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What's your favorite frosting and why?

  • c

I seem to not have found a frosting recipe that I really like. I started making cupcakes and I've tried the buttercream frosting and 7 minute frosting from Joy of Cooking. I've also tried making buttercream with just butter and no egg whites.

I just haven't been pleased with any of the ones I tried. The buttercreams had a very greasy mouthfeel and the 7 minute frosting did not stay smooth. Am I doing something wrong? Do you have a go to frosting that stays soft and creamy and smooth and yet does not feel too oily in your mouth?

Sorry for the long post...thanks!!!

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  1. The only frosting I can deal with is straight up whipped cream. Sugary frostings gross me out.

    1. I'm not a big fan of buttercream frostings, too heavy and rich. I enjoy whipped cream based ones, smooth runny ones like butterscotch or ganache, cream cheese frosting, and the coconut one for german's chocolate cake.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Lixer

        YES! German chocolate,my grandmothers recipe had dates in it,lots of coconut,and had to be cooked,but was otherworldly, that being said,a really good chocolate frosting is hard to beat.!

        1. re: jword2001

          my favorite is the cream cheese frosting. you can put it on so many different
          cakes and it is one of the most widely used. and so easy to make.

          1. re: bigjimbray

            I love almond paste as frosting on cakes especially those that have hazlenut cream in them,but when making homemade desserts, I buy this ready made whipped cream powder and I just add milk to it and beat,it makes a light fluffy frosting,sometimes I mix in a little strawberry jam to make strawberry-vanilla flavoured frosting

            1. re: bigjimbray

              Agreed. Cream cheese frosting is the best.

        2. I love the neoclassic buttercream frosting from "The Cake Bible". Its not excessively sweet, but it is rich.

          1. I just tried mixing sugar free pudding mix with ff or sf cool whip and 1 c lf milk. Let it thicking in the refridgerator. I like it b/c it is easy, tasty, and lower cal.

            6 Replies
            1. re: xnyorkr

              butter cream without egg whites? you mean yolks, sugar, butter? I like buttercream made with egg whites, sugar syrup, butter - but I only add about half the butter the recipe calls for: enough to make a smooth spread, but much lighter/more edible than classic buttercream. The wilton cake decorating folks tell you that 'buttercream' is that queasy sweet crisco/confectioners sugar mix used in their classes. It always makes me cringe!

              1. re: pastrytroll

                i found some recipes that use butter, sugar, milk and corn syrup. I tried that and it was way to rich for me. I'll try your tip about using just half the butter. And maybe i'll whip it a bit before adding it to the "meringue". Maybe that will make it even lighter.

                1. re: ctl98

                  Milk? I don't thinI've ever seen a meringue butter cream with milk? are we talking about confectioners sugar or granulated sugar?

                  1. re: pastrytroll

                    sorry i should have been clearer. i tried 2 versions of buttercream. the 1st one with butter, confectioners sugar, corn syrup and milk/cream. too rich for me. and the 2nd was swiss meringue buttercream where you heat the meringue first then add the butter. better but still too "slippery" for my taste. so maybe i will try making the swiss meringue buttercream with less butter, like you suggested. and i'll try whipping the butter before adding, in the hope that it will produce a lighter frosting.

                  2. re: ctl98

                    I saw Nigella add some corn syrup to her frosting. She said it gave it a shiney look.

                  3. re: pastrytroll

                    pastrytroll--this is my 'recipe' exactly! Italian meringue buttercream made with roughly half the standard amount of butter. Gives a good 'mouthfeel' with the impression that you're eating a stick of butter. Mmmmm, buttercream! (and the words crisco and frosting don't even belong in the same sentence it's such a disgusting flavor/mouthfeel)

                2. cream cheese frosting. I love the flavor, and texture, and the fact it is used on Carrot cake, my favorite.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: swsidejim

                    Cream cheese frosting on tomato soup cake!

                    1. re: Pegmeister

                      I have never heard of a tomato soup cake.

                      1. re: swsidejim

                        Tastes like a spice cake, somewhere in between a gingerbread and a carrot cake. It's been many years, but I believe my original recipe came from Campbells.

                  2. for cupcakes, I like to use whipped ganache... which is you can make lighter more "milk" chocolate or heavy and dark... and it is fun to experiment with flavorings, orange oil, lemon, almond, liquoers.. etc. lots of fun and very tasty.. plus you get that nice sheen to the ganache... makes for a nice presentation. and very easy to make in the microwave.

                    1. Here are some favorites:

                      White Chocolate Frosting (Woman’s Day) Good on chocolate cake.

                      8 oz. white chocolate, melted as package directs, cooled to room temperature
                      3-1/4 cups confectioners sugar
                      6 ounces cream cheese, softened
                      5 tablespoons butter, softened
                      1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

                      Beat ingredients on low speed to blend. Increase speed to high; beat 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.

                      Glossy Chocolate Frosting (Betty Crocker Cookbook)
                      This frosting has a beautiful, glossy appearance, and tastes great. Serve on your favorite chocolate or yellow cake.

                      3 tablespoons solid shortening (Crisco)
                      3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
                      2 cups confectioners sugar (measure, then sift to remove any lumps)
                      1/4 teaspoon salt
                      1 teaspoon vanilla
                      1/3 cup milk (or a little less)

                      Melt shortening and chocolate in double boiler over simmering water. Remove from heat. Add other ingredients (save a little milk – you may not need entire 1/3 cup). Place pan in larger pan of ice water – beat until of spreading consistency.

                      Basic Cream Cheese Frosting (Pillsbury Cookbook)
                      Good on carrot cake, spice cake, or just about anything!

                      8 oz. Cream cheese, room temperature
                      1/2 cup butter, room temperature
                      1 teaspoon vanilla
                      3 to 3-1/2 cups confectioners sugar

                      In large mixer bowl, cream cheese, butter and vanilla on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add confectioners sugar, beating on medium speed until light and creamy. Add enough confectioners sugar to stiffen frosting.

                      Orange: Omit vanilla. Add 2 tablespoons orange juice and 1 tablespoon grated orange zest to cheese mixture, alternately with confectioners sugar.

                      Pecan: Fold 1 cup chopped pecans into frosting.

                      Pineapple: Omit vanilla. Increase confectioners sugar to 4 cups. Fold in 1/3 cup well-drained crushed pineapple.

                      Berry: Omit vanilla, Increase confectioners sugar to 4 cups. Fold in 1/2 cup mashed and drained fresh strawberries or raspberries.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lemondrop

                        Would you please give me the Edition of Betty Crocker the Glossy Chocolate Recipe is in? Most likely I cannot buy it - would like to try. Had the same edition - loved it, was destroyed

                      2. I love 7 Minute Frosting, but it's kind of fussy to make. I use this recipe instead. It tastes like 7 Minute Frosting, but it's easier to make, and more stable.

                        Marshmallow Frosting

                        1/2 cup sugar
                        2 egg whites
                        2 tablespoons water

                        Combine in double boiler, beat with electric mixer over high speed over boiling water until soft peaks form.

                        Add 1 (7 ounce) jar of Marshmallow Creme. Beat to stiff peaks. Remove from heat, beat in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. (Tint with food coloring at this point, if desired.) Very good and pretty on white cake. Also good on chocolate cake.

                        1. Chocolate buttercream from Williams-Sonoma's Cakes cookbook. Also, there's a great recipe for chocolate frosting in the Hershey's cookbook I have.

                          1. Stick of butter, box of powdered sugar, enough milk or cream to make spreadable. I don't like true buttercreams at all - too slimy.

                            Add lots of mint extract for chocolate cake with mint icing.

                            1. Ganache is the easiest and best tasting chocolate frosting there is.

                              1. I like cream cheese frosting for the obvious reason..it's delicious! I also love a cooked chocolate fudge frosting...it's so much like fudge, which everyone loves...A seven minute frosting is wonderful, but you have to be careful that it is not a humid or rainy day...I also love the Magnolia Bakery's buttercream frosting...very sweet, but then I love very sweet frostings....And last but not least, you cannot go wrong with a basic butter, confectioner's sugar, vanilla, and chocolate frosting...Very good on both butter and chocolate cakes...

                                1. Here is the recipe for Magnolia's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

                                  1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter
                                  6 to 8 cups confectioners sugar
                                  1/2 cup milk
                                  2 teaspoons vanilla exract

                                  Place butter in large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and the vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes) until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
                                  From: More from Magnolia

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: lemondrop

                                    Yup, this is basically a doubled version of the one cyberroo mentioned above. It's very simple, but it's my go-to as well. For one cake, I use a stick of butter, a box of powdered sugar, a couple of tablespoons of milk (just enough to get the consistency you desire) and a teaspoon or two of whichever extract you'd like. If you like a frosting that's a little less sweet, cream cheese frosting might be more up your alley--you can simply add an 8 oz. package to this recipe. Add a half a cup of cocoa powder for a chocolate version.

                                    I also love my great aunt's chocolate frosting. It's more of the thick, fudgy variety than the fluffy chocolate birthday cake frosting. In a saucepan, melt 6 T butter, 6 T milk or evaporated milk and 1 1/2 c granulated sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 30 seconds (so that sugar dissolves). Add 1 cup of chocolate chips and beat (by hand) to spreading consistency. Frost cake while cake and frosting are both still warm, it sets up rather quickly.

                                  2. I adore Ina Garten's cream cheese frosting recipe. Great mouth feel and not too heavy tasting; it works wonderfully on her coconut cupcakes.


                                    1. Glaze-like icings are great. Not every bite has icing and it sets fairly thin, so it's a way around the cloying affect of most buttercreams.

                                      I usually bake cakes in a bundt pan and then make a glaze-like icing. My favorite is a chocolate glaze that I would share, except I'm traveling long term and my recipe book is at home. It requires butter (never margarine), sugar, cocoa, and a little salt and vanilla, if I remember correctly. It is boiled briefly, and sets with a smooth finish. I bet there is a similar recipe somewhere on the web or maybe someone else here has one? This style of chocolate icing is also less expensive than ganache (my favorite) since it calls for cocoa instead of fine quality chocolate and can be stored at room temp or in the fridge -- no worries. The idea is not to make a syrup like you'd put on a lemon cake intended to soak in (although the soak-through syrup idea is another buttercream alternative and has limitless possibilites... liquers, citrus oils, a syrup make from espresso, perhaps even maple?). There should be body to these icings so they stay put somewhat when you drizzle.

                                      I also had success in the fall when I baked a vegan pumpkin bundt cake (see The Post Punk Kitchen at theppk.com -- double the recipe for the Super Moist Pumpkin Bread) and improvised on the coconut icing. Since the cake calls for coconut milk and coconut, I used leftover coconut milk and powdered sugar to mix a drizzly icing that was mildly coconutty. It set up really nicely (just don't use too much liquid; you will need less than you'd ever guess) and no one suspected the whole thing was vegan (except my roomie, who was so pleased to have a vegan birthday cake with icing that didn't taste like tofu). (As an aside, I loved this cake so much that I plan to make it for my Dad-the-carnivore's birthday. He'll never guess...)

                                      1. Another vote for ganache. It's really the only one I like except for cream cheese frosting on carrot cake. I don't like buttercream or 7-minute types (or anything that is even close to marshmallow.) Whipped cream is good but not too portable.

                                        1. meringue is my fav; light and so much more than lemon pie topping
                                          mocha frosting on a well made vanilla cake makes all the difference
                                          cream cheese and whipped cream frostings are excellent when fruit is used in the recipe

                                          lemon curd makes for a delicious alternative to frosting

                                          1. If you are in LA or are close by/planning a visit and want to sample a great whipped cream frosting, do yourself a favor and go to Dainties Cupcakes in West LA. IMHO, they put out a top-knotch version of whipped cream frosting on their cupcakes. Whipped cream frosting is all Bill Dertouzos puts on his cupcakes, and they come in lots of flavors - each posing a different challenge in incorporating them into the whipped cream. He isn't shy about talking technique - I'm sure he could give you some great tips. Mimimum, you'll have a shot at some great-tasting cupcakes!


                                            1. Just frosted a yellow cake with a layer of dulce de leche topped with a layer of fresh cream, whipped with a little sugar, vanilla paste, and coffee extract. When I want something rich and luscious, it's chocolate ganache. White chocolate ganache with peppermint extract is yummy, too. A friend of mine introduced me to chocolate sour cream frosting. A tiny bit tangy, not cloyingly sweet. I like that, too, but it's not as big with kids.

                                              1. Here is my favorite....
                                                CHOCOLATE CREAM FLUFFY FROSTING

                                                2 tbsp Hershey’s cocoa
                                                4 tbsp sugar
                                                1 tsp vanilla
                                                1 cup heavy whipping cream

                                                Mix cocoa with sugar and vanilla; slightly stir in whipping cream. Cover and let stand for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Whip to desired consistency for frosting.

                                                This is delicious on gingerbread with sliced bananas.