Different Kinds of Icing-Part 1

cake icing

Part of the joy of baking is that you get to express your artistic side by making decorative toppings on your creations. Cake-making has made this into an art form and competitions are held everywhere that critiques not only the kind of cake you make but also the beauty and elegance of the icing you used to make your masterpiece.

The icing is on the cake. No pun intended. We will cover the most popular kinds of icing today and hopefully this will help let you dig deep and do more research on these. On this two-part blog we will cover the spreadable types of Icing and discuss the more complicated types on a later date.

Butter Cream

We start with the most common and widely known icing and is made of butter, milk, sugar and vanilla. From there we branch off to the other kinds of buttercream.

American style

This is what is referred to as your general butter cream Icing and is the easiest to make. This is what is used for your classic birthday cakes.

Italian Meringue Buttercream

Fluffy and buttery and has a medium to thick consistency. This is made by beating egg whites with salt until it forms stiff peaks. Hot syrup is then added and mixed till it reaches room temperature. The final piece is adding butter and vanilla extract mixing those together until smooth.

French Buttercream

Same process as that of Italian buttercream but we substitute the egg whites with egg yolks. Your end-product is a very rich cream ideal for toppings on cupcakes. The downside to this kind of buttercream is that its shelf-life is not as long as the others and should be kept refrigerated.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Almost similar to Italian buttercream but there are some slight changes in the process. Egg whites and sugar are mixed over a water bath or double boiler(see image) until light and fluffy. The mixture is cooled and then butter and other flavors are then mixed in.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin cake with cheese frosting

Another kind of frosting in which the king is of course cream cheese. Denser than buttercream but still fluffy enough to be poured onto cakes. If you need a tangy and sharp taste to the cake you are making. This is the best kind of frosting to balance out those flavors.


Ganache cupcakes
Cupcake with Ganache Topping

Made from either white or dark chocolate and cream. Mostly made with a shiny sheen but it also comes in a matte sheen that can be piped or spread thru the cake.


Boiled Icing

Also called Italian Meringue or Marshmallow Icing. A lot of people confuse boiled frosting with Italian Buttercream but though the techniques are almost similar-Hot syrup mixed in beaten egg whites. The omission of butter in the recipe gives this kind of frosting’s unique and very fluffy texture.


Hope this first installment gives you already plenty of information. Wait for the second part of the blog that covers the rest if the kinds of icing.

Leave us a comment or check out our blog if you want more articles like these or if you have any feedback to what we have just written.

The Bailiwick Team



2 thoughts on “Different Kinds of Icing-Part 1”

  1. Pingback: The different kinds of Icing- Part 2 - The Bailiwick Academy

  2. Pingback: What is Ganache and How Do You Make It?

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