A Guide to the Types of Icings and Frostings

Types and Variations

There are different types of frostings that you can use for giving additional food coloring and flavoring to your freshly baked goods. Here is a list of some of the best ones:

Butter Cream Icing

Butter Cream is one of the most popular frostings used in the United States. It is very sweet, creamy, and rich. It is suitable for giving your baked goods a nice texture by coating, piping, and decorating. 

Buttercream is commercially available in buckets, in flavors of white vanilla and chocolate, as a mixture in which water is added and a combination in which butter can be added. You can include ingredients like sugar or corn syrup, butter, water, milk, butter flavor, milk proteins, citric acid, and colors in them as well.

Whipped Cream Frosting

Whipped cream is another popular thing used as frosting. It can be purchased commercially as a pre-whipped, vanilla flavored, smooth, light, and creamy topping or filling. It is a fat-based frosting that usually contains water, vegetable oil, sugar or corn syrup, milk proteins, stabilizers, salts, and color.

Foam Icing

Foam icing is an old-fashioned topping used on cakes. Commonly, it is a sweet meringue, prepared by heating egg whites in a double boiler. You have to whip it until light and fluffy. It can include gelatin stabilizers and can be applied in thick layers with spiraling patterns. 

Royal Icing

Royal icing, also known as the decorator’s icing, is suitable for detailed flooding and piping, depending upon the consistency. When it dries, it becomes hard with a smooth matte finish and is commonly used to decorate sugar cookies and make shaped decorations to be utilized later. 

You can add food colorings to produce a wide range of colors. Its ingredients include sugar, water, dried egg white, mold inhibitor, acidifier, color, and flavors. 

If you want consistency, don’t forget to make it in small batches. A thinner consistency is right for flooding, while thicker consistency is best for piping. 

Flat or Water Icing

Flat icing, also known as sugar glaze, is a simple mixture of sugar or corn syrup and water. You can add flavorings as well. The mixture is heated and applied to coffee cakes, Danish pastries, and sweet rolls. 


Meringue is another popular icing, made by beating egg whites in cold water and granulated sugar. It is very light and frothy in texture. There are three versions of it: French, Swiss, and Italian. Uncooked meringues can be used as toppings and baked till they become crisp like a cookie.


The glaze is like flat icing but with extra sugar. It is a transparent coating that you can add to your cake or baked goods to give them a shine and protect them from drying. There are two glazes; chocolate and gelatin-based glazes. The chocolate glaze includes melted chocolate and extra fats, while gelatin glazes usually contain fruits.

Dessert Sauces

You can use different sauces in desserts, including salted caramel, rum raisin, bourbon, or butterscotch sauce. Roasted balsamic strawberries or raspberry puree are some more examples of dessert sauce. They look absolutely amazing over ice creams, pies, and other desserts as they add flavor, color, and texture to them. 

Rolled Coatings/Fondants

Rolled coatings include fondant, marzipan, and modeling chocolate. They are applied by rolling into thin sheets and arranging over the cake to give it a flawless finish. Before using the icing sheet, a glaze or a thin layer of buttercream frosting is applied to adhesion. 

Marzipan is prepared from ground almonds and sugar, whereas modeling chocolate is made from chocolate and corn syrup.

Fondant is always purchased and commercially prepared. Its ingredients include sugar or corn syrup, water, palm oil, stabilizers and thickeners, humectants, colors, and mold inhibitors like potassium sorbate and acetic acid.

Frostings – Dessert Beautifiers 

Frostings and icings can help improve the appearance and flavor of cake or any other baked goods. Different types of frostings and icings allow bakers to express their imagination and artistry by applying them to the sweets. Hence they make the dessert look even more delicious and appealing, adding to its delicacy and beauty.