// CUPCAKE FROSTINGS & ICINGS
A cupcake just isn’t a cupcake without its frosting!! Although an American term, frosting is just a term used to describe the piped topping of a cupcake for example buttercream or ganache.
Not only does the topping add a decorative touch, it also adds flavour, texture, richness and moistness to the cupcake. There are four basic icings for cupcakes which are buttercream; a traditional topping made with icing sugar and eggs, ganache; a rich chocolate icing which has a similar texture to buttercream, cream cheese frosting; less sweet but still rich and meringue: a light and delicate topping.
In addition the frostings above that you can pipe on you can also decorate your cupcakes with a fondant or sugarpaste top, which are kept in place by a thin layer of buttercream. These smoother tops are great for weddings and christenings as they are slightly easier to eat, transport and serve. They also make great canvas’s to add a beautiful cupcake topper such as a sugar butterfly or flower.
As the frosting is a big part of the cupcake the variation of flavour is huge and the frosting is often designed to compliment the cupcake sponge flavour such as a mocha cupcake with a chocolate flavoured sponge works really well with a coffee flavoured buttercream. And of course most frostings can be coloured if need be to tie in with your design theme.
// Questions about Frostings and Cupcake Icing
I haven’t time to make a frosting – can I buy it readymade?
Yes you can, but choices on flavour can be limited or artificial tasting in flavour. Where possible try to make your own – buttercream is really easy to make and only takes a few minutes and can be flavoured with vanilla or almond extract for example. If you do need to buy a readymade frosting then most major supermarkets stock tubs of frosting for around £2.
Do I have to pipe the frosting?
No. You can also achieve a great finish by using a palette knife to smooth the frosting on top of the cupcake and finishing with a nice swirl at the top. You can also choose to cover your cupcakes in sugarpaste which you will need a rolling pin and circle cutter to do this. There are lots of ‘how to’ guides and video available on the internet for help and advice.
Are there vegan alternatives to the buttercream frosting?
Yes there are lots of recipes available for a vegan diet, which use margarine instead of butter, which don’t compromise on taste. There are also lots of alternatives for other diets too such as soya and dairy free.