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What’s the Difference Between Frosting and Icing?

There is a very important distinction between frosting and icing. Many people think that they are one and the same. That is not true, and understanding the differences is a matter of taking a look at each ingredient.

Frosting and Icing are both essential when it comes to decorating cakes and cupcakes with beautiful designs. Many of you who follow Baking with Donna, might be wondering, what is the difference between Frosting and Icing?

The difference comes down to the consistency of the product. For instance, Frosting is thicker than Icing. So if you are using frosting to decorate a cake or cupcake, it will not run off the top of your creation like icing will.

Frosting and Icing use to be a topic of major confusion for me and others in the baking community. I know many people who call their frosting icing, and icing, frosting. I have also heard many people confused about the differences between the two.

The frosting is often used as a term that describes many different types of textured toppings that one puts on a cake. It should be in a consistency that is thick, but not so thick that it is overly difficult to spread over a cake. Also, frosting can be made from butter or shortening.

In terms of texture and style, frosting falls into different categories.

These include:

Swiss Meringue Buttercream– A classic frosting made with egg whites that are beaten until stiff and then mixed with butter and sugar.

American Buttercream– This frosting is made out of equal parts confectioner’s sugar and butter. It is often flavored with vanilla. But you can also make chocolate buttercream frosting as well. Delicious!😋

The thing about buttercream frosting is that it is so easy to use for decorating your cakes and cupcakes. It’s not too sweet and it’s very tasty.

Another favorite frosting of mine is Cream Cheese. Talk about yummy! Now, this is not really good for decorating. It is way too thick for that, but you can make a beautiful cake non the less.


Chocolate Ganache– Is a very smooth texture with a satin finish and will give any cake you make a very elegant look. You can garnish with fresh fruit, sprinkles, or whatever you like to add a finishing touch. You only need 2 ingredients to create a beautiful icing.

Basic Powdered Sugar- This is a very easy one to make with only 3 ingredients that will give your baked goods just a little dash of sweetness for some added flavor. This icing is considered a wet icing because it does not dry hard. Take extra care if you package them up for transport. Excellent for cinnamon rolls.

It doesn’t matter which option you choose, you will soon be the talk of your family and friends with these delicious toppings.

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍰

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