How to Pick the Right Cake Frosting

Learn how to pick the right cake frosting from pastry chef Amanda Oakleaf in this cake decorating video from Howcast.

Hi, my name is Amanda Oakleaf. I am owner, head baker, decorator of Amanda Oakleaf Cakes in Winthrop, Massachusetts where we do custom cakes of all kinds — wedding cakes, birthday cakes, sculpted cakes. Anything you can think of we can make it into a cake. And today I will be talking to you about cake decorating. When decorating a cake, there are three basic kinds of frostings. We have the butter cream, royal icing, and fondant. Butter cream is your standard cupcake frosting that you would use to fill and frost a cake. It’s kind of got an off-white texture. If it is a pure white butter cream, you can be a little suspicious because the off-white color is created by the butter in the cake and the vanilla, so if was pure white, you might be suspicious. Is there butter in there? Is it real vanilla? Ours has both, so it’s easily spreadable. It holds its peaks. It holds its shape. It’s good for making roses, and decorations like that. Second we have royal icing. Royal icing is pure white. This has no fat in it. It’s a frosting that dries hard after you decorate with it. It kind of dries hard like a candy. It’s made of meringue powder, four egg whites, and powdered sugar, and a little bit of water, and you can adjust the consistency by adding more or less water to be more spreadable. This also holds its shape very well. You can do really delicate or extreme work. You can pipe out a lot of details, scroll-work onto a cake, and it will dry hard in the end, that if you bump the cake accidentally the royal icing won’t smear as butter cream will. Royal icing is also used as a glue. If you want to hold two pieces of fondant together on your cake, a little royal icing in between will dry hard in the end and will hold the pieces together. Lastly, we have fondant. Fondant is a sugar dough that can be rolled out to cover a cake. It can be molded to be figurines, flowers, bows, ribbon. Anything you want. So it’s basically like a play-doh. Ours is a homemade marshmallow-based fondant so it actually tastes pretty good. It’s just marshmallows, powdered sugar, and then you have a sugar dough. So, all three of these together make a well-decorated cake.