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Icing

Finishing touches make all the difference between a good cake and a great one. If you're looking to expand your icing horizons, we’ll help you make sense of the lingo and find the equipment that’s right for you. We’ve also a few tips to give you the best icing experience possible.

The art of icing

The modern icing enthusiast has a plethora of tools at their disposal. Some will use different piping equipment depending on the task to hand, whereas others may stick to a tried and tested piece of kit. If you’re new to icing it’s worth trying different methods to find out what works best for you.



Icing Syringe

Like icing pens a syringe aims to cut down on the squeeze factor, giving you more control. Usually used for less intricate sugarcraft work than a pen.

Icing Pen

Usually one-handed to operate, and aimed at reducing the 'squeeze factor', pens are designed to ‘push’ the icing out, and are really handy to have for writing and other intricate sugar work.

Icing Bottle

Either straight or concertinaed, bottles are as handy for dribbling icing as for piping it.

Whilst terms differ according to individuals and regional trends, in general 'icing' is an English expression, 'frosting' the same term in American English. 'Frosting' is sometimes used in English to describe specific types of icing - to avoid complications we’ve stuck to the word 'icing' to describe all types of frosting and glazes. Similarly, 'icing sugar' is often known as 'confectioner's sugar' in the US.

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Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

The right tools can make the world of difference to the end result, and these dedicated devices really make the job easier, without getting in the way of your creativity.

Did you know? we also sell a range of ready to roll icing.

White Ready to Roll Icing
White Ready to Roll Icing

Does exactly what it says on the box a fuss-free solution for perfectly presented celebration cakes.

Price

£2.09


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Icing Tips

  • Use the best icing sugar you can afford - it pays in the long run as you'll find the same consistency throughout the whole packet and won't keep needing to alter your recipe.
  • Practise new designs by icing straight onto baking parchment - once dried you can then stick them to the cake with a dab of icing or apricot jam.
  • Don't rush but work as quickly as you can for a consistent finish - remember icing starts to dry as soon as it’s exposed to air.
  • Use a pipette if colouring icing to ensure you keep to your desired colour - it's much easier to add more than remove it.
  • If your icing is too thick, don’t panic – add a few drops of water at a time and stir in until the desired consistency is reached.
  • For a really shiny, glassy glaze, dip your spreading knife into hot water prior to spreading.
  • Work from the middle of the cake outwards when topping a cake for an even consistency.
  • Ensure the icing has dried before
    storing the cake away.

Types of Icing

There's an icing to suit all tastes and all cakes. The list
of different icings is almost endless, with many others being variations on these themes, but get these in the bag and you'll be ready to tackle anything.

Royal Icing

The traditional covering for occasion cakes, royal icing hardens when set to give an almost airtight coating, helping cakes last longer.

Recipe
  • 3 egg whites (from large eggs)
  • 600g icing sugar, sifted pinch of cream of tartar or 2 tsp glycerine
Directions
  • Beat the egg whites in a bowl to a frothy consistency - a mixer will help!
  • Add half the icing sugar, mix well, then add the rest with the glycerine. Beat until stiff – if mixture is too thin, add some more icing sugar.
  • Seal and store in a cool place until ready to use.

Recipe covers approx. one 20cm (8") cake or 12 medium size cupcakes

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Cream Cheese Icing

Perhaps the finest topping for carrot cake, cream cheese gives icing a luxuriously moist finish.

Recipe
  • 125g butter
  • 225g cream cheese
  • 450g icing sugar
Directions
  • Combine the butter and cheese together and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add sugar in stages and mix well.

Recipes cover approx. one 20cm (8") cake or 12 medium size cupcakes

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Ganache

Famous for filling truffles but equally useful for topping/covering cakes, a ganache has a high percentage of chocolate and/or fruit for a rich-tasting end result.

Recipe
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • Water
  • 200g quality dark chocolate, melted
  • 150ml double cream
Directions
  • Combine cocoa and enough water to form a paste.
  • Mix into the melted chocolate, slowly add cream and stir well.

Recipes cover approx. one 20cm (8") cake or 12 medium size cupcakes

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Buttercream

A melange of butter, milk and icing sugar, buttercream makes an exquisite filling for a sponge or topping for a fairy cake.

Recipe
  • 140g butter
  • 280g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
Directions
  • Beat the butter (or use a mixer) until soft.
  • Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Add the remaining icing sugar and half the milk and beat until smooth – add more milk if too stiff.

Recipes cover approx. one 20cm (8") cake or 12 medium size cupcakes

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Glacé

Pourable and spreadable before setting, a thin sweet glaze can take a plain sponge to the next level.

Recipe
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp water
Directions
  • Combine icing sugar and water in a saucepan.
  • Heat on medium for 10-20 seconds and use straight away.

Recipes cover approx. one 20cm (8") cake or 12 medium size cupcakes

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Fondant

A much softer icing than royal but also used for topping/covering cakes.

Recipe
  • 450g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 egg white
  • 50g liquid glucose
Directions
  • Put the icing sugar into a bowl and make a shallow well.
  • Make a bay in the centre and add the egg white and glucose.
  • Combine the ingredients well and form a ball-shape before rolling.

Recipes cover approx. one 20cm (8") cake or 12 medium size cupcakes

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Early cakes would have been a savoury, more bread-like affair and it’s likely that icing - as we know it today - began with a simple sprinkling of sugar. This very simple glaze, which resembled ice, would over time have been mixed with water, spices, fruit juice or egg white and then allowed to harden. A host of natural food dyes would have been used for colour.

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