Sunday 27 November 2011

Icing failures

I've always had problems with icing- generally it is too runny, even if I follow the quantities in a recipe. I have improved since then - these pictures are all from last year - but sometimes it still doesn't go to plan. I'd be interested to know if anyone has any tips for foolproof icing they can share!
These cakes, below, taste gorgeous - they are marshmallow cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery cookery book. The icing has mini marshmallows and edible glitter sprinkled on top, but as you can see the icing turned out quite soft and was impossible to pipe in a nice pattern:
I didn't mind too much though as they tasted great! The same can be said of these cakes below - they are a nutella cupcake, I forget where from but the recipe involved scooping out a small amount of the cake when it was baked, and adding a spoonful of nutella. So when you bite into the cake, you get a gorgeous gooey filling!
The icing also contained nutella and each cupcake has a small hazelnut on top; unfortunately the icing was totally runny so again impossible to pipe in a pretty pattern. What am I doing wrong?!
The icing on the bottom row of cakes looks rather better... but that's because I cheated! I went on holiday to America in September 2010 and while I was there, popped into a Wal-Mart. I headed straight for the baking aisle, and my American friend was amazed at my reaction. I'd never seen so many types of icing and cake decorations in one place!
At the time, Betty Crocker's ready made icing had just launched in supermarkets in the UK, and was - and I think still is - only available in vanilla and chocolate flavours. Wal-mart had it in all kinds of colours and flavours, plus countless other types of ready made icings and cake mixes, such as whipped cream cheese frosting. While it is undoubtedly nicer to make your own, sometimes you haven't got the time or ingredients and just want something that will work - and am I the only one who loves to dig straight into a tub of Betty Crocker chocolate fudge frosting with a spoon?!
Guilty pleasures aside, I couldn't resist buying a can of spray icing! It's similar to the one shown in the picture here:
The can came with a choice of nozzles and basically worked like squirty cream, it was cool! It made decorating the cakes below very easy, even though I did feel like I was cheating. I also added a Dr Oetker wafer flower onto each one:
Finally these cakes below are the most amazing Oreo cupcake recipe that I got from my friend BakingAddict's blog:
The icing contains cream cheese and crushed oreos, but I didn't crush the oreos small enough, so when I used a piping bag the pieces got stuck in the nozzle! I ended up just having to spread the icing on with a knife:

So there you go: a selection of my icing failures. As I said, I have got better, but it still seems to be my Achilles heel!


  1. Thanks for the mention, the oreo cupcakes are fab! Is the nutella recipe from hummingbird bakery? Sounds like it. I can't remember mine being that runny - I often omit the milk or add only a few teaspoons if required. Beating the frosting for longer than you think also helps. I love your canned icing :)

  2. Hi Caroline, I feel your pain! Is your buttercream melting a bit from the heat of your hands whilst in the bag? I agree with BakingAddict in that I tried once with milk (that was a Hummingbird recipe too) in the buttercream but now I leave it out as I find it just doesn't work as well if I want to pipe it. Its great for doing those flat top designs though! Kate

  3. Hi, Just found you through bakingaddicts blog. I too have had many an icing failure. Usually they are related to my impatience (especially the epic fail which was white chocolate icing when I didn't let the melted chocolate cool...ooooops)So thanks for making me feel better!


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