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Icing Comparison Chart

Flavor/
Description

Consistency

Best Used For…

Coloring

Storage/
Freshness

Special Information

Buttercream

Sweet, buttery flavor. Tastes the best and looks beautiful for most decorating.

Thin-to-stiff consistency depending on the amount of liquids or sugar added (sugar stiffens).

Icing cakes smooth, borders, writing. Most decorations including roses, drop flowers, sweet peas and figure piping.

Yields all colors. Most colors deepen upon setting. Let icing set 2-3 hours for deep color. Some colors may fade sitting in bright light.

Icing can be refrigerated in airtight container for 2 weeks.

Iced cake can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Flowers remain soft enough to be cut with a knife.

Snow-White Buttercream

Sweet, almond flavor. Ideal for wedding cakes.

Thin-to-stiff consistency depending on the amount of liquids or sugar added (sugar stiffens).

Icing cakes smooth, borders, writing, flowers. Most decorations.

Yields truer colors due to pure white base color. Creates deep colors. Most deepen upon setting.

Icing can be refrigerated in airtight container for 2 weeks. Iced cake can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Air-dried flowers have translucent look and dry harder than buttercream. Flowers remain soft enough to cut with a knife.

Pure White Buttercream

Sweet, vanilla flavor. Pure white color is ideal for coloring.

Thin-to-stiff consistency depending on the amount of liquids or sugar added (sugar stiffens).

Icing cakes smooth, borders, writing. Most decorations including roses, drop flowers, sweet peas and figure piping.

Yields truer colors due to pure white base color. Creates deep colors. Most deepen upon setting.

Icing can be refrigerated in airtight container for 2 weeks.

Iced cake can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Flowers remain soft enough to be cut with a knife.

Chocolate Buttercream

Sweet chocolate flavor. Good tasting and looks beautiful for most decorating

Thin-to-stiff consistency depending on the amount of liquids or sugar added (sugar stiffens).

Icing cakes smooth, borders, writing. Most decorations including roses, drop flowers, sweet peas and figure piping.

Recommended when black icing is needed. Add a little black icing color to chocolate for a better tasting black icing. Use when brown icing is directed.

Icing can be refrigerated in airtight container for 2 weeks.

Iced cake can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Flowers remain soft enough to be cut with a knife.

Royal

Very sweet flavor. Dries candy-hard for lasting decorations.

Thin-to-stiff consistency depending on the amount of water added.

Flower-making, figure piping, making flower on wires. Decorating cookies and gingerbread houses.

Yields deep colors. Some colors may fade sitting in bright light. Requires more icing color than buttercream to achieve the same intensity.

Icing can be stored in airtight, grease-free container at room temperature for 2 weeks. Air-dried decorations last for months.

Bowls/utensils must be grease-free. Cover icing with damp cloth to prevent crusting.

Rolled Fondant

Rich, sweet flavor. Covers cakes with a perfectly smooth, satiny iced surface. Easy and fast to use. Knead in flavor of your choice.

Dough-like consistency that is rolled out before applied to cake. Stays semi-soft on cakes.

Any firm pound or fruit cake. Cutting molding and modeling decorations.

Yields pastel to deep colors.

Excess can be stored 2 months in an airtight container. Do not refrigerate or freeze. Iced cake can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Prior to applying fondant, cake must be covered in apricot glaze and/or buttercream icing to seal in freshness and moisture.

Poured Fondant

Very sweet flavor. Covers cakes with perfectly smooth, satiny iced surface. Coats baked goods and seals in freshness with a shiny, smooth surface.

Pours and dries to a semi-hard, smooth surface.

All cakes, petit fours and cookies.

Yields pastels.

Use immediately. Excess fondant may be refrigerated, reheated and poured again.

Prior to applying fondant, cake must be covered in apricot glaze and/or buttercream icing to seal in freshness and moisture.

Fluffy Boiled Icing

Marshmallow-like flavor, 100% fat free.

Very fluffy consistency, sets quickly.

Icing cakes smooth and fluffy. Borders, figure piping, writing, stringwork.

Yields pastels and deep colors.

Use immediately.

Iced cake can be stored at room temperature. Serve within 24 hours.

Decorating Whipped Cream

Creamy, delicate sweetness.

Light, thin-to-medium consistency.

All cakes but especially those decorated with fruits. Borders, large tip work, writing.

Yields pastels only.

Use immediately.

Iced cake must be refrigerated. Texture remains soft on decorated cake.

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