Saturday, 21 May 2011

My Top 10 Fantastic Frostings...Frost yourself!

In light of my recent foray into peanut butter frosting, I realised I'm not a very good 'tagger' of frosting on my blog, and sometimes I neglect to include recipes for it altogether! which is just not cool.  Recently, two of my colleagues became inspired by my love of cupcakes and my blog and ventured into cupcake baking themselves.  I realised I didn't have an obvious place on my blog where you could find delicious frosting recipes for beginners, or even for experienced cupcake makers so this is how this blog post came about! 

p.s Before I start let's get one thing clear...a sieve (UK) or a sifter (U.S) should be used every single time you whip up a batch of frosting! Even if it says on the box it has been sifted, I don't trust it and I do it myself.  If you want lump free frosting it's the way to go.

Plus...all butter should be unsalted and should always be at room temperature, if you forget to take yours out the fridge a few hours before you bake you can pop it in the microwave but watch it like a hawk because the second it starts to melt you've ruined your chances of making good frosting! 

For all my American followers out there:
Icing Sugar = Powdered Sugar
Plain Flour = All Purpose Flour

and for those who need a little help with their cups to grams conversions I usually use this website

Now let's get on with it, without a doubt my number one favourite frosting has got to be....

1. Vanilla Bean Frosting

I made this frosting initially to pair beautifully with some Root Beer cupcakes I had made, this frosting has been compared to tasting like melted ice cream so I felt it would be the perfect frosting to turn my cupcakes into 'Root Beer Floats'.  I also often make it to pair with my Brownie cupcakes but really it can go with any cupcake you like because it's just that delicious! 

It is also super easy to make:

2 cups icing sugar
1 cup unsalted butter 
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste 
1 tablespoon milk
(Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes)

1. Mix together sugar and butter until they are blended and creamy.  
2. Add vanilla bean paste and milk and continue to beat for another minute. 
3. If desired, add more vanilla bean paste to taste, or more icing sugar to make it stiffer.

2. Oreo Cream Cheese Frosting

As you all know by now I am a HUGE Oreo lover! and for me you just can't beat this frosting! I always pair mine with an Oreo cupcake but even if you paired it with a plain chocolate or vanilla cupcake it would be a good way to jazz it up! 

Just be sure not to whip the cream cheese for too long, otherwise your frosting will go runny:

8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup unsalted butter
4 cups icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Oreos, crushed finely in a food processor (or a rolling pin always does the trick for me!) but if you want to pipe your frosting they will have to be crushed super fine otherwise they will clog up your nozzle!

1. Mix cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
2. Mix in icing sugar, one cup at a time.  
3. Add vanilla extract.
4. Gently stir in crushed Oreos.
(Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes)

3. Brown Sugar Frosting

If you love cookie dough, then this frosting manages to taste just like it! Don't ask me even has flour in it, something I have never added to frosting before but just trust me on this - it works and is extremely delicious! I paired this frosting with my Cookie Dough cupcakes  but it would also go great with spiced apple cupcakes too! 

340 grams (3 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 cup plain flour 
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
(Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes)

1. Mix the brown sugar and butter until creamy.
2. Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
3. Finally add the flour and salt and beat briefly to combine.
4. Add the milk and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

4. Coconut Seven Minute Frosting

Coconut has just got to be one of my favourite flavours ever!! you should have just seen how excited I was this week at work when we finally tracked down some shredded coconut and got our shipment delivered!! That stuff is flipping impossible to buy in England! so no doubt there will be some coconut baking coming some that's for sure! 

This frosting is so versatile, it can be paired with raspberry cupcakes or lime or pineapple or even chocolate! If you can find coconut extract you can get safer results but that is also hard to track down in England, although again I got my hands on some thanks to work!, so in the past I have always just used small amounts of coconut milk to bring a more subtle flavour.

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons caster sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons corn syrup
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract 

1. Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan.  Clip candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.  Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees f.  
2. Whisk egg whites in a free standing mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  With mixer still running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.  
3. As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees f, remove from hat.  With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow steady stream.  Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes.  Use immediately.

Be sure to finish off with shredded coconut - it is THE best! 

5.  Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

This is my go to frosting recipe for layer cakes, but I have also used it on cupcakes.  It is moist, rich, delicious and is always a winner with everyone.  

175g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids - I use Lindt)
225g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk, at room temp
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
250g icing sugar

1. Melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals in a glass bowl in the microwave until smooth.  Leave to cool slightly.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, milk, vanilla and icing sugar until smooth - this can take several minutes with an electric hand mixer.  
3. Add the melted chocolate and beat again until thick and creamy.  If it looks too runny to use when trying to frost the cupcakes simply keep beating to thicken.

6. Peanut Butter Frosting

This was my most recent frosting, and I'm still wondering why I waited so long to try it out because for any peanut butter fan out there it is a must!

2 cups Icing Sugar
1/4 cup semi-skimmed milk
1/4 cup unsalted organic unsalted butter
1/2 cup smooth organic peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Blend everything together until smooth.  If you require a thicker consistency add more sugar, if you need it to be thinner add more milk.

7. Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting should be in everyone's baking repertoire.  It goes with SO much! It is commonly paired with Red Velvet, which I have shockingly never baked but will be doing so very soon and is great with hummingbird, and is a favourite pairing of mine with gingerbread.   

300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter
125g cream cheese

1. Beat the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer on low speed
2. Beat the cream cheese in on medium-high speed, turn up and beat until the frosting is fluffy (be sure not to overbeat, as cream cheese will go runny).

8. Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Many people in the baking world go crazy over Swiss Meringue buttercream.  They feel typical buttercream frosting is 'too sweet', too much sugar - hello! that's why it's so tasty! I am not one of those people who prefers the meringues - they come in the French, Italian or Swiss variety! but I do believe, or I have grown to in recent years, that you can't cast something off until you've tried it.  So I gave Swiss Meringue Buttercream a go, and I was less than impressed, it just tasted too buttery for me and not sweet enough!! In my Martha Stewart book she also recommends a chocolate variety so I decided to give that a go...and oh my it was delicious!! so the only Swiss Meringue buttercream variety I can recommend is the chocolate kind...for my tastebuds anyway! 

5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons caster sugar
Pinch of salt
450 grams (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
130g plain baking chocolate

1. Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water.  Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved.
2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Starting on low, gradually increase to medium-high and whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form.  Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) about 10 minutes.  
3. Add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla and melted chocolate.  Switch to the paddle attachment and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes.  Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth.  

9. Peppermint Frosting

So you know how I said coconut was one of my very favourite flavours, well the other one has got to be mint! I won't proclaim to make the best mint frosting in the world, if anyone has that recipe please let me know! but for now I couldn't make a top 10 frosting list without including my minty addition.

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup double cream
85g softened cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 drops of green food coloring
3 1/2 cups icing sugar

1. In an electric mixer add butter, cream, cream cheese, peppermint and green food colouring with 1 cup of the sugar.  Start on slow speed and then when it starts to come together turn to medium until it is well blended.
2. Add another cup of sugar and beat on high speed, repeat with the rest of the sugar.

10. White Chocolate

I cannot believe I almost neglected to leave you with this little delight! As Gwen would say 'it's an oldie but a goodie'! 

It can probably be made with any white chocolate but I like to think it should be made with this, Tesco Finest White Chocolate, made with Swiss Milk and Madagascan Vanilla if you want it at it's best! 

250g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter
25ml whole milk
a couple of drops of vanilla extract
55g White chocolate

1. Beat icing sugar and butter together in a mixer on medium-slow speed until it comes together
2. Combine milk and vanilla in separate bowl and add to the butter mix a couple of tablespoons at a time
3. Melt some white chocolate in the microwave, in short 15 second bursts.  Add it to the butter mix.
4. Turn mixer up to high speed and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 mins.

and that completes my frosting round up! now go forth and bake up delicious cupcakes with all varieties of different flavour frostings and let me know how you get on! 


  1. What a great idea. I'm bookmarking this page for future reference. I think the peanut butter one ranks highly on my fav list.

  2. Great post as I'm still figuring out which frosting I like best!

  3. Hi there,

    I love your blog however I am confused you say shredded coconut is impossible to buy in England is it not the same as dessicated coconut? I can't speak for England, but in Wales dessicated coconut is available in supermarkets. If it's not the same - what is the difference?

    1. Yes desiccated is available freely in every English & Welsh Supermarket but desiccated coconut is very small fine flakes. Shredded coconut is larger longer pieces, often called 'threaded coconut' and in my opinion it's much more versatile for decorating. I have now found a wholesale supplier where I buy mine from but it's still unavailable in regular shops.

  4. This is such a brilliant post, I'm definitely bookmarking it. The brown sugar frosting in particular intrigues me.

  5. Great idea to do this. I've been meaning to do something similar for ages, but still not got around to it. All of your frostings sound delicious. I made a peanut butter one recently where I just wanted to eat the whole bowl - managed to restrain myself just about. Coconut flakes I've been buying for many years from my local wholefood shop - I hadn't realised they were hard to find.



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