Hey! Are you about to bake a cake and forgot to buy powdered sugar? Don’t worry, my friend, there are ways around that. You don’t necessarily have to have powdered sugar to make frosting or icing. There are many alternatives, and I am here to teach you a few baking hacks.
Let us begin with frosting.
What Is Frosting?
The frosting is a mixture made with fat, sugar, and flavorings. Butter and heavy cream are used as fats and flavorings to give each frosting its unique taste. Often a bit of color is added to make the frosting attractive and vibrant.
Often confused with icing, frosting tends to be thicker and denser. There are many different kinds of frosting, for instance, Buttercream frosting, whipped cream frosting, meringue frosting, etc.
The basic frosting recipe consists of two parts of powdered sugar and one part of butter. Now you might wonder what powdered sugar is and how it is different from regular sugar.
What Is Powdered Sugar?
Also called Confectioner’s sugar, powdered sugar is granulated sugar that has been pulverized and ground to a fine powder, often resembling flour.
But it has another ingredient mixed into it. That is cornstarch. Cornstarch is an anti-caking agent. It prevents the powdered sugar from clumping together and staying separate and powdery. It is very easy to make powdered sugar at home and cheap.
How to Make Powdered Sugar?
To make powdered sugar, you will need a few things:
- A grinder or blender
- Granulated sugar
Simply mix 1 cup of granulated sugar and one tablespoon of cornstarch powder and grind until it forms a fine powder. That’s it. It’s very easy and often the cheaper option instead of buying.
How to Make Frosting at Home?
Making frosting at home is always the best option. Instead of using store-bought frosting, making it yourself is always superior as you can make it based on your preferences.
You will need a few things to make frosting at home. They are,
- Icing sugar
- Stand mixer/Electric beater/Whisk
Simply add 250g of unsalted butter and 500g of powdered sugar and your flavorings into a mixer and just whisk away. Wait till the mixture is homogeneous and fluffy and forms stiff peaks.
Some Easy and Tasty Frosting Recipes
- Vanilla Buttercream Frosting: 250g Butter + 500g powdered sugar + 1tsp Vanilla Bean paste or extract
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: 250g Butter + 500g powdered sugar + 50g melted dark chocolate + 30g cocoa powder
- Nutella Buttercream Frosting: 250g Butter + 500g powdered sugar + 3 tbsp Nutella
- Cream Cheese Frosting: 250g Butter + 500g powdered sugar + 2 bricks of cream cheese
- Peanut Butter Frosting: 250g Butter + 500g powdered sugar + 3 tbsp peanut butter
- Lemon Frosting: 250g Butter + 500g powdered sugar + 1 tbsp lemon juice + 2 tsp lemon zest
Substitute for Powdered Sugar in Frosting and Icing
The reason powdered sugar is used is because of the cornstarch present in the sugar. Cornstarch is a thickening agent. Also, powdered sugar is easier to dissolve. That being said, there are many substitutes for powdered sugar in the case of frosting and icing.
The most common one is Butter and Flour. Flour acts as a thickening agent and gives a thick consistency to the cream. Often shortening is used instead of butter.
Some other substitutes are:
- Granulated sugar: 1 cup of granulated sugar instead of 1 ¾ cup of powdered sugar.
- Coconut sugar: Coconut sugar is mixed with small amounts of cornstarch or flour.
- Milk powder: Equal parts of milk powder and cornstarch and sugar.
You can easily make frosting without powdered sugar by using these substitutes.
Cream Cheese Frosting without Powdered Sugar
Here’s one of the easiest and tastiest cream cheese frosting and icing recipes.
- 250g sugar
- 300g heavy cream
- Two bricks of cream cheese or 500g
- A splash of vanilla extract.
- Optional ingredients: lemon zest, cocoa powder, etc.
Add everything to a mixer or in a large bowl and whisk it until it forms soft peaks. Optionally you can add Cocoa powder or melted chocolate to it to make Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. Or you can add lemon zest, orange zest, or anything you wish.
I encourage you to experiment and discover new things!
Answering Some FAQ
Can you freeze cream cheese frosting?
Yes, you can.
What is an easy icing recipe?
Just simply mix Powdered sugar + Liquid milk or heavy cream or even water + Vanilla essence.
Can you make cream cheese frosting without butter?
Yes! Sometimes, you can simply replace the butter with shortening or even unflavored oil.
Do I need to whisk frosting?
Yes! Always whisk frosting to give it a fluffy and creamy texture, and mix the ingredients properly.
Do I need to whisk icing?
Not necessarily, but it won’t ruin your icing if you whisk it.
Are icing and frosting the same?
No! Often, they are interchanged, but they are very different.
How to make frosting or icing thicker?
Simply whisk in flour and fat like butter or shortening.
What’s the difference between frosting and icing?
Frosting’s main ingredient is fat and sugar; thick, fluffy, whipped and holds its shape. On the other hand, icing is a sugar and liquid-based glaze that is runny and can’t hold its shape. It also hardens after a while.
How to use icing?
You can easily apply icing by pouring it over the desert or spooning it.
How to use frosting?
You can use spatulas, piping bags, etc., to apply frosting on your baked goods.
When to use icing and when to use frosting?
Icing is a glaze and is usually added to desserts while they are hot. Examples: cookies, cinnamon rolls, bread, etc. Simple drizzle it over and let it drip all over the desert. The frosting is used as a coating and decoration as it holds its shape. You can pipe it and use tools to make fancy shapes and structures with it.
The Finishing Touch
Now that you know all about frosting and its substitutes in detail, I encourage and recommend you to go and try these recipes out and, most importantly, EXPERIMENT! Come up with unique and new creations, and do share them with us.
And lastly, a warning: DO NOT KEEP EATING THE FROSTING WITHOUT DECORATING THE DESERT. It is a very common mistake, and then you will need to make another batch………wait is that a bad thing? 😉
Eva M. Smith is the owner of this website. She is a 4 year old mother of two kids and a professional chef. Eva loves to cook for her family, but being a working mom has a lot of challenges. From squeezing in time to do the groceries to make three meals for the day. Eva knows how challenging cooking can be without a kitchen game plan.
That’s why she perfected techniques of preserving staple ingredients and several foods so that you have something pre-cooked or pre-baked to use for an array of meals. And they do not come short in flavor! And she does not want to sacrifice flavor with convenience. That’s why she is the best person to ask.