Icings are used to make cake more attractive, appetizing giving a face lift. Icings are sweet coverings – plain or with vivid pattern in which sugar is the main ingredient. Cake decoration is the form of creative art, manipulative skill with a bag and pipe, skill in the use of color, knowledge of form and design, and primary good taste.
Type of icing depends upon the material used in the preparation and method of mixing. Icings are classified under two groups.
- Cooked icing which like flat icing include fondant which are melted by heated and when cooked set like a firm coating.
- Uncooked icing, aerated composed of a creamed mixture of shortening, confectioners’ sugar, water, salt, flavour, egg etc. These are suitable for spreading and piping where aeration or whipping is used to produce icing of stiff, non flowing consistency e.g. royal icing, butter icing etc.
Ingredients used for cake decoration
The basic and functional ingredients of icing are sugar, water, egg white, gelatin, gum, modified starches and shortening.
Sugar:Various types of sugar are used in the preparation of icing, powdered sugar, confectioners sugar are used. Invert sugar, corn sugar and glucose are used in flat icing to control the size of sugar particles.Powdered sugar / icing sugar used should be very fine.
Shortening: Emulsified or hydrogenated shortening should be used in cream type icing. Shortening should be neutral in taste & flavour. Butter in combination with shortening can be used for its characteristic flavour. Butter cannot be creamed to give volume as shortening.
Eggs: Should be fresh, the white of an egg is used in royal icing. Eggs contribute to volume, taste and flavour of the icing.
Stabilizers: Used in icing, to absorb excess moisture. By holding the moisture a stabilizer can avoid sugar crystallization and eliminate stickiness, during hot humid weather. Vegetables, gums, tapioca starch, pectin and wheat or corn starch.
Sugar is dissolved in water for the preparation of icings and it can be boiled. Flavours and colour are used. Salt helps to enhance the taste and flavour of the other ingredients. Gelatinge, gum, modified starches are used in marsh mellows.
Uncooked, glace or water icing: This icing is made by adding very hot water to icing sugar until it is approximately the same consistency as fondant. Another method is to add stock syrup to icing sugar and to add a small quantity of glucose.
Fondant: A flat icing contain minute sucrose crystals suspended in a saturated sugar syrup with sufficient invert sugar or glucose to prevent the growth of crystals. Fondant is made with sugar, water, corn syrup and flavour. All the ingredients are mixed to a thick paste consistency and heated to about 1100F. Double boiler are used to avoid overheating, otherwise it will cause stickiness in icing and also cause difficulty in setting. It should be covered with thin film of water to prevent crust formation.
Soft icing:Is a blend of fondant with whipped marsh mellow or boiled meringue which makes soft eating icings which are easy to handle. A very good icing is made by blending two parts fondant with one party royal icing. It sets quickly, giving a short icing with good appearance.
Invert sugar, honey, molasses and glucose are hygroscopic and help to retain moisture and impart a characteristic flavour to the product.Sugar lowers the caramelization point of the batter, allowing the cake crust to colour at a lower temperature. Burnt sugar (caramel) is used in cakes to impart flavour and colour.