Icing, also referred to as frosting, is an essential cake decoration used to adorn and enhance the flavor of cakes. Although there are various types of icings, the two common types are buttercream and whipped icing. Buttercream and whipped icing have their unique properties which make them suitable for different purposes. In this article, we will compare buttercream and whipped icing in detail and help you determine which one to use for your next cake.
What is buttercream icing?
Buttercream icing is a classic and traditional frosting made primarily with butter, powdered sugar, and a liquid like milk or cream. It is one of the most popular types of icing in the United States. Buttercream icing is versatile, smooth, creamy, and rich in texture. It is suitable for decorating cakes and cupcakes and is perfect for piping because of its consistency.
There are several variations of buttercream icing, including American buttercream, Swiss meringue buttercream, and Italian buttercream. American buttercream is the simplest and most common type, while Swiss and Italian buttercream are more complex and require additional steps. Swiss meringue buttercream is made by heating egg whites and sugar over a double boiler and then whipping them until they form stiff peaks. Italian buttercream is made by pouring hot sugar syrup into whipped egg whites and then adding butter.
Buttercream icing can be flavored and colored in many ways, making it a versatile choice for any occasion. Some popular flavors include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and lemon. Food coloring can be added to create any color of the rainbow. Buttercream icing can also be used as a filling for cakes and cupcakes, adding an extra layer of flavor and texture.
What is whipped icing?
Whipped icing is a kind of frosting made with whipped cream, powdered sugar, and flavorings such as vanilla. Unlike buttercream icing, whipped icing is light, fluffy, and less dense. It is less stable than buttercream icing, making it challenging to use for intricate designs or piping. Whipped icing is perfect for cakes that are not overly sweet because it has a mild sweetness to it. It is also ideal for frostings light, airy cakes such as Angel food cake.
One of the benefits of whipped icing is that it is a healthier alternative to buttercream icing. Whipped icing is made with whipped cream, which is lower in fat and calories than butter. Additionally, whipped icing is less sweet than buttercream icing, which means that it contains less sugar.
Another advantage of whipped icing is that it is versatile and can be flavored in many different ways. You can add different extracts, such as almond or peppermint, to give the icing a unique flavor. You can also add food coloring to the icing to match the color scheme of your cake or cupcakes.
The difference between buttercream and whipped icing
The primary difference between buttercream and whipped icing is the texture. Buttercream icing is thick, rich, and creamy, while whipped icing is light, fluffy, and less dense. Another difference is the ingredients used to make them. Buttercream icing uses butter, powdered sugar, and a liquid like milk or cream, while whipped icing uses whipped cream, powdered sugar, and flavorings.
Aside from texture and ingredients, there are also differences in how these two types of icing are used. Buttercream icing is often used for decorating cakes and cupcakes because of its thick consistency, which allows it to hold its shape well. Whipped icing, on the other hand, is better suited for lighter desserts like fruit tarts or as a topping for pancakes or waffles.
Another factor to consider when choosing between buttercream and whipped icing is the taste. Buttercream icing has a rich, buttery flavor that pairs well with chocolate or vanilla cakes. Whipped icing, on the other hand, has a lighter, more delicate flavor that complements fruity desserts or lighter cakes like angel food cake.
Which one is better for decorating cakes?
Buttercream icing is better for decorating cakes. It is denser and more substantial than whipped icing. It is, therefore, more stable and able to hold its shape when piped onto cakes. Plus, buttercream icing can be colored easily with food colorings to match the design of the cake, making it an excellent choice for decorative cakes.
Another advantage of buttercream icing is that it can be flavored with a variety of extracts, such as vanilla, almond, or lemon, to add an extra layer of taste to the cake. Additionally, buttercream icing can be used to create intricate designs, such as flowers or borders, by using different piping tips and techniques.
However, whipped icing also has its benefits. It is lighter and fluffier than buttercream icing, making it a good choice for cakes that require a more delicate touch. Whipped icing is also less sweet than buttercream icing, which some people prefer. Ultimately, the choice between buttercream and whipped icing comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of the cake being decorated.
Which one is easier to work with?
Buttercream icing is more comfortable to work with than whipped icing. Its dense texture makes it more stable, which means that it is easier to pipe onto cakes and cupcakes. Whipped icing, on the other hand, has a light and airy texture, which makes it more challenging to work with, especially when making intricate designs.
However, whipped icing has its advantages. It is lighter and less sweet than buttercream icing, making it a better choice for those who prefer a less sugary taste. Additionally, whipped icing is a great option for decorating desserts that will be served in warmer temperatures, as it holds up better in heat than buttercream icing.
When it comes to choosing between buttercream and whipped icing, it ultimately depends on personal preference and the specific needs of the dessert being decorated. For simple designs and cooler temperatures, buttercream icing may be the way to go. However, for a lighter taste and warmer conditions, whipped icing may be the better choice.
How to make buttercream icing from scratch
Making buttercream icing from scratch is easy. To make homemade buttercream, you will need unsalted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a liquid like milk or cream. First, beat the butter in a mixer until it is light and fluffy. Then, add powdered sugar, a little at a time, and vanilla extract. Mix until fully combined. Finally, add the liquid and continue stirring until the desired consistency is achieved. Add food coloring if desired.
Buttercream icing is a versatile frosting that can be used for a variety of desserts, including cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. It can also be flavored with different extracts, such as almond or lemon, to add a unique twist to your frosting. Additionally, you can adjust the sweetness of the icing by adding more or less powdered sugar, depending on your preference.
If you want to make your buttercream icing even more special, you can experiment with different decorating techniques. For example, you can use a piping bag and different tips to create intricate designs on your cakes or cupcakes. You can also add sprinkles, edible glitter, or other decorations to make your desserts stand out.
How to make whipped icing from scratch
Making whipped icing from scratch is also simple. You will need heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. First, pour heavy whipping cream into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until fully combined.
One tip for making whipped icing is to chill the mixing bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before starting. This will help the cream whip up faster and hold its shape better. Additionally, you can add food coloring to the icing to create a fun and colorful decoration for your cakes and cupcakes.
Tips for making the perfect buttercream icing
To make perfect buttercream icing, ensure that your butter is at room temperature, so that it mixes well with the powdered sugar. Also, sift the powdered sugar to prevent clumping and make a smoother, creamier texture. Avoid overmixing the buttercream, as it may become runny and lose its shape. Finally, add cream or milk in small amounts until the desired consistency is achieved.
Another important tip for making the perfect buttercream icing is to use high-quality ingredients. Using high-quality butter and powdered sugar will result in a richer and more flavorful icing. Additionally, consider adding a pinch of salt to balance out the sweetness and enhance the overall flavor. Experiment with different flavorings, such as vanilla extract or cocoa powder, to create unique and delicious variations of buttercream icing.
Tips for making the perfect whipped icing
When making whipped icing, ensure that the heavy cream is very cold so that it whips well and froths up to stiff peaks. Overbeating can cause the whipped cream to turn to butter, so it’s important to stop mixing once stiff peaks form. Also, add sugar and vanilla extract slowly, making sure that it is fully combined before adding more.
Another important tip for making whipped icing is to use a metal bowl and whisk, as plastic can retain oils and affect the texture of the whipped cream. Additionally, if you want to add color to your whipped icing, use gel food coloring instead of liquid food coloring, as it won’t affect the consistency of the whipped cream.
Finally, if you want to make your whipped icing more stable and long-lasting, you can add a stabilizer such as cream of tartar or cornstarch. This will help the whipped cream hold its shape and prevent it from deflating or separating. However, be careful not to add too much stabilizer, as it can affect the taste and texture of the whipped cream.
Buttercream vs whipped icing: Taste test results
When it comes to taste, buttercream icing has a rich, creamy, and buttery flavor which can be overpowering for some. Whipped icing, on the other hand, has a subtle sweetness with a light, airy texture. Both have their unique flavors, and the choice ultimately depends on personal preference and the type of cake you are making.
Pros and cons of using buttercream icing
- Rich and creamy texture
- Easier to work with than whipped icing
- Perfect for decorating cakes due to its density
- Can be colored easily with food coloring to match the cake’s design
- Can be too sweet or dense for some people
- Not suitable for lighter cakes such as Angel food cake
- May be challenging to pipe or decorate in intricate designs
Pros and cons of using whipped icing
- Light and airy texture
- Not as sweet or dense as buttercream icing
- Perfect for frosting lighter cakes such as Angel food cake.
- Can complement the flavor of the cake without overpowering it
- Challenging to work with, especially when making intricate designs
- Less stable than buttercream icing
- May not hold up well in hotter weather conditions, as whipped cream is more sensitive to heat than buttercream icing
Buttercream vs whipped cream frosting: Which is healthier?
Both whip cream frosting and buttercream icing are high in calories and sugar content. However, whipped icing is slightly healthier than buttercream icing as it has a lower fat content. But, it still does not make it healthy, it should still be consumed in moderation.
Buttercream vs whipped cream frosting: Which has fewer calories?
In terms of calorie content, whipped cream frosting is generally lower in calories than buttercream icing. A 1-ounce serving of whipped cream contains approximately 45 calories, whereas buttercream icing has about 110 calories per ounce.
Buttercream vs whipped cream frosting: Which holds up better in hot weather?
When it comes to weather conditions, buttercream icing is more stable than whipped cream frosting. Buttercream icing can hold up well in hotter conditions, whereas whipped cream frosting may melt or collapse under high heat.
Using different types of butter for buttercream icing
You can use different types of butter when making buttercream icing. The most popular options include unsalted, salted, and vegan butter. The type of butter you use depends on your preference. Unsalted butter is ideal for people looking for less salt content, while salted butter adds a mild flavor to the icing. Vegan butter is perfect for people following a vegan lifestyle.
Using different types of cream for whipped icing
You can use different types of cream when making whipped icing. Heavy whipping cream is the most common option, but you can also use coconut cream, which is suitable for people on a dairy-free diet. In addition, you can try flavored creams to add some extra flavor, such as coffee or chocolate.
How to store leftover buttercream or whipped icing
To store leftover icing, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or an airtight container and put it in the fridge. The buttercream icing will keep for five to seven days in the fridge, while whipped icing will last for up to three days.
Conclusion: Which one should you choose for your next cake?
Choosing between buttercream and whipped icing depends entirely on your preference and the type of cake you are decorating. If you are looking to make a cake with intricate designs, then buttercream icing is ideal. If you want a lighter, fluffier frosting, then whipped icing is a better choice. Whatever your preference might be, both buttercream and whipped icing are delicious, and with practice, you can master each technique.