Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cakie! - The Frosting

Friends, let me tell you about my latest fixation:

Princess Cake.

This Swedish treat features delicately sweetened vanilla cake, filled with raspberry jam and fresh cream. It's moist, yet sturdy, and shaped to perfection with a layer of marzipan frosting.

It is amazing. I suggest you all find the nearest Swedish bakery and try it out.

But the reason I bring up this mouthwatering morsel is mainly because of the frosting. There are, it seems, alternatives to the standard buttercream or fondant choices. Let's discuss:

Made mostly of butter and sugar, this is the standard (and cheapest) cake frosting. Tasty, no frills, icing. It's easily piped around into flowers or basket weave patterns. It is, however, more difficult to create smooth, flawless looking surfaces. You also can't make fancy-sturdy models with it.

A standard for smooth, tiered wedding cakes these days, commercial cake fondant is made of gelatin, glycerin, glucose and powdered sugar (sounds, delicious, doesn't it? :P). You can also make your own with marshmallows, if you prefer. It's more costly than buttercream, and tastes like..well, it doesn't taste like much. It's usually just peeled off and left uneaten. It cannot be used for piping, but can easily be molded into desired shapes and appliques, and has excellent structural strength.

-Royal Icing
This is the hard, meringue-like substance on decorated sugar cookies and pre-made candy cake decorations. It's a bit brittle and inflexible as a cake cover, but would work for making sturdy piped details or appliques. It's made mostly from egg whites and sugar.

Ganache is made of chocolate and cream, and tastes like a dream. However, it is super soft and prone to melting, so don't even think about using it for gravity-defying cake architecture, cause you won't get any support from this!

-Modeling Chocolate
Perfect for creating rigid, complex structures, modeling chocolate can make for a super-sweet alternative. It's made of chocolate and a sugar syrup, but I'd still be a little wary about the melting factor.

Made of sugar and ground almond meal, marzipan makes for a great cake-cover when rolled out thinly. Let me emphasis thinly, as this frosting packs quite a flavor punch. It's best paired with simpler cakes like vanilla, since the almond flavor can overwhelm anything more complex. But boy, is it ever delicious! Structurally, it works similar to fondant, though it can become too brittle when dried out. One other note - marzipan apparently only comes in about 2 colors, green and ivory/almond color. Though I'm pretty sure you can dye the natural almond color to your preferred hue...

I'm definitely going to ask any potential bakers what our frosting options are. Sak is definitely pro-anything-chocolate, but I'm not sure if it would hold up in the Hawaii-heat. And I love the marzipan, but it might not go well with guava-coconut cake. Yet even if we end up back at fondant and buttercream, at least now I know there are other alternatives I need to "taste test"!

What are you covering your cake in?


  1. My friend is having a giant Princess Torte as her wedding cake in June! I'd never even heard of it before. The one and only time I've had marzipan I hated it...I'm hoping that all of these glowing recommendations for the cake will hold up come June!

    Our cupcakes will definitely be done up in buttercream.

  2. Haha. I'm a fan of the plain ole cream cheese icing, delicious! I do, however, love going on taste testings with my bridesmaid to "learn more" about the other options out there!

  3. I hate fondant and love buttercream but I'm concerned that buttercream will melt! I'm hoping when I do my planning tour, I will be able to discuss this concern with potential bakers/planners to get their perspective!

  4. Wow, great post I had no idea there were so many options! I'm going to have to try the Princess Cake :o)

  5. Oh my gosh penga!! I just drooled all over that description of the first cake! Where can I find one in Minnnesota? I want one like right now! haha. You've sent me on a mad google-search frenzy now. hehe. This is a very dangerous post. I loves me some cake! Very informative post though... I had no idea there were so many different types of frosting. Now I know! I think we are leaning towards buttercream for the wedding. That's what Patruck wants. :)

  6. hehe, looks like buttercream is winning this race, eh? :D

    @gator - I totally forgot about the cream cheese frosting! It's so tasty on some red velvet cake..yummmm.