Cake icing is a mixture of butter, sugar, and flavoring. It is used
to cover a cake as well as make edible decorations. A wide variety
of textures and applications make them suitable for all occasions.
Buttercream icings have a sweet, buttery flavor that tastes creamy
and looks good. They can be used for icing cakes as well as
creating borders and decorations. Consistency can range from thin
to stiff. The cake shown at right is iced and decorated with
Royal icing is made with meringue powder. It has a sweet
flavor, dries hard, and is primarily used for flowers, figure piping,
and filigree or lace work. This is the icing usually used for
gingerbread houses as it hardens and holds the house parts together.
Rolled fondant icing covers cakes with a smooth surface. It
is rolled out like dough before being molded over the cake. This
type of icing will stay semi-soft on cakes, and decorations can be cut
out of it. Special tools are available to roll the icing and mark
designs on it.
Poured fondant icing also covers cakes with a smooth surface.
It is poured over the cake, such as petit fours, and dries to a
semi-hard surface. Shown at right are three petit fours
with poured fondant icing.
Stabilized whipped cream is a light whipped icing, which remains
soft on the cake. Cakes with this icing must be used immediately
Fluffy boiled icings have a marshmallow consistency that ices a cake
smoothly and fluffily. They dry quickly and the cake should be used
within 24 hours.
All icings can be flavored as desired, and concentrated icing colors
can be added to enhance the cake decorations. Check cake decorating
suppliers for these items and icing recipes. Illustrated below are
two stacked cakes, one square and one round, with rolled fondant icing and
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