Types of Icing

Buttercream Icing

Buttercream icing is widely regarded as the most flavorful and tasty icing. Buttercream icing is made of butter or sometimes margarine combined with confection sugar, flavoring, and some type of liquid. These ingredients are whipped to a custard like consistency, chilled, and whipped more until they achieve the traditional buttercream consistency. Buttercream frosting is used primarily in Wilton Method cake decorating.

Basic Icing

This is a basic frosting that isn’t usually used for fine cake decorating but may be used when you need icing in a hurry. Just combine egg whites and sugar along with flavor like vanilla extract and put in a double boiler. Beat constantly until it reaches 140 degrees. If you want to avoid cooking with eggs, you can use meringue powder instead of egg whites to make this basic, stiff frosting.

Whipped Cream Icing

Whipped cream icing is just confectionary sugar, liquid, vanilla or other flavoring, and heavy whipping cream. To get the best consistency, combine the ingredients in a chilled bowl and whip with a mixer or a chilled whisk. Whipped cream icing needs to be refrigerated to keep its consistency.

Royal Icing

Royal icing is the most commonly used icing and is used heavily in the Lambeth Method of cake decorating and the Australian Method of cake decorating. Royal icing is easy to make out of meringue powder, sifted confectioners' sugar and water and should have the same consistency as pancake batter when finished.

Ganaches

Ganache icing is chocolate and heavy cream melted together and blended. Ganache gives cakes a yummy taste and a beautiful glazed texture. You can also use Ganache to “crumb proof” your cake before applying other frosting or decoration.

Glazes  

Glazes are just powered sugar and liquid. Glazes are used a lot as primers to perfect the cake surface before the rest of the decorations and frostings are applied. Glazes are also good icings for simple cakes that would be overwhelmed by heavy icings.