Cupcakes and cakes wouldn’t be the same without their generous layer of buttercream or cream cheese frosting. If you’re easily lost in frosting, here are a few tips from our bakeries to give you airy and smooth toppings every time.
Use an electric stand mixer or electric hand mixer
You’re ahead of the game if you’re using an electric mixer or electric hand mixer over a standard hand whisk when it comes to frosting. The speed and efficiency of an electric mixer will add lots more air to your bakes and take the hard work out of whipping up a batch of frosting. Air is what makes your buttercream lovely and light and removes lumps, so try and super-charge this step with one of these appliances.
Watch the clock
When whipping cream cheese frosting, you don’t want to over-whip it. Beat for 3 or so minutes until it has come together and then switch the mixer off. Overbeating cream cheese frosting will make it go runny and it’s impossible to turn this around once it goes runny. Meanwhile, buttercream gets better the more you whip it! We recommend a minimum of 5 minutes to get lots of air in the mixture and beat out lumps of butter and icing sugar.
Sifting isn’t necessary
Unless your icing sugar has been sitting around for a while in the cupboard (and is still in date) and is starting to cake together or form lumps, you don’t need to sift your icing sugar. It will do your mixture no harm, but it isn’t something you absolutely must do as the beating process will get the air in there for you.
Room temperature butter is best
If your butter is straight out of the fridge, you’ll give yourself a hard time when it comes to producing a fluffy bowl of buttercream. Allow it to come up to room temperature first, you don’t want it on the verge of melting or greasiness, in which case, return it to the fridge for a few minutes until it has chilled a bit more. It should be soft but not melting. Cutting your butter up into cubes can speed this process up a bit and make it easier to get the whisk in there. If you want buttercream for piping decorations, this will need to be cold in order to hold its shape.
Cream cheese frosting is better off cold
Your cream cheese frosting should be full-fat and cold, straight from the fridge. This is very important in producing a frosting that holds up and doesn’t go runny.