7 Best Frosting Recipes Taste Tested

A good frosting completes the cake.
The best frosting recipes give that moist mouthfeel, enhanced flavour and burst of indulgence with every bite.
Today we are putting seven frosting recipes to the test to find out which frosting tastes the best and how the stand up in the heat outside in an Aussie summer.

The frosting recipes that were used in this comparison were:

best frosting recipe how to cook that ann reardon

American Buttercream Frosting Recipe (recipes for buttercream flavours here)
120g (4.23 ounces) Unsalted Butter
330g (11.64 ounces) icing sugar or confectioners sugar
1-2 tablespoons or 15-30ml milk
small pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon or 5ml vanilla essence
Whip butter until smooth and pale, stir in the icing sugar, milk, vanilla and salt then whip for a further 2 minutes.

French Buttercream Frosting Recipe

french buttercream how to cook that ann reardon

2/3 cup caster sugar or superfine sugar
3 tablespoons water
5 egg yolks
200g (7.05 ounces) unsalted butter, bring to room temperature
small pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon or 5ml vanilla essence

Mix together the sugar and water in a saucepan.
Whip the egg yolks on high until they are pale.
Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves and then continue to heat it until it reaches 238 farenheit or 114 centigrade.
With the mixers running pour the hot sugar syrup into the yolks. Keep beating and it will thicken up as it cools. Add in the butter a little at a time. Then add the vanilla and salt and keep beating on high for a minute until it is smooth and glossy.

Italian Meringue Frosting Recipe

italian meringue how to cook that ann reardon
3 large egg whites 120g (4.23 ounces) you can use pasturized egg whites, they do not make quite as stiff a frosting as fresh but are safer.
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
small pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon or 5ml vanilla essence

Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites. Beat on high speed until you have soft peaks.
Mix together the water and caster sugar, heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Then add a candy thermometer and heat until its 238 degrees Farenheit or 114 Centigrade.
Turn your beaters on and pour in the sugar syrup in a thin stream. At first it will make it quite liquidy but keep the mixers running for about 5 minutes and as it cools it will thicken up. Add your vanilla and salt.

Swiss Buttercream

swiss buttercream how to cook that ann reardon
3 large egg whites 120g (4.23 ounces) you can use pasturized egg whites, they do not make quite as stiff a frosting as fresh but are safer.
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
small pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon or 5ml vanilla essence
250g (8.82 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
To make swiss buttercream take cooled italian meringue frosting and add cubes of butter. At first it will look like a curdled lumpy mess but just keep whipping on high and it will come together to form a smooth glossy frosting.

Ermine Frosting

srmine frosting how to cook that ann reardon
1 cup or 250ml milk
3 tablespoons or 35g (1.23 ounces) plain or all purpose flour
1 cup or 220g (7.76 ounces) butter
1 cup or 200g (7.05 ounces) caster sugar or superfine sugar
small pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon or 5ml vanilla essence

Beat together butter and caster or superfine sugar until it is smooth and pale. In a saucepan whisk together the flour and milk, then stir it over heat. The mixture will start to get lumps, keep stirring it the whole time and then it will thicken into a smooth paste. Allow it to cool. Then with the beaters running add one spoonful at a time to the butter mixture. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until light and fluffy.

Traditional Cream Cheese Frosting

cream cheese frosting how to cook that ann reardon
500g (17.64 ounces) block cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup or 110g (3.88 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups icing sugar or powdered sugar
small pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon or 5ml vanilla essence

Beat together cream cheese and butter until they are smooth.
Stir in your icing or confectioners sugar and then beat on high for 2 minutes.

White Chocolate Ganache Frosting Recipe

white chocolate ganache how to ann reardon
440g (15.52 ounces) white chocolate (choose real chocolate, check on the ingredients that it contains cocoa butter)
150ml cream
small pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon or 5ml vanilla essence

Heat up your cream until it just starts to boil and then pour the hot cream over white chocolate. Let it sit for 30 seconds and then stir. If there are still lumps of white chocolate you can microwave it for 10 seconds and stir it again until its smooth. Leave it to cool overnight. Put it into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high for 2 minutes.

Frosting Taste Test

how to cook that ann reardon frosting

So how did they score on the taste test? Average taste test results are shown below for each frosting.  Taste testers did not know which frosting they were tasting watch the video to see their reactions and hear their opinions.

4.0  White Chocolate Ganache (3,2,5,5,5,4)
3.8  American Buttercream Frosting (5,1,5,4,3,5)
3.8  Ermine Frosting (4,3,4,4,4,4)
3.3  French Butter Cream Frosting (2,4,3,4,4,3)
3.3  Italian Meringue (5,2,4,3,4,2)
2.6  Cream Cheese Frosting (4,4,1,1,1,5)
2.5  Swiss Buttercream Frosting (4,3,1,1,3,3)

frosting tastes best how to cook that

They were asked to rate frostings using the above scale

1 hate it, 2 not so sure about it, 3 like it, 4 love it and 5 favorite

The Frosting Heat Test
Which frosting is the best to use in hot weather? If you have to take your cupcakes or carefully decorated themed cake outside for the party you do not want it to fall apart. Watch the video for time-lapse footage of the seven frostings outside on a 32C (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit) day.

Which one is your favourite frosting?


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About Ann

Hi I'm Ann, food scientist, dietitian, wife, mum to 3 boys. Join me each week for desserts, chocolate and cakes.
This entry was posted in Cakes & Frostings, Frosting & Fondant Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to 7 Best Frosting Recipes Taste Tested

  1. Renee Hix says:

    All these comparisons and instructions are so awesome!

  2. Goreti says:

    Thank you for the comparison. My favorite is Swiss Meringue buttercream. I’m intrigued by the Ermine Frosting. Do you know if it can be used under fondant?

  3. Nicole says:

    Thank you for making this comparison! What a great way to see the differences in these frostings. Just one note to the readers, American Buttercream should not be grainy. This may be due to the castor sugar used not being ground finely enough, or possibly the sugar not being incorporated slowly enough. It is quite sweet though, and often a favorite among the kids! Just an FYI. Thanks!

    • Ann Ann says:

      Hi Nicole, AB will be ‘grainy’ if you don’t have a paddle mixer and leave it running for a long time. I used the same mixers for all the frostings to give an easy comparison. Even with the paddle mixer it is not as smooth and velvety as the others.

  4. Joanne says:

    Hi ann,
    Frist I would like to say that I am a huge fan, and when I saw u on sunrise, I was like OMG, then walking to school with a huge smile on my face
    Next I was wondering whether I could use white chocolate melts to make the white chocolate frosting, or must we use real chocolate?

    • Ann Ann says:

      Hi Joanne, thanks for watching the vids, and sunrise :D yes you can use melts too, but they will set firmer so you may need to add alittle more cream to get teh consistency you are after. You can add the extra cream when whipping it.

  5. Nancy says:

    hi Ann ; I love it soooooooooooooo much , really thank you , please if you can : Is it possible to put the Italian meringue frosting under the fondant alternative to buttercream ?? thank you again

  6. Libby says:

    Hey Ann, first of all i Love your Videos! I made the chocolate lava cake and it was a Big hit!!
    I have a question,
    Im now expirimanting with piping flowers and i wanted to know what frostings are good to Work with.

    Thank you!!

  7. Taylor says:

    I love your videos! please try to make an Olaf snowman from the movie frozen. I know you live in Austarilla so you might have never heard of Disney but my friend wants a Olaf cake and I’m not sure how to make one. Please help

  8. ashley says:

    what is caster sugar and is that what you used for all of the frostings

    • Myron says:


      caster sugar = super fine sugar.

    • Ann Ann says:

      The ashley caster sugar is what I used if it just says sugar it is white sugar that has a slightly smaller granule size so dissolves quicker. If it says icing sugar then that is smaller again and is like powdered sugar, fine white powder.

  9. Vanessa says:

    I have a question… Why do some of my cakes deflate when I take them out of the oven?

    • Ann Ann says:

      Hi Vanessa, If a cake deflates it can be that it is not yet ready all the way through to the middle, or the recipe that is used does not have enough strength or structure to support the air. Having said that most cakes do go down a little after coming out of the oven.

  10. Ben Carlton-Gray says:

    Hi Ann! This morning, I made the italian meringue frosting, and it came out AMAZING! I blowtorched the tops of my 12 cupcakes, and added 2 handmade chocolate cigars! My family loved them! After, I had half the mixture leftover, so the meringues are in the oven now! Thanks so much for uploading this recipe, and al your other videos!

  11. Renae says:

    Thanks for this- I loved it!!

  12. Danielle says:

    When you write “sugar” in the recipe, do you mean granulated sugar?

  13. Poppy says:

    Joel: speaking from my own knowledge of baking, I always add a little salt to sweet recipes. It’s known to be a flavour enhancer in savoury foods but most people don’t think to use it in sweet but as long as you don’t add too much it can really enhance the flavour of most sweet dishes. The only time I don’t add salt to cakes etc is if I’m using salted butter or a lot if bicarbonate of soda as that can also add a saltiness. You’d be surprised at what a difference adding a little salt can make.
    Great post, I found the time lapse in heat particularly helpful!

  14. Jane says:

    Great comparison testing.
    Your videos are excellent with clear, concise explanations. Plus, your test subjects are all cute. :) Great work!
    Would like to see your results posted at the end of each recipe. It’s nice to know which icing holds up best/worst in heat.
    Thanks for doing the testing work for us!

  15. beth says:

    Could you please make frozen my daughter loves olaf the snow man please … ty ann

  16. Joel says:

    Very interesting, thank you!
    One question: why did you add salt to all recipes ?

  17. Jacklyn says:

    That was great! Your testing of reaction to heat and fondant, as well as taste was really helpful…and your testers were adorable.

  18. Jackye says:

    This is fantastic, thank you Ann.

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