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How to Make Icing

Posted By Peter Jeffries On May 14, 2010 @ 6:57 pm In Cooking & Baking | Comments Disabled

Icing gives any cake an extra boost. It provides an attractive, professional-looking finish and adds a delicious creamy sweetness to your baking. If you want to make your cakes the best they can be you need to learn how to make icing.

Icing Varieties

There are many varieties of cake icing, some involve whipping up egg whites, some old fashioned icing recipes even require you to boil up a pan of sugar. But many of these icing recipes are too time consuming for today’s busy home cook. How To will show you two simple cake icing recipes that won’t take all day to prepare.

Plain Icing

The simplest icing of them all, plain icing can be made in about two minutes flat.


  • 1 cup of icing sugar.
  • Milk.
  • 1/3 teaspoon of Vanilla essence.


  1. Place the icing sugar in a bowl.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of milk and the vanilla essence.
  3. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Add more milk one teaspoonful at a time until the desired consistency is reached – this icing can be made thin enough to drizzle over a cake, or thicker if you want to apply it with a knife or spatula.

For chocolate icing just add 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa to the icing sugar before adding the milk.


Frosting, also known as “buttercream” icing, is a creamy, fluffy cake topping that is popular for its extravagant deliciousness and its striking visual appeal.


  • 4 cups of icing sugar.
  • 250g of softened butter.
  • 2 tablespoons of milk.
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.


  1. Using either an electric mixer on low speed or a bowl and wooden spoon, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla essence into a cream.
  2. Add the milk and whip the mixture until it is fluffy.

For chocolate frosting add half a cup of cocoa and a little extra milk to the recipe.

Icing Tips

When softening butter for your icing recipe don’t melt or liquefy it – you won’t get the fluffy texture frosting is famous for.

If you are unsure how much milk to add at any stage, remember that it is much easier to thin out the icing mix with a little extra milk after the fact, than it is to thicken it up if you’ve made it too loose. Err on the side of caution.

Icing Artistry

Once you’ve learnt how to make icing you can set your creativity free. For home baking with a difference add a few drops of food colouring to your icing mix. If you use frosting, create peaks, troughs, swirls, even someone’s name as you apply the mixture to the cake. The options are endless…

To learn how to make another type of icing called “royal icing” check out this video.

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