The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Cake Frosting

Gladys Ania
July 11, 2022

To transform a cake and enhance its flavours, frosting is an essential and absolutely delicious addition to any cake. 

Imagine a delicious, moist cake, topped with light, airy frosting - it’s nothing short of dessert heaven. With so many incredible frosting flavours of different textures and consistency, finding the right frosting for your cake can make all the difference to elevating it.

However, how does one choose the right type of frosting? With six broad categories, including buttercream frosting, whipped cream frosting, cream cheese frosting - the right one will make all the difference.

At Gladys, we know all there is to know about cakes and frosting, so we’ve put together the ultimate guide to the different types of cake frosting. Let’s take a look!

1. Creamy Buttercream

Gladys Box of Cupcakes

One of the most common and immensely popular frosting all across the globe, is the delicious and creamy buttercream frosting. Made by combining a type of fat, usually a butter, with sugar, this type of frosting is easy to whip up.

Whether you’re an amateur or professional baker, making buttercream comes with its challenges and, if not mixed well, it can develop a thin crust over time. Whilst making buttercream, make sure to whisk properly so that it develops a smooth and airy consistency.

When it comes to the texture, buttercream is soft and can be easily piped onto your cake. However, since it can melt very quickly, make sure the base or sponge is cool before you add in your buttercream. 

Additionally, since there are also different types of buttercream frosting, you can add in your own flavours (cinnamon or vanilla perhaps?) to give it an extra kick of flavour.

2. Smooth Cream Cheese

Gladys' custom birthday cake

When it comes to the best frosting recipes in the UK, a popular favourite that sits easily at the top of the list, is cream cheese. Cream cheese frosting is known for its slightly tangy taste, brought about from the one-to-one ratio of butter to cream cheese.

Often considered as a beaten buttercream, the major difference between this and the former frosting, is the use of cream cheese. When choosing this frosting, remember that moist sponge cakes like red velvet or carrot cake serve as the perfect base for it to shine through.

In terms of consistency, this smooth frosting needs to be mixed well to achieve its smooth texture and to avoid a grainy frosting. While it is usually pipeable and soft, it can also melt easily, so make sure to refrigerate it when not in use.

3. Whipped Cream

Gladys' custom christening cake

Whipped cream, a less sweet version of chantilly cream, is another popular addition on the list of different types of cake frosting. This simple yet iconic frosting for cakes is usually whipped up last minute and serves as the perfect accompaniment to more fruity flavours.

Consisting of whipped cream, powdered sugar and additional flavourings, this frosting is slightly more technical to make than the others. The light and mild flavour lets the other flavours of your cake shine through, however the airy and fluffy frosting subtly enhances the flavours and gives the cake a slight edge. 

Since this type of cake frosting is prone to collapsing, it’s almost always made right before the cake is served.

However, to avoid this from happening, you can always add mascarpone in to make the consistency slightly thicker and stable enough to sit on your baked goods. Since it is also prone to curdling, you’ll need to pay careful attention to ensure that you’re mixing it well.

4. Indulgent Ganache

Gladys' custom flower cake

A sort of cross between frosting and icing, ganache has slowly become one of the best types of cake frosting of all time. From dipping donuts and other small bites, to slowly dripping over cakes, this delicious frosting mixture gives your cake a beautiful shiny coat to make it even more tempting.

The rich chocolatey mix is silky and thick in texture and does not stiffen up easily unless chilled in the refrigerator. Usually made with chocolate mixed with heavy cream, there are several additional flavours that can be added to a simple ganache to amp up the flavours even more. 

Suitable for all kinds of cakes, particularly cheesecakes, this delicious frosting is quite easy to make and can be used creatively on the cake to make it look more aesthetically pleasing.

Gladys - The Perfect Destination for Incredible Cakes in Northampton

Now that you know the basics of the different types of frosting, you can easily whip up whatever best suits your delicious cakes. If you’re looking to treat yourself to something special, we’ve got you covered.

Specialising in creating stunning cakes that are nothing less than delectable, edible art, if you’re looking for cupcake or cake delivery in Northampton, Gladys is the perfect place for you.

Whether it’s cupcakes, drip cakes or wedding cakes - we do it all and with stunning designs to make your celebration even better. To place an order for delicious cakes, get in touch with us today!