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 17 Dec 2013 , 10:41pm
post #2 of 5

i think american is pretty versatile--but for practicing piping royal is easier to clean up--


when you say practice decorating do you mean piping or do you mean slathering on a cake or cake pan to practice applying icing to a cake?




a fellow hoosier

whoawicked Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
whoawicked Posted 18 Dec 2013 , 12:07am
post #3 of 5

Well, a little of both. Mostly just piping, and I also wanted to try my hand at making some buttercream roses. However, the last time I tried to smear frosting on a cake I was like 15 and it turned out looking like absolute poop. ):


Basically I just wanted to get my buttercream decorating down before I attempted actually using a cake. 


But thank you! I'll be sure to hunt down a good recipe. (:

AnnieCahill Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
AnnieCahill Posted 18 Dec 2013 , 2:38pm
post #4 of 5

IMBC and SMBC-egg white (meringue) based.  Can use it to flat ice and pipe


French BC-whole egg.  Can use it to flat ice and pipe


"American" or powdered-sugar based-Can use it to flat ice and pipe.  Considerably sweeter than European buttercreams depending on the recipe used


Royal icing-can use it for piping, dries hard.  Can also use to decorate cookies


Cream cheese icing-can use it for icing cakes but it's more challenging to get smooth.  I use it to cover red velvet and carrot cakes.  I also use it as a filling.


Since you're just starting out, I would use a basic powdered-sugar based recipe.  If you're trying to figure out how to decorate, just use the Wilton recipe with all Crisco and powdered sugar.  Don't eat it though because it will taste like crap.  My buttercream is all butter with powdered sugar. 


When you're ready to move up and try an IMBC, I use Warren Brown's which you can find on YouTube.  It's really easy and delicious.  I like it because you don't get the powdered sugar cloud.

SARAFINA1991 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
SARAFINA1991 Posted 2 Jan 2014 , 9:38pm
post #5 of 5


Quote by @%username% on %date%