A good icing is the key to a great tasting cake. Whenever icing cupcakes, remember, certain factors like humidity, icing consistency, ingredients used and temperature play a significant role.
For decorating cakes and cupcakes there are several types of icing – royal, buttercream, whipped cream and fondant.
Each of these are made and used in different ways:
Stiff icing – this type of icing is used to give a firm outlook, for instance, flowers and figurines. But if the icing is too stiff, it tends to crack. Therefore, you will need to add some liquid (light corn syrup in case of modeling chocolate) to create greater elasticity.
Medium icing – this type of icing is used for making mostly flat designs, like borders, swirls, etc. In case you find icing is too thin, like buttercream, add some confectioners sugar and if too thick, add a little more of liquid (milk).
Thin icing – this type of icing is used for writing and for very thin delicate work like leaf veins.
When making quick and easy cupcake decorations, piped cream icing is the best option. It is of two types buttercream and whipped cream. The basic difference in icing is whether butter is incorporated or not.
If you’re looking for a rich, denser and creamy flavoured icing for cupcakes, then buttercream is the choice. Buttercream is of two types.
American – a simple combination of powder sugar (confectioners), softened butter, milk and flavouring.
Classic – the one more popular in Europe where, you use eggs, light corn syrup, sugar and butter.
If you want a sweet and slightly stiffer and more glaze like icing, then whipping cream is the choice. Again, it is of two types.
Dairy – tends to be sweeter and has a shorter shelf life.
Non dairy – has a longer shelf life but tends to be less sweet. If you like to make it sweeter, then add powdered sugar. If much stiffer then add 1 tsp of meringue powder.