There are numerous types of icings for cakes and every baker has a personal preference as to what they want to apply on their cakes. While some types of icing are easy to make, others take plenty of practice and time. Complex icings can be intimidating for beginners and even for those who’ve been baking for quite a while.
However, to master each icing technique, the most important thing to keep in mind is not to be afraid to try and fail repeatedly. Practice until you have achieved the correct consistency for each kind. Here are some of the most popular types of cake icing which you can use on the finishing of your cakes.
This is one of the most versatile and common cake toppings and can also be used as filling. Buttercream, in fact, covers a fairly wide array of different cake toppings. Buttercream’s basic composition is sugar and fat (as the name implies, often butter, but not always). However, the methods and ingredients employed can vary immensely.
Some of the most common types of buttercream are:
- American-style buttercream
- Crusting buttercream
- Flour buttercream
- Cream cheese frosting
- Meringue buttercream
- Custard buttercream
- French buttercream
- Fudge buttercream
- Rolled buttercream
- Caramel icing
The process of making this icing is very similar to the process of marking candy. A milk and brown sugar mixture is boiled and combined with sugar and butter until it has reached a consistency where it can be spread easily. This type of icing is best applied to a cake right after it’s made as it sets firmly.
Ganache can be used as a cake topping, glaze or filling. Among the most common type of ganache is a type which is made using equal weights in chocolate and cream. The cream is brought to a simmer and then chopped up chocolate is poured and mixed in until smooth. Even though the mixture starts out quite liquid, it sets as it cools off. It can either be used as a drizzle on or as an icing on the entire cake. When firm enough, it can be used as a filling for different types of chocolates.
- Gum Paste
Gum paste is often used for cake decorating. It is flexible dough made with egg whites, shortening and confectioner’s sugar. It can be rolled out quite thin and is ideal for making intricate decorations, especially hand modelled flowers. Unlike fondant, which remains soft, gum paste dries out quite quickly and becomes harder as it dries. Hence, gum paste is better suited for decoration rather than covering an entire cake.
- Modelling Chocolate
This type of cake icing is made by melting chocolate and combining it with simple syrup or corn syrup. It is then kneaded until it reaches a pliable yet stiff consistency. This modelling chocolate can be used like clay and modelled into a variety of shapes which are harder to perform with softer fondant. Modelling chocolate can be made with dark, white, milk and semi-sweet chocolate. White chocolate is the easiest to tint in different colours.
These are only a few types of cake icings which you can use to finish your cakes. There is a wide variety of other types of cake decorations you can experiment with. However, remember that the cake must be delicious even when consumed without the frosting.