Have you ever attempted cake decorating and found it frustrating, even when you were following the directions or doing something as simple as just frosting a cake?
The issue could have been how thick the frosting was.
Having the right icing consistency helps you as a decorator - your job will be easier - and it helps the decorations hold their shape.
So, today I am going to teach you the differences between the three icing consistencies, when you need them, how to check your frosting consistency, how to get your icing the right thickness and how to adjust mistakes in your consistencies.
In the world of cake decorating, there are three different icing consistencies you need to know: STIFF, MEDIUM and THIN.
The main reason for decorating difficulty is having the wrong icing consistency.
It's simple, different techniques require different consistencies and following the consistency rule will help resolve most decorating errors.
Stiff frosting is used when you make decorations that stand upright for example: 3D buttercream flowers that are made on a nail and later transferred onto the cake.
The stiff consistency helps the petals stand UPright. If the frosting is not stiff enough, it will sag or even fall over.
You can check your frosting consistency by putting a spatula upright in your frosting, if it continues to stand upright by itself, and does not move, it is STIFF.
Medium frosting is used to make basic decorations that are normally piped right onto the cake and do not stand UPright such as: borders, stars, two-dimensional circles, "flat" drop flowers, fur, grass, leaves, rosettes, swirls and zig-zags. (In short: 2D decorations and frosting cupcakes.)
You can check your frosting consistency by putting a spatula upright in your frosting, if the spatula starts to lean by itself then it has a medium consistency.
Thin frosting will not hold a 2 dimensional shape. It is used for basic things like filling cakes with frosting, crumb coating, icing the exterior of a cake, applying a flat smooth layer on top of a cupcake and for piping letters - both printed handwriting and cursive.
You can check your frosting consistency by putting a spatula upright in your frosting, if the spatula falls over by itself then it has a THIN consistency.
Here's a quick conversion chart to adjust your frosting's consistency.
Every frosting has a different liquid, some examples include: water, milk or heavy cream. When thinning out your buttercream frosting, be sure to use the same liquid in your recipe.
In my American Buttercream frosting recipe I use heavy cream as my liquid, so I would add more heavy cream to thin out my frosting.
In my Practice Buttercream Icing recipe I use water as my liquid, so I would add more water to thin out my frosting.
TO THICKEN your frosting slowly add sifted powdered-sugar in increments of 1 tablespoon at a time until you have reached your desired consistency.
HELLO! I'm Julie. My favorite hobby is baking; it’s relaxing and brings out my creative side. < Here I share tutorials to teach you how to cake decorate like a pro! Hungry for more? Subscribe to my newsletter below to get my newest recipes, tutorials, and more! ENJOY.
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