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The basics of cake icing

Updated on November 5, 2015

Icing sugar decoration

Place a doily on top of the cake and sift on icing sugar
Place a doily on top of the cake and sift on icing sugar
Gently lift the doily off the cake with the tips of your fingers
Gently lift the doily off the cake with the tips of your fingers

Glace' icing-

Sift icing sugar through a fine nylon or metal sieve into a bowl
Sift icing sugar through a fine nylon or metal sieve into a bowl
Beat in warm water, or any flavouring and colouring
Beat in warm water, or any flavouring and colouring
Pour icing on to cake and spread with a palette knife
Pour icing on to cake and spread with a palette knife
Beat vigorously for 3 minutes until shiny and smooth
Beat vigorously for 3 minutes until shiny and smooth

Handy hint

To avoid damaging a decorated cake when storing, place the cake on the inverted lid of the storage container and cover with the base.

ICING & CAKES

My page “ The Universal Cake Recipe- One size fits all” has sparked some questions about icing and cake decorating. This is a fun subject. There is nothing more satisfying than icing a cake and of course, cleaning off the spatula at the end.

A cake with a simple home made icing is exactly the way cake should taste. Store bought cakes always have way to much icing in my view. All that sugar could be put to better use in a variety of recipes imminently more satisfying and better for you.

If you want to become a black belt cake decorator in no time at all, make simplicity your companion. Simple decorations are most attractive.

A sandwich cake looks perfect with a dusting of sifted icing sugar or a pattern made by sifting through a doily.

Unfilled sponges can be topped with glacée or butter-cream icing and a sprinkling of chopped nuts or chocolate polka dots (chocolate chips) to give contrasting texture and taste.

Fruit cakes are best left plain.

Icing should be firm but easy to spread. For the right consistency the ingredients must be in correct proportion to one another.

Glacée icing. The simplest type of icing . It is also known as water icing. The method of making simple glacée icing is shown here step-by-step.

The usual proportions are 30 ml [2tablespoons] warm water to every [100 g ¼ pound] icing sugar. As simple as that. Once more so it sinks in.

  • 2 Tablespoons of water
  • ¼ pound (100g) icing sugar

This is the most common icing, because it is easy and accessible, the basic skills of being a chef.

For flavoured glacée icing, simply use lemon, orange, pineapple or other fresh fruit juice in place of the water.

Colouring is a sticky issue these days with everyone being allergic to colouring and additives, so I tend to stay away from them, but if you need a blue cake there is little else you can do.

The good news is that most food colours these days are produced from vegetables in stead of chemicals. You can get the primary colours with no additives and make any colour you like, just like in grade school. You know, red & yellow make orange and yellow and blue make green etc…….

For butter-cream icing

  • 50 g [2 oz] butter at room temperature
  • [100 g ¼ pound] icing sugar.

Flavour with one of the following:

  • 25 g [1 oz] melted chocolate
  • 15 ml [1 tablespoon] cocoa powder
  • 10 ml [2 teaspoons] coffee
  • 2.5 ml [½ teaspoon] vanilla (or other flavour) essence
  • finely grated zest
  • juice of half an orange or lemon
  • 15 g [½ oz] chopped nuts.

Butter-Cream & Glacée Icing Quantities

  • 15 cm [6"] round - 100g [¼ lb] Icing Sugar
  • 18 cm [7"] round – 175g [6 oz] Icing Sugar
  • 23 cm [9"] round – 225g [½ lb] Icing Sugar


Measurement is vital to successful recipes, try these well priced long lasting measuring cups and spoons in both metric and imperial.

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    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      Oh! I am the first. I would like to be a black belter in cake icing. You are right. Simplicity is beauty. That´s how I decorate my cakes. Thanks for sharing this informative hub. Have a lovely weekend.

    • Felina Margetty profile image
      Author

      Felina Margetty 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thanks for coming by my page. I love your profile picture, it evokes happiness. Cheers F.

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Really good information and illustration, I know where to come when I need to bake a cake and ice it, but how about marzipan icing on a rich fruit cake, say for Christmas.

    • Felina Margetty profile image
      Author

      Felina Margetty 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Kat, you should have a look at my hub Fruitcake pastry or person. In the mean time I will get to work on posting a marzipan recipe for you. Cheers F.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      Oh if only I bake! My sister is the Baker, and Wonderful Cook. I guess my Talents lie in Writing...Wonderful Information and pictures, you make it look so easy to make "Icing".

      Thanks for sharing and temping me to try it!

    • Felina Margetty profile image
      Author

      Felina Margetty 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thanks as always to you.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 5 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Wow! I am hungry after reading this hub! Excelent photos here too! Cheers! Made my day!

    • Felina Margetty profile image
      Author

      Felina Margetty 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thanks Cheeky, sometimes when I am hungry I just look at the picture of food and become satisfied. Not really but I wish it were so hehehehehe F.

    • AHale48 profile image

      AHale48 5 years ago from Somewhere in California!

      Lovely pictures and advice. I decorate cakes and try to make them as personal as possible. This past year I made my son a replica of Hollywood Boulevard and Graumans Theatre. When I make myself a cake, however, I like to make a bundt pound cake and heat my frosting so it can pour over the cake. I especially love orange cake with chocolate frosting!

    • Felina Margetty profile image
      Author

      Felina Margetty 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Wow! Hollywood eh? You are so creative,I wish I had more inspirational comments like this. I am busy thinking all the things I could do with some cake and frosting too. Thanks for checking out my recipe's. Cheers F

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      You did a great job on this hub.. the pictures the explanations you need to win an award for this.. I love it.. I am sharing

      Debbie

    • Felina Margetty profile image
      Author

      Felina Margetty 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thanks for your vote of confidence, sadly my hubs are about the joy of life not the fears of life. hehehehehe You are the bright star I love your hubs, I should comment more but I always find myself in contemplation after reading your articles, the recipes give me ideas and your uplifting messages like "In the Dreams of Gems" is subtle but poignantly inspirational and I always wind up off on another track. Cheers Felina

    • Audrey Baker profile image

      Audrey Baker 4 years ago from Arizona

      That's a neat trick with the dolly. Very artsy, and it looks so intricate and time-consuming. I never would have thought of that.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Felina,

      My mom would be proud. She made the best icing I ever ate. And I have just paid you a high compliment. Loved the hub, but admired your style of writing. Voted up and away. You deserve it.

      I ask you to read a couple of my hubs and if you would, please be one of my followers.

      I do not think I have any followers from N.Y.

      Thank you,

      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Al.

    • profile image

      Vicky 2 years ago

      Wow! Great thikning! JK

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