How to Ice a Cake

The Top 5 Different Types of Icing for Perfect Cakes

The Top 5 Different Types of Icing for Perfect Cakes

Are you looking to elevate your cake game? Try using cake icing for that perfect look. Different types of icing can take your cakes from bland to beautiful. Understanding the various icing types can help you achieve the perfect cake every time. Let’s explore some of the most popular types of icing.

Terminology Variation

Icing and frosting are words used interchangeably to refer to the sweet topping on cakes, cupcakes, and other desserts.

In Australia and the United Kingdom, icing is the sweet, creamy mixture used to decorate cakes and cupcakes. This term is favored over others like frosting or glaze due to its specific reference to the thick and fluffy texture of the mixture.

In the USA and Canada, frosting describes the sweet topping applied to baked goods. The term originated from creating a smooth surface on a cake with a thin layer of sugar water. Over time, the term frosting came to be used to refer to the final layer of sweet topping and the process of applying it to the cake.

Icing vs Frosting?

Icing and frosting are sweet toppings to decorate cakes, cupcakes, and other desserts. However, there is a difference between the two. Icing is typically a thinner and glossier mixture. Icing is drizzled or spread on top of baked goods. On the other hand, frosting is thicker and creamier. The frosting can cover and decorate the entire surface of a cake or cupcake.

Different types of icing

There are several different types of icing, each with unique characteristics and variations around the globe.

1. Buttercream Icing

the image displays different types of icing called buttercream icing. 

Different Types of Icing; Buttercream Icing

Buttercream icing is a type of frosting made by blending butter with powdered sugar and other flavorings. 

  • American buttercream frosting; It’s the most popular type of buttercream icing in the USA. Ingredients include butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat the mixture until it becomes light and fluffy. 
  • Swiss meringue buttercream frosting; It’s made by cooking egg whites and sugar together, then beating them until they form stiff peaks. The mixture is then combined with butter and vanilla extract, resulting in a light and creamy frosting.
  • Italian meringue buttercream frosting; Combine egg whites, sugar, and water in a saucepan, then heat the mixture until it reaches 240°F. The hot mixture is added to whipped butter and vanilla extract, creating a smooth and silky frosting. 

2. Cream Cheese Icing

an image displaying different types of frosting called buttercream icing

Different Types of Icing; Cream cheese icing

Cream cheese icing is a creamy mixture made from cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. The ingredients are whipped together until light and fluffy, creating a smooth and spreadable frosting.

  • United States cream cheese frosting; It tops classic desserts like carrot cake and red velvet cake. You can use cream cheese icing as a dip for fruit or graham crackers.
  • South Africa cream cheese icing; Pair with chocolate cake or use it to top traditional milk tarts. Flavor the cream cheese icing with cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • United Kingdom cream cheese icing; It’s flavored with lemon zest or orange juice to give it a tangy citrus flavor. This variation is used to top scones and acts as a filling for cakes and tarts.

3. Peanut Butter Frosting

the image displays different types of frosting called peanut butter frosting

Different Types of Frosting; Peanut butter frosting

Peanut butter is a delicious frosting used all over the world. Combine peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, and milk or cream. This icing is rich, creamy, and packed with flavor.

  • Chocolate peanut butter frosting; Add cocoa powder to the basic peanut butter icing recipe, which gives it a rich, chocolatey flavor that compliments the peanut butter perfectly.
  • Cheese peanut butter frosting; The cream cheese adds a slight tanginess that balances out the sweetness of the icing, making it perfect for use on cakes or cupcakes.
  • Vegan peanut butter frosting; Blend plant-based butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and almond milk until smooth.

4. Royal Icing

the image displays different types of icing called royal icing

Different Types of Icing; Royal Icing

Royal icing is a mixture of egg whites and confectioner sugar to decorate cakes, cookies, and other baked goods. The mixture can be made by hand, using a whisk or an electric mixer.

  • Flood icing; Add more liquid to the mixture to create a thinner consistency. Flood icing covers the surface of a cookie or cake with a smooth, even layer of icing.
  • Flavor royal icing; Add flavorings, such as vanilla extract, lemon juice, or almond extract. These flavorings give the icing a unique taste that compliments the flavor of the baked goods.

5. Caramel Icing

the image displays different types of icing called caramel icing

Different Types of Icing; Caramel Icing

Caramel icing ingredients include sugar, cream, butter, and vanilla. It’s typically cooked until it reaches a smooth and spreadable consistency.

  • American caramel frosting; Melt sugar in a saucepan and then add butter and cream. Boil the mixture until it thickens and turns a caramel color.
  • French caramel frosting; Caramelize sugar in a saucepan until it turns a deep amber color. The caramel is mixed with cream, butter, and vanilla and cooked until it thickens.
  • Brazilian Brigadeiro frosting: Its ingredients include condensed milk, cocoa powder, and butter. It is typically rolled into small balls and coated in chocolate sprinkles.

Different Types of Icing Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of cake icing?

Cake icing comes in different forms, each with its unique texture, flavor, and purpose. The options include whipped cream icing, cream cheese icing, and buttercream icing.

How do you make icing for cake?

Achieving the perfect icing thickness for your needs typically involves mixing your ingredients according to your desired results.

What is the best way to make icing?

Your specific needs and desired results determine the best type of icing.


Understanding the different types of frosting is crucial for creating beautiful and delicious desserts. Each icing has unique qualities that can enhance your cake’s overall taste and appearance. Contact us and share your favorite type of icing.


How To Ice A Cake

How To Ice A Cake

Compiled and written with love from our editorial team.

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