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Icings or frostings are sweet coatings for cakes and other baked goods. Icings have three main functions:-

  1. They improve the keeping qualities of the cake by forming protective coatings around it.

  2. they contribute flavour and richness

  3. They improve appearance.

There are seven basic kinds of icings:-


  1. Fondant

  2. Butter cream

  3. Foam Type icing

  4. Fudge type icing

  5. Flat type icing

  6. Royal or decorators icings

  7. Glazes




Fondant is sugar syrup that is crystallized to a smooth creamy white mass. When applied it sets up into a shiny, non-sticky coating.

Fondant is prepared by dissolving 500gms of granulated or cube sugar in 150 ml of water and 15 ml of glucose and then allowed to boil gradually till it reaches the soft ball stage 112o-116 oC (234-240oF) which may be tested by dropping a little syrup in iced water where it will from a ball under water but lose its shape immediately when it is exposed to air. The syrup must be cooled immediately and the air bubbles then subside.

The syrup is, then, poured out into a cold surface and worked first with a spatula until it turns from a clear liquid to a white crumbly solid. It is then kneaded by hand until smooth and finished by being left to ripen in a cool place for at least 12 hours.

The object is to produce minute crystals in a super saturated solution of sugar giving a

―creamy texture to the finished product.




  1. For first coating on fruit cakes before applying Royal icing.

  2. For dipping fresh fruits to make confections for immediate consumption.

  3. For casting into moulds.

  4. Pastel coloured icing for cakes



Butter Cream Icings


Butter cream icings are light smooth mixtures of fat and icing sugar. They may also contain eggs to increase their smoothness or lightness. This icing is very popular and is used for covering many kinds of cake.

They are easily flavoured and coloured to suit a variety of purposes.


There are four types of basic kinds of butter cream:


1. Butter icing is made with butter and icing sugar which are creamed together to the desired consistency and lightness.

2. a) Simple butter cream are made by creaming together fat and sugar to the desired consistency, a small quantity of egg white may be whipped in to obtain the desired lightness.

b) Decorators butter cream is a simple butter cream used for making flowers and other cake decorations. It is creamed only a little, because if too much air is incorporated, it could not be able to hold delicate shapes.

3. Meringue type butter creams are prepared by first beating egg whites and adding a boiling syrup or just sugar. Soft butter is then mixed into the meringue. This is a very light smooth icing.

4. French butter creams are similar to above but the mixture is made with whole eggs, and boiling syrup. This is a very rich, light icing. N.B. Unsalted butter is  the preferred fat for butter creams because of its flavour and melt in the mouth quality.

Recipe for: Butter icing


  1. Beat 125 gms. of butter add 125 gms. of icing sugar with 30 gm of milk and flavouring. Beat until creamy and smooth.

  2. Butter cream or crème au beurre.


Place 2 egg whites and 125gm of icing sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until mixture holds shape. Cool slightly. Cream 125 gm butter until soft then beat in the meringue mixture a little at a time. Flavour or colour as desired.

Foam type icing


They are also known as boiled icings. They are simple meringues made with boiling syrup and may also contain gelatine as a stabilizer. Foam type icings should be applied thickly to cakes and left in peaks and swirls. These icings are not stable and should be used they day they are prepared.

Flat type icings


These icings are also known as water icings and are mixtures of confectioners‘ sugar, water, sometimes corn syrup and flavouring. They are used for coffee cakes, Danish party and sweet rolls.

They are a simple mixture consisting of five pounds of powdered sugar 300ml water, 200 ml corn syrup and flavouring as desired. Egg white may also be added to lighten the frosting.

Fudge Type icing


Fudge type icings are rich cooked icings. Fudge icings are heavy and thick and they may be flavoured by a variety of ingredients. They are used on cup cakes, layer cakes, loaf cakes, sheet cakes, etc.

To store fudge icings they must be properly covered with cling flim and then kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To use stored fudge icing, warm in a double boiler until it is soft enough to spread. They are stable frostings which hold their shape well on cakes and cup cakes.



Sugar                                 –  450 gms


Glucose or corn syrup    - 150 gms


Water                                 - 120 ml


Butter                                - 150 gms


Sugar pwd                        - 375 gms


Cocoa pwd                       - 175 gms


Vanilla essence                - to taste




  1. Combine granulated sugar, glucose and water and boil till 116°C.

  2. Sift powdered sugar and cocoa together, cream sugar/cocoa with butter till light and fluffy and gradually add syrup and essence and blend well.

  3. Use immediately while still warm and spreadable.


Royal Icing


This icing is the traditional covering for Christmas and wedding cakes, and is made from icing sugar beaten with egg whites and lemon juice; a teaspoon of glycerine may be added. In the hands of a skilled confectioner this can be used to produce perfectly flat smooth surfaces or piped into intricate borders, patterns or trellis work, which are very fragile but very hard when set. It is always applied over a layer of marzipan or fondant.

The recipe for royal icing needed for 6 inch round or 5 inch square cakes is as follows.


  • Egg whites                  2. No.

  • Icing Sugar                  500 gms

  • Lemon juice                1 Teaspoon

  • Glycerine                     1 Teaspoon

  • Cream of tartar            2.5 gms




  1. Beat the egg whites with a fork until frothy

  2. Gradually beat in 1/2 the icing sugar, using a wooden spoon (+ Lemon juice and cream of tartar)

  3. Beat in the remaining icing sugar with the glycerine

  4. Beat thoroughly until smooth and white, and having a consistency that stands in soft peaks.

  5. Add colouring if required.

  6. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave it to stand for several hours to allow bubbles to escape. Before using stir well with wooden spoon but do not over beat.


The icings mentioned below are similar to Royal icing.


Sugar paste or Moulded Icing


Beat one egg white and 15 ml glucose gradually adding 500gm icing sugar to form a still paste. Turn unto a surface sprinkled with corn flour and knead until smooth. Wrap in cling film and keep and keep in a plastic bag to prevent it from drying, will keep refrigerated for 6 weeks. This quantity is sufficient to cover 8 inch round cake.



Boil together 50 gms of butter + lemon juice +dissolved 250 gm of icing sugar and cook for 2 min. Remove from heat and beat in another 250 gm of icing sugar till stiff. Gradually mix in another 175 gm of icing sugar and knead until smooth preserve as above.



Glazes are thin glossy transparent coatings that give shine to baked products and help prevent drying. The simplest mixture for this purpose is a syrup made from 250 gms of icing sugar in 30 ml of water or milk. They are brushed over small cakes or poured to give a smooth finish.

Syrup glazes may contain gelatin or corn starch. Fruit glazes, the most popular being apricot are made by cooking them till they melt and then forcing them through a strainer.

Ganache may also be considered as an icing




A flavoured cream made with chocolate and fresh cream, sometimes with butter added. It may be used as a sauce, or to glaze a cake or it may be whipped and used a filling and/or icing. Ganache can also be made of stiffer consistency, chilled and rolled into truffles or as topping for petit fours. It was created in Paris round about 1850



Bring 100 ml of double cream to the boil. Remove from heat and add 225 gms of plain unsweetened chocolate broken into even squares. Stir until the chocolate has melted and is thoroughly combined with cream. Leave until cool but not set then whip until pale, thick and light or before whipping it may be poured over cakes as chocolate icing.

Toppings are anything that is used to cover a cake or a pastry and it may be fruits, jam, nuts etc. and Icings are that part of toppings which are sweet coatings that may be applied to cakes and pastries.

RULES For selection of icing


  1. The flavour texture and colour of icing must be compatible with the cake.

  2. In general use heavy frosting with heavy cakes and light frosting with light cakes. e.g. Angel food cakes with simple flat icings. High ratio cakes with butter cream or fudge type icings. Genoese sponge with French or meringue type icing.

  3. Use the best quality flavourings and use them sparingly.

  4. The flavour of the frosting should not be stronger than the cake.

  5. Use colour sparingly, light pastel shades are more appetizing than loud colours.

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