Frosting is fantastic! I just go crazy for it. It is the perfect outlet if you feel like getting creative with colours, shapes, flavours, and more. Aside from the aesthetics, using frosting adds additional flavours to cupcakes, cakes, and desserts and it extends the shelf life of your baked goods. If you are new to working with frosting, I recommend you start with some fun and easy frostings like Oreo Frosting or Peanut Butter Frosting.
Truthful Food continuously adds more tips and useful information to make sure all you can find the information you need to create the most spectacular and perfect baked goods! In the tips category of my articles, you can find a lot of useful tips for when you are making your favourite baked goods. If you are missing some specific tips, let me know!
Before you Start
- It is easier to work in an organised kitchen. Clean up and make sure all the dishes are done before you start. If you need something, it will be clean and where you expect it to be.
- Prepare your bowls, mixers, piping bags, etc. so everything is ready to use.
- Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature unless the recipe explicitly specifies otherwise. Keep in mind that room temperature means 21 degrees Celsius and not the temperature your house might be. If you have been baking in your kitchen, and it is already warm outside, your kitchen will probably not be 21 degrees Celsius, and your ingredients will be too warm.
- It is worth it to invest in high-quality ingredients. When using chocolate, cacao powder or fruit, you can not only taste the difference but when used decoratively, you can clearly see it.
Some essentials for making delicious frosting:
- A digital food scale.
- A stand mixer.
- A silicone spatula of high quality, so it will not discolour if you are making a brightly coloured frosting.
- A piping bag, ideally made from silicone.
- A basic selection of piping tips.
Making the Frosting
- Measure all your ingredients carefully. Ideally, you weigh them using a food scale, but some recipes use measuring spoons. Whichever method the recipe dictates, make sure to stick to the same method for all your ingredients.
- Do not use both imperial and metric in the same recipe. If the units are mixed, convert them before you start.
- Weigh all your ingredients before you start mixing so they can be used in a timely fashion.
- Sieve your dry ingredients like icing sugar, to prevent lumps from forming.
- Use the firm whisk beater(s) to mix the frosting.
- Use a silicone spatula to remove ingredients sticking to the insides of the bowl while you are mixing. Make sure they get absorbed into the frosting after you have loosened them.
- Mix until all your ingredients are homogeneously mixed, and your frosting is smooth. Stop mixing as soon as you have reached this point. It is possible to over-mix your frosting. For many frosting recipes, you will see a slight shift in the colour when the frosting is done.
Using Additional Ingredients
- When mixing in additional ingredients, like chocolate, fruit, cookies, etc., add them when the recipe indicates. Mix them in gently by hand, using a whisk, so you will not destroy the structure of the frosting.
Using the frosting
There are several ways to work with frosting. Most often you will either smear the frosting using a kitchen utensil, or you will use a piping bag. Of the latter is these case, some of the following tips might come in handy.
- When you are filling your piping bag, put the piping tip in the bag and set the piping bag (tip down) in a large, empty water glass. Roll the piping bag down around the outside of the glass and fill the piping bag using a spatula.
- If this is the first time you are frosting with a recipe or piping tip, try out the frosting first on a different surface.
- If you are working with small cupcakes, you might need to make sure they will not move when you are frosting them. I like to either put them on a rougher surface or temporarily put a little bit of double sided scotch tape on the surface I am working on, so I can place the cupcake on top of the tape before frosting.
Taking Care of your Piping Tips and Bags
- Make sure to clean and dry your piping bags and tips right after you are done with them. It is important the piping bags are cleaned and dried properly, so bacteria will not get the chance to find their way into your treats, next time you are frosting something. If you take care if your materials, they will last a very long time.
- Store your frosting (or frosted goods) in your refrigerator. As a rule of thumb, you can say: keep the frosting at the temperature that is required to keep the ingredient that will spoil the fasted, fresh the longest.
- Prepared frosting that you have not yet used: put your frosting in an airtight container with as little air possible. Keep the container in your refrigerator.
- Frosting that you have used: put your frosted goods in an airtight container or cover them with plastic wrap. Keep your frosted goods in your refrigerator.
- Most kinds of frosting have a shelf life of about a week, but it is best to use it right after you make it. Keep in mind tough, that if you frost baked goods, the shelf life of whatever you have frosted might be shorter.
- When you keep frosting exposed to the air, it will dry out a bit, and the outer layer will start to set. If this happened before you have used it, spray a little bit of water onto the outer layer and gently mix it in.
- If you have made frosting with the intention to use it, later on, remember to let it get back to room temperature before you start to work with it.
- I do not recommend freezing frosting. In many cases, the freezing process will destroy the structure of your frosting. Unless your recipe specifically states otherwise, do not freeze your frosting and just make the frosting right before you want to use it.
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