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How to thicken icing without sugar

Updated March 23, 2017

When icing for a cake, cupcakes, cookies or any other sweet treat becomes too thin, thickening it is a necessary step. Otherwise, the icing will not create the desired appearance, especially for cakes and cupcakes. Sometimes you would rather not add more sugar, especially when the icing is already very sweet. Fortunately, it is possible to thicken the icing without the addition of sugar.

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  1. Thicken with cornflour. Pour 2 tsp (around 6 g) of cornflour into an electric grinder and grind until it forms a soft powder. Add a small amount, about 1/2 tsp (1.5 g), at a time and mix it into the icing with a whisk or a mixer. Cornflour will thicken the icing, but must be ground to prevent clumping.

  2. Thicken with double cream. Add 55 to 70 ml (3 to 4 tbsp) of heavy whipping cream to the icing and whip it with a mixer until it thickens and becomes frothy. Add additional small amounts of cream at a time, if necessary, starting with 15 ml (1 tbsp) at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. Otherwise, use a whisk and beat by hand until it gets thicker. The heavy whipping cream will not only make it thicker, but it will also make the icing lighter and fluffier.

  3. Thicken with coconut. If the icing is a coconut flavour or will not clash with the added flavour of coconut, shredded coconut can help thicken it. Add 1 tbsp (6 g) of coconut at a time and mix well. Gradually add 1 tbsp (6 g) at a time until the icing reaches your preferred thickness.

  4. Thicken with gelatin. Gelatin is a thickening agent used in making marshmallows and fruit-flavoured jelly. Mix 1/2 tbsp (3.5 g) plain gelatin with 1/2 tbsp (18 ml) of cold water until it dissolves and then stir the mixture into the icing. Mix well and then put the icing into the fridge to thicken.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cornflour
  • Electric grinder (or blender, food processor or similar appliance)
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Coconut (shredded)
  • Powdered gelatin (plain)
  • Whisk or mixer

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