Ann Reardon

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 they 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) or 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
330g (11.64 ounces) or 2 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp powdered (icing) sugar
15-30millilitres (1.01 fluid ounces) or 1-2 Tbsp milk
small pinch salt
1/2 tsp or 2.5millilitres (0.08 fluid ounces) 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 or 144g (5.08 ounces) superfine (castor) sugar
45millilitres (1.52 fluid ounces) or 3 Tbsp water
5 egg yolks
200g (7.05 ounces) or 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp and 2 tsp unsalted butter, bring to room temperature
small pinch salt
1/2 tsp or 2.5millilitres (0.08 fluid ounces) 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 238F (114.44 degrees Celsius).
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 or 120g (4.23 ounces) 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 or 218g (7.69 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup or 63millilitres (2.13 fluid ounces) water
small pinch salt
1/2 tsp or 2.5millilitres (0.08 fluid ounces) 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 238F (114.44 degrees Celsius).
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 or 120g (4.23 ounces) 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 or 218g (7.69 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup or 63millilitres (2.13 fluid ounces) water
small pinch salt
1/2 tsp or 2.5ml vanilla essence
250g (8.82 ounces) or 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp and 1 tsp 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 250millilitres (8.45 fluid ounces) (4%) milk
3 Tbsp or 30g (1.06 ounces) plain or all purpose flour
1 cup or 220g (7.76 ounces) butter
1 cup or 216g (7.62 ounces) superfine (caster) sugar
small pinch salt
1/2 tsp or 2.5millilitres (0.08 fluid ounces) vanilla essence

Beat together butter and superfine (castor) 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 or 2 cups cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup or 110g (3.88 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups or 315g (11.11 ounces) powdered (icing) sugar
small pinch salt
1/2 tsp or 2.5millilitres (0.08 fluid ounces) vanilla essence

Beat together cream cheese and butter until they are smooth.
Stir in your powdered (icing) 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 or 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp cream
small pinch salt
1/2 tsp or 2.5millilitres (0.08 fluid ounces) 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?

by Ann Reardon How To Cook That

© All Rights Reserved Reardon Media PL 2020

My Cookbook

ann reardon crazy sweet creations cookbook
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All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

261 Comments View Comments

  1. How many cups of ganache does this recipe make? Thank you.

  2. Rating: 5

    Thanks so much Ann this video has helped me so much! I’ve watched it about 20 times. Loving the hints and tips. Keep up the great job, I appreciate your help. Can’t wait to see what else your going to teach me :0)

    • thanks for the lovely comment lisa

  3. All these comparisons and instructions are so awesome!

  4. 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?

    • Hi Goreti, yes I tested it with fondant overnight, see towards the end of the video, it was fine.

  5. Rating: 5

    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!

    • 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.

  6. Rating: 5

    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?

    • Hi Joanne, thanks for watching the vids, and sunrise 😀 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.

      • Rating: 5

        Thanks for the recipes, the video and the comparison. Wonderful job! My white chocolate ganache, made with melts, is cooling now and I’ll pipe it on mini cupcakes tomorrow. It’s good to know what to do in case it’s too firm.

      • Rating: 4.5

        Dear Ann,
        once again, thanks for all the information! I used the ganashe to cover mini cupcakes to make this (photo) and indeed it works best with real chocolate than melts but, after a few trials, I found it’s better to cool it down in the fridge for 30 mins and then beat it than let it rest overnight so it doesn’t get too hard. One more important tip to those who want to try it: make sure you melt the chocolate COMPLETELY if you intend to pipe the frosting through small tips or the tiny lumps will clog the slits! 😉

  7. 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

    • You can’t, Ann was saying that fondant is liquid with italian meringue

    • Hi Nancy, towards the end of video you can see each of the frostings tested with fondant overnight and the moisture in the italian meringue makes the fondant start to weep. The only way around this is the put a barrier between the two like I did here on the divergent cake…

  8. Rating: 5

    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!!

    • hi libby american butter cream is usually used for that but any frosting that holds it shape when piped is fine, see the pictures here and you can see which ones hold a firmer shape

  9. 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

    • of course she knows what disney is!!!!! btw: she does have an olaf cake because everybody knows olaf

    • Disney famous around the world, I came from Indonesia and now live in Australia for 4 years now, I know Disney since I was little.

    • Hi Taylor yes the Olaf cake is here…

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

    • Hii,

      caster sugar = super fine sugar.

    • 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.

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

    • 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.

  12. Rating: 5

    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!

    • thanks for taking the time to come back and say thanks Ben 😀

  13. Rating: 4.5

    Thanks for this- I loved it!!

    • 😀

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

    • Hi Danielle, I use caster sugar

  15. 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!

    • 😀

  16. Ann,
    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!

    • thanks Jane

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

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

    • Hi Joel, it helps to offeset the sweetness of the frosting

  19. Rating: 5

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

    • glad you liked it jacklyn 😀

  20. Rating: 5

    This is fantastic, thank you Ann.

    • 😀

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