18 Different Types of Icing

Different Types of Icing
Photo by American Heritage Chocolate

Icing can take a cake from plain to extraordinary, but it comes in wide varieties. And it can be used in so many different ways that you’d be hard-pressed to remember them all! 

This article outlines the most common types of icing and examples of how they’re typically used.

Whether you want your next cake to have an Italian buttercream finish or a sweet buttercream frosting, knowing about the different types of icing will help you make the right choice for whatever you need!

1. Butter Cream 

Buttercream is one of the most popular types of icing and is also one of the easiest to make. Buttercream combines butter and sugar, then adding milk or cream and flavoring. It’s light, fluffy, and can be used on any cake. 

2. Powdered Sugar

 Powdered sugar is another easy-to-use ingredient for those looking for an accessible alternative that doesn’t require as much time. To make powdered sugar icing, you must add some powdered sugar and a little bit of water into a bowl. Do this until you get your desired consistency. 

3. Toasted Coconut Cream

For those who like their cakes with more of a tropical twist, this will be perfect for you! Toasted coconut cream is made by blending coconut flakes with condensed milk, whipping cream, and vanilla extract. And maple syrup to create a creamy topping that tastes just like summer!

4. Whipped Cream 

Whipped cream is also one of the different types of icing made from whipping heavy cream. It’s light and airy, perfect for topping cakes and cupcakes. Plus, it’s easy to make at home with just a few ingredients.

5. Royal Icing

Royal icing is a stiff, glossy icing made from egg whites and powdered sugar. It’s often used to pipe decorations on cakes and cookies. 

Also, it can be used as glue to attach fondant decorations. Royal icing dries hard, making it ideal for intricate designs.

6. Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting is one of the most popular different types of icing. It’s made from, you guessed it, cream cheese and is often used on red velvet or carrot cake. 

In addition, it’s also delicious on chocolate cake. To make cream cheese frosting, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.

7. Meringue 

Meringue is a type of icing made from whipped egg whites and sugar. It’s often used as a topping for pies and other desserts. Meringue is light and airy and can be made in different flavors. It’s also relatively easy to make at home.

8. Fondant

Fondant is also on the list of different types of icing that is made from sugar, water, and gelatin. It is often used to cover cakes or to make decorations. Fondant is available in many colors and can be flavored with different extracts.

9. Buttercream

Buttercream is a type of icing made from butter, sugar, and eggs. It is often used for frosting cakes or cupcakes.

10. German Buttercream 

German Buttercream is a type of icing made with butter, eggs, and sugar. It’s creamy and smooth, making it perfect for decorating cakes and cupcakes. Plus, it’s relatively easy to make at home. 

11. Simple Glaze

A simple glaze is the most common of all the different types of icing. It’s made with confectioners’ sugar and milk, and it can be flavored with extracts or used as a base for other icings. 

It’s thin and easy to spread, making it ideal for cakes and cupcakes. To make a simple glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar with milk in a bowl and stir until smooth. Add more milk if the ice is too thick or more confectioners’ sugar if it’s too thin. 

Meanwhile, once you’ve reached the desired consistency, flavor the glaze with extracts or add food coloring if desired. Use a spatula or spoon to spread the glaze over your cake or cupcakes.

12. Ganache

Ganache is a type of icing made from chocolate and cream. It’s smooth, rich, and delicious, making it perfect for covering cakes or filling cupcakes. 

Plus, it’s easy to make at home! Here’s how: 

  1. Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. 
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. 
  3. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. 
  4. Let the ganache cool slightly before using it as icing or filling. 
  5. If you’re using it as icing, spread it over the top of a cake or cupcake.

13. Decorators Buttercream 

Decorators’ Buttercream is a type of icing made with butter, sugar, and eggs. It is light and fluffy and can be used to pipe decorations or frost cakes. 

However, Decorators’ Buttercream is not as sweet as other types of icing. We make it a good choice for those who prefer a less sweet cake.

14. Seven Minutes Frosting 

This is the most basic of all the different types of icing, and it’s made with sugar, egg whites, and cream of tartar. It’s often used on angel food cake or as a base for other icings. 

15. Boiled Icing  

Also called cooked icing, pourable icing, or glaze. This icing is made with sugar, water, butter, milk, or cream. It’s boiled until it thickens and then poured over the cake while still warm.

16. Mirror Glaze 

Mirror glaze is a type of icing that is glossy and smooth, with a consistency that is similar to melted chocolate. It can be made in any color and is often used to decorate cakes and other desserts. 

To make a mirror glaze, you will need to heat milk or cream, sugar, and gelatin until the mixture is smooth. Once the mixture has cooled slightly, you can add food coloring if desired. Then, pour the glaze over your cake or dessert and let it set.

17. Italian Meringue Buttercream

Italian meringue buttercream is one of the most popular types of icing. It’s made with egg whites and sugar whipped into a meringue, and then butter is added in. The result is a light, fluffy, and stable Buttercream perfect for decorating cakes and cupcakes.

18. Chocolate Ganache

 It is also a type of icing, and it’s very similar to fudge sauce but thicker. Unlike the other kinds of icings on this list, chocolate ganache can be used as both an inside and an outside frosting!

What is the difference between icing and Frosting?

Though they are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between icing and Frosting. Icing is made with sugar and water (sometimes milk) and hardens when it dries. Frosting can be made with many ingredients, such as butter, cream cheese, or sour cream.


The different major types of icing are mentioned above. Each type has a different consistency and is best suited for other purposes. For instance, Buttercream is the most versatile and popular type of icing, while royal icing is perfect for intricate designs. Fondant is great for covering cakes with a smooth finish, and glaze can give your cake a shiny coating. 

Also, Cream cheese frosting is perfect for cupcakes and other desserts, while Swiss meringue buttercream is light and fluffy. Stabilized whipped cream is ideal for topping pies and other desserts. Whichever one you want, your choice is undoubtedly on the list.

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