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What Is The Difference Between Icing And Frosting?

Updated on August 28, 2013
What Is The Difference Between Icing And Frosting?
What Is The Difference Between Icing And Frosting?

If you love baking, and in particular cakes, strudels and cookies, you will be aware of the terms icing and frosting. Depending on where you live in the world, the recipe you are following or cookbook you are referring to, you may in fact find these words are interchanged.

It makes things rather confusing particularly if you are unsure of their meanings and their differences.

Do you have a preference? Do you know what the difference is between icing and frosting?

What Is Frosting?

Frosting comprises of a sugary mixture that contains a butter or cream cheese content. As a result it makes for a creamy and fluffy spread that is used to decorate cakes.

It is typically of a thick consistency and can hold its shape. It has a rich buttery flavor and is spread or piped onto a cake.

What Is Icing?

The composition of icing is predominantly a sugar and water mixture and when it is spread onto a cake its consistency is rather thin. Because of this, it can be applied with a piping bag, or brush and it usually dries and sets hard fast.

The key is that icing is thin. It can easily be colored with food dye of any shade and also flavored to match a cake recipe.

It is easy to work with and can be drizzled or spread onto a cake, biscuit or donut. Icing is also great for drawing or writing letters onto a cake.

What Is The Difference Between Icing And Frosting?

Whilst many use the terms interchangeably, there are differences between the two. Icing is a thinner, wetter mixture that sets hard with a glossier appearance, whilst frosting is a buttery fluffy spread and far richer in flavor and remains soft.

Opinions may differ however depending on where you live.

  • Frosting is the term commonly used in America
  • Whereas icing is used in Europe more often; and typically it pertains to the exact same thing.

Just to confuse things a little further, butter cream, fudge, and other frosting can also be called icing. However royal icing is never called frosting. Royal icing is a type of icing made from confectioners sugar and egg white that hardens to a candy like consistency and used for a variety of decorating techniques.

Whatever you choose to make and use with your desserts, enjoy. Experiment with colors and flavors too.


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    • profile image

      fatima elipe 3 years ago

      i love it

    • AnswerQuestions profile image

      AnswerQuestions 4 years ago

      Many thanks.

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 4 years ago from India

      Now that's an informative hub, well written friend. Great work! i had a good read.