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Icing is a topping or covering on top of food such as pastries and cakes. It is also known as frosting in the United States and is a sweet and creamy cover prepared from sugar, a liquid such as water or milk, commonly thickened with ingredients like butter, egg whites, cream cheese, or flavourings. It is used to top or adorn baked goods, such as cakes or cookies. Icing may also be used as a topping for beverages such as cappuccino and frappuccino. It can be made in different flavours incorporating different colours. Icing can also be shaped into decorative designs such as flowers, heart, etc.

History of Icing

Icing has been in vogue since long time in Europe. During the mid-17th century cakes with icing were made. Typically, the initial icing recipes were normally a boiled unit of the premium quality sugar, egg whites and occasionally flavourings. This icing was spread on the cake. The cake was then placed back in the oven for a while. Upon removing, the icing cooled rapidly to turn into a hard and lustrous covering. The first ever acknowledged recipe for icing was by Elizabeth Raffald in the year 1769 as mentioned in the Experienced English Housekeeper, according to the Food Timeline website. Further in the year 1915 Mrs. Fred W. Gurney produced the foremost butter-cream recipe from whereupon Fannie Farmer pursued some more recipes in 1918 and 1923.

Culinary Uses of the Icing

Icing is used mostly in baked recipes. The basic icing recipe is a glacé icing made from icing sugar and water. It can be incorporated with flavouring and colour as per wish for instance lemon juice and yellow colour. Icing can be made richer by whisking fat into icing sugar. This can be done by thawing fat and sugar together, adding egg whites and other ingredients such as glycerine. Icings can also be made by blending sugar and cream cheeses or with the use of ground almonds.

Icing can be formed into shapes such as flowers and leaves using a pastry bag. Such decorations commonly grace birthday and wedding cakes. Chef's color dye (food coloring) is commonly added to icing mixtures to achieve the desired color. Sprinkles, coloring mist, edible images or other decorations are often used on top of icing.

Popular Icing Recipes

  • Chocolate Icing is a beautiful icing recipe rich with chocolate that mostly decks up chocolate and dark cakes.
  • Glace Icing is the basic icing recipe made from fine icing sugar and water or milk.
  • Butter Icing is a classic icing recipe made from butter, flavourings, sugar and colour.
  • Mocha Icing is an exclusive icing recipe for making icing to top mocha made from butter, chocolate, coffee powder, butter and sugar.
  • Ginger And Nut Cream Icing is a great icing recipe to make delicious ginger and nut-cream icing graced with ginger essence and syrup and chopped nuts.

Cuisines Using Ingredient

Icing is a regular feature used in European cuisines. Icing recipes vary among different countries of Europe. The popular ones are Spanish Icing recipes, Italian Icing recipes, English Icing recipes and Swiss Icing recipes.

Preferable preparation Methods For Icing

Icing can be coated on to a cake with the help of a kitchen tool or utensil such as a knife or spatula, or it can be coated on by pouring, dipping or gently sloping the icing out and cover it over the cake. The method of application is mostly dependent on the variety and consistency of icing made use of. Icing may be applied amid layers in a cake as a filling or it may be made use of for totally or partly covering the exterior of a cake or other baked product.

There are many varieties of icing and it happens to be individual choice as regards liking. Butter-cream icing is deep and dense, prepared out of butter or margarine and powdered sugar as well as flavourings and liquid.

  • Cooked icings are supple and fluffy prepared much similar to the very old type with egg whites and sugar.
  • Whipped cream icings are deep and sweet, prepared out of whipping cream, sugar and flavouring.
  • Royal icing is a dense icing, characteristically made use of as an adornment to butter-cream or whipped cream icing.

Nutritive Value of Icing

Icing recipes mostly incorporate sugar, egg whites and flavouring. Egg whites are rich in protein, while sugar is a great carbohydrate. Flavouring ingredients may include lemon, strawberry, pineapple etc that are mostly good sources of vitamin C. In some recipes butter is also incorporated. However while for making of icing, butter and fat substitutes are seldom recommended as they affect the consistency and texture of the icing. So also for sugar and egg whites. This although is a good energy booster for children. So the icing is always needed for a children’s cake.

Icing Storing Tips

  • Icing is always preferably stored in a freezer when not in use. Icings such as butter-cream icing needs to be store by being placed in a clean and sealable bowl. When placing in the refrigerator care must be taken to not to keep it next to strong odour food such as marinating salmon, garlic or broccoli.
  • Generally icing develops a sponge-sort of texture when taken out from the refrigerator.
  • Such an icing must be taken to a bowl and blended with the hand, by means of a back and forth, crushing technique with a spoon or icing spatula. This eliminates the bubbles from the icing and makes the icing smooth.
  • Icing prepared the night before and frozen is always quick and fresh to be used with cake recipes the next day.
  • Cakes with completely-dried royal icing decorations must be preserved depending on the nature of icing that they are covered with. Although, if royal icing decorations are to be placed on a cake that needs to be frozen, it is optional that icing decorations be kept on the cakes after thawing such that coloured decorations do not fade due to condensation or turn soft.