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Different Kinds of Icing

Updated February 21, 2017

Icing is a sweet and delicious glaze often used to top cakes and pastries. The first published icing recipe was used in Elizabeth Raffald's cookbook, "The Experienced English Housekeeper," in 1769. Since then, there have been many developments in types of icing, with modern cooks often making up or altering their own icing recipes. There are a few basic kinds of icing that can all be great additions to your foods.

Glacé Icing

Glacé icing, also known as royal icing, is used to gloss cakes, giving them a smooth, glazed finish. This icing is made from icing sugar, milk and other ingredients that differ depending on the recipe you choose to use. This icing is great for intricate decorating as it can completely dry and be stacked upon.

Butter Cream Icing

Butter cream icing is usually used to make decorations. It can be used to make anything from flowers on top of a wedding cake to balloons on top of a birthday cake. Shortening is the main ingredient that distinguishes butter cream from other types of icing. It gives the icing enough body so that it can be formed into these different shapes.

Marzipan Icing

Marzipan is a very different type of icing typically used to construct three-dimensional shapes that stand on their own, not used in relation to a cake. The basic ingredients are icing sugar, ground almonds and egg whites. Marzipan can be cooked or not cooked, but if being used for modelling it is better if it is cooked.

Fondant Icing

Fondant is one of the more difficult kinds of icing to work with. It is a thick layer of icing used by many professional bakers to cover their cakes and create intricate designs. When fondant is used, it is rolled out and carefully placed over the cake almost like a blanket. This icing is similar to dough in that it needs to be kneaded and left to sit overnight before it is ready to be used.

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About the Author

Armando Sullivan began writing professionally in 2010. He specializes in informative essays based on research and has had internships with Bel Pre-Elementary School and Archaeon Architects. He is pursuing a bachelor's degree in architecture from Temple University.