Top cake frosting tips from The Hummingbird Bakery

Heaps of fluffy frosting are what make American cupcakes so deliciously moreish. Get your topping tip top with The Hummingbird Bakery’s guide to cake frosting.

Luscious, creamy and with so many beautiful colours and designs, frosting is in every sense the icing on the cake.

Most Hummingbird Bakery cakes are topped with generous mounds of either buttercream frosting or cream cheese frosting.

We whisk up enormous batches to top our cupcakes and layer cakes and often experiment with different frosting flavours when we have new ranges to design.

Cupcakes are a classic example of a bake that wouldn’t be seen dead without a decadent swirl of fresh frosting.

For tips on frosting preparation, storage and decoration please visit our Decorating Tips page.  

Top tips:

Experiment with edible essences, flavourings and infusions to create new combinations of frostings and sponges. You can even stir ingredients into your frosting to create new flavours and textures. Try edible nut and flower essences, syrups, fruit zest, melted chocolate – there are lots of ways to add some fun to your frosting!  

Frosting is the glue that holds cakes together so dabbing a little on a cake board before you place the first layer of sponge down can help to secure your cake in place for decoration.  

If your frosting is a little on the stiff side you can loosen it up with just a splash of milk. This will make it a dream to spread, though be careful not to add too much or your frosting will go all runny! Add milk by the teaspoonful and gently rewhip.  

Whip up a rainbow of frostings with edible liquid, gel, powder and paste food colourings. Take a spoonful of frosting from the bowl and mix a few drops of colour in a separate bowl – this way you won’t risk ruining the whole bowl with the wrong colour. Gradually add the colouring until you get the desired shade. A clean toothpick makes a great tool to drop liquids or pastes in small amounts.  

Use room temperature butter wherever the recipe specifies. This is vital to getting the right consistency for your frosting. If the butter is too cold the frosting will seize up and if it is too warm it will be too soft.  

At The Hummingbird Bakery we almost always use a palette knife to apply our frosting swirl but there are lots of piping nozzles that can give a range of fabulous effects. If using a piping nozzle, always fill the bag half full before twisting the bag closed to force the frosting to the nozzle.

Squeeze the bag gently to pipe some of the frosting out and release any air bubbles. If you’re a piping newbie, practice piping your design onto baking parchment first.