How to prepare frosting

As I had promised in my  post, Basic Baking Tips,  here is my post on how to prepare frosting for cakes/ basics of popular frostings for beginners /a guide on basic popular frostings.

Personally, I usually use non dairy whipping cream for frosting, so in this post we will be talking more about this form of frosting.

Initially we hesitate a lot to try something new in our kitchen with lots of doubts in our minds – what if it’s a complete failure, if it doesn’t taste as  good as expected or there are too many steps to follow, so just leave it. But if our trial is a success, then we our pumped with confidence and want to go ahead with next experiment!

Baking is also slightly challenging as it is more than preparing regular food and is based on accurate measurements and science. Getting a well baked cake from the oven and the resulting admiration from our family encourages us to take one more step and try our hand at frosting the cake.

Frosting a cake or cupcakes is a wonderful experience. So why not prepare frosting at home instead of buying? Just keep in mind a few basic tips for preparing frosting, and we can create a beautiful birthday cake or cupcakes.

 There are different types of frosting, but in India the most popular one is non-dairy whipping cream frosting. Other than this, there are buttercream and chocolate ganache frostings as well that make their presence. 

Non-dairy whipping cream is the most popular as it comes ready in a pack and only whipping is required. Even whipping cream powders are available.

But, for buttercream or ganache frosting, we need to prepare them right from scratch. I doubt if in India we get these two frostings packed in the market. 

Buttercream has many variations – Swiss Meringue buttercream, Flour buttercream, German buttercream, American buttercream etc…

Among all, American buttercream is popular in India with those who want eggless frosting. It is very easy to prepare, even for beginners. Basically, it contains only powdered sugar or castor sugar, butter, salt and flavoured essence. It is quite stiff, hence it is popular for different patterns on cakes with edible colours.

Beat unsalted butter till it looks creamy..basics of different frostings

Add any flavoured essence in the butter and mix.

How to prepare buttercream frosting

Add castor sugar/powdered sugar in batches and keep mixing till the whole sugar gets mixed up nicely in creamed butter. As you are doing this, make sure to periodically scrape the bowl from the sides.

How to prepare butter cream frosting

Buttercream frosting

Remember, if you are using home grinded powdered sugar, sieve it nicely so that there are no grains of sugar. Otherwise, buttercream will be grainy instead of having a smooth consistency.

Add your choice of food colour and mix it properly. Fill it into piping bag and buttercream frosting is ready to use. Sorry, I don’t have picture of the final buttercream frosting. It was a hot day in the kitchen and I had to use it immediately. If the buttercream is very stiff to pipe, add a few drops of room temperature milk.

While using frosting through piping bag, with the heat of our palms frosting becomes loose and loose cream doesn’t give smooth finish on cakes. If this happens, keep the frosting back in the fridge for some time and later use it again. You can keep a tray of ice cubes close by and use it to keep your palms cool by pressing them on ice cubes time to time.

If you can work in an air conditioned room, this heat issue is largely under control.

Chocolate ganache frosting can be prepared with white, milk and dark chocolate. About dark chocolate ganache frosting I have a separate post in the blog. You can go through there for details (Dark Chocolate Ganache)

White chocolate ganache frosting is mostly popular as a lot different colours can be added here to make cake look beautiful.

Milk chocolate ganache is generally used to create an ombre effect on cake along with dark, and white chocolate ganache.

Milk based whipping cream frosting with the required amount of fat is hardly available in India. Amul brand with red pack has milk based whipping cream, but it doesn’t contain the required amount of fat, so whipping it to get stiff consistency is really difficult.

As previously mentioned, the most popular form of frosting in India is non-dairy whipping cream.  It comes in a packed form in many brands. It is sweet cream and there is no need to add more sugar. It has to be kept in the freezer. Keep it in the fridge overnight before using it the next day.

Though non-dairy whipping cream is very popular and easy to use, there are still many ifs and buts before successfully using it. Let’s talk about them…

1)  Always keep whipping cream pack in the freezer.

2) If you want to frost a cake, take out the packet of cream from the freezer and keep in the fridge to thaw it overnight or whole day.

3) When you are pouring cream in the container to whip, make sure there are no ice crystals. While whipping the cream, these ice crystals will never let cream reach to stiff consistency. Ice crystals will melt and cream will be runny no matter how much you whip it. So if ice crystals are there, keep it back in the fridge till it thaws completely.

Now you can ask why can’t I keep the cream outside at room temperature to make my work faster? Yes, you can keep the cream outside, but before whipping it needs to be completely chilled. Only then the desired results can be achieved. Warm cream will never reach till stiff consistency.

4) What If we need to use the cream for the next 2-3 days? Cream can be kept in the fridge for three days maximum. But make sure pack is always covered in the fridge. Don’t forget to keep it back in the freezer after three days.

5) After whipping, whipped cream can also be kept to use for the next day. Wrap it in cling film, and keep it in a tightly covered plastic box in the fridge (not freezer) and use it the next day. But, my personal suggestion is to whip fresh cream, whenever you need it. Don’t keep whipped cream in the fridge for more than two days.

6) Though cream pack has one year shelf life, while opening the new pack make sure  not to cut off the expiry or manufacturing date from the packet. The best way to store the cream is to transfer it into two or three air tight containers with the label of expiry or manufacturing date.

7) During winter season, whipping the cream is not difficult as kitchen temperature is also cold. But in summer, kitchen is hot, and whipping also makes the cream warm. Result – it is always runny rather than becoming stiff.

Before whipping the cream, follow a few steps and you wouldn’t face any problem:

  1. Keep whipping bowl and whipping blades in the fridge 2-3 hours before whipping the cream.

  2. Keep one tray of ice cubes ready in the freezer.

  3. Fill a bowl with the ice cubes from the tray.

  4. Take out the whipping blades and whipping bowl and pour cream in the bowl.

4.Keep the whipping cream bowl on top of icing cubes bowl and start whipping the cream.

  1. In the beginning beat the cream with minimum speed for 2-3 minutes. At this stage, cream gets smooth consistency (soft peaks) and if you want some of the cream to have food colouring, add it now along with essence in a separate bowl.

whipped cream frosting

Frosting in the process of getting colours

  1. Now, whip the cream at the next level of speed on the whipping machine. Within 2-3 minutes the cream will be stiff. It wouldn’t be falling from the whipping blades or spatula any more. The moment cream reaches this consistency, stop whipping and the cream is ready to use on cake, cupcakes etc.

Frosting is ready !

  1. Be careful, if cream is over- whipped it gets curdled and all of the smooth finish is lost. If this happens, don’t panic. Add a little bit of non-whipped cream ( one tbsp for one cup whipped curdled cream) from the pack, mix it well in the curdled cream and it will be smooth again.

  2. How to fill frosting into the piping bag neatly?

Take a tall glass and cover it with empty piping bag by folding the edges of the bag over the glass.

How to fill frosting in a piping bag

Fill in any frosting with the help of spatula or spoon in the piping bag . This way while filling the cream, edges of the piping bag will remain neat. Take out the piping bag from the glass, cut a small hole at the starting point of the piping bag and you are ready to use frosting very neatly on ice-creams, pancakes, pies,  cupcakes, tarts or cakes.

How to fill frosting in a piping bag

frosting is ready to use

Buttercream and Ganache frosting can be kept cling wrapped in an air tight box in the freezer for three months. Thaw them in the fridge before using. As I had mentioned earlier, non-dairy based whipping cream pack should be in the freezer, and after whipping use the whipped cream within two days. If the cream becomes too dry in the fridge, add non-whipped cream from the pack, mix it well and use it.

So, this was a brief introduction about the basics of different frosting creams. I hope you will now be excited to give some beautiful frosting colours to your cakes, cupcakes, tarts, pies etc…