Icing on the cake

July 19th, 2010 | Posted by greg in Daily life... | Recipes

Recently I received an email from Karen, asking me about icing for cookies and cupcake cream cheese icing and I thought it would be nice to share some tips with everyone. 

For the hard type of icing, that we call Royal Icing, the one used on cookies or for decoration on wedding cake, is made from egg white, soluble icing sugar, liquid coloring and/or flavoring if any, and lemon juice (or vinegar). Let me come back on each of the ingredients.

The egg whites we use are fresh egg white, no problem. I said soluble icing sugar, because there is a kind of icing sugar that is for “decoration” that contains a fairly high level of cornstarch and anti-caking agent. This sugar will be hydrophobic and thus does not blend well with your egg whites. Thus ensure you have plain premium icing sugar.

In regards to color, I prefer to use liquid colors to blend it more easily with the icing. If you want to achieve a whiter white icing, add a tiny little drop of blue color. While wet, it’ll still look bluish, but once dry it’ll look whiter than white; this is the same ‘trick’ used in washing powder with their blue particles simply used to make your eyes believe it is more white than white! :? For flavoring, I like to use pure natural essence or essential oils made for food purpose. But overall, I am not very keen in using too much of flavoring and coloring.

For the acidic element, I like to use lemon juice. For sure it tastes better than vinegar; plus, it makes your icing less sweet and adds a little pleasant flavor to the bland icing. Actually the acidic element comes in to make your icing sets better.

I must say that if I had to choose between a classic butter cream cupcake icing and a cream cheese icing, I’d go for the later. To me, it has a less ‘boring’ texture and kind of a kick, thanks to the sourness of the cream cheese. Here is an easy recipe that works every time:

  • 110 gm of cream cheese (softened)
  • 30 gm of butter (softened)
  • Few drops of natural vanilla essence
  • 55 gm of icing sugar

You can adjust the sweetness by adding more or less sugar according to your taste. Just whisk all the ingredients together, but adding the icing sugar at the end. Make it creamy and it’s ready to use.

Happy icing!

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