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. Good day, how long can i keep ermine frosting in the refrigerator just in case i have some extra left. And if i can refrigerate it, can i use it right away or do i need to whip it again. Thanks in advance!

  2. Can i use salted butter or Can i use margarine instead of butter?

    • Hi Phi, Ann uses margarine or unsalted butter. The recipe will specify butter if it is better for the recipe. Otherwise you can use margarine.

  3. Hi Ann I was just wondering, with your white chocolate ganache frosting when do you add the vanilla and salt?

    • Hi Evie, The salt should be added before you heat the cream. Vanilla can be added before you had the chocolate. The salt is really optional.

  4. Hi Ann, I always made your sponge cake recipe! I tried your Swiss meringue buttercream and ermine frosting. Personally I like the ermine more since it’s less buttery although it’s hard to colour it sometimes it js split, can I know why? I m trying to do Italian meringue buttercream but I m not sure if the taste is the same as smbc which is more buttery? I prefer whipped cream kind of frosting. I know ermine frosting has the texture.

    • Hi there, I’m sorry for jumping in. I had the same problem and all i did was to add together with the flour and extra tablepoon of cornflour (corn starch), plus oops! I accidentally threw the sugar into the warm mix and boiled that together with the milk and it still made the “pudding” and then I just beat the butter until very fluffy and light coloured. Then I had a really gorgeous icing. I also used a bit more vanilla. First icing ever that the kids didn’t remove with the fingers to get to the cake.

      • Hi choe, I did the same thing with adding the sugar into the milk and flour too, it melts faster compare to beating with butter! Sometimes I add more powder sugar to my frosting to make it more stiff and stable and when colour with food gel it’s easier, not sure if that’s the reason tho. But I really like how fluffy it is compared to smbc or buttercream

    • Hi KL, Ann usually uses gel colours and hasn’t experienced that problem. If you use a lot of liquid colour and /or you overbeat it the mix you will find it splits. I am guessing it is one or both of those issues. Try using a gel colour for better results.

    • Hi KI, the problem you describe is very common. It is the colour that causes it to split. Ann avoids this problem by mixing a very small amount of a gel food colour into a small portion of the frosting in a seperate bowl. When mixed, then add it back into the main mix and stir in. If you use liquid colour you will find it split easily.

  5. Hey Ann, how much should I scale the white chocolate ganache recipe by to cover and fill one 20cm cake (3 layers and around 6cm high unfrosted)?

    • You need 7 cookies with the hypotenuse of 4 pie and then multiply that by the cake’s diameter and you should be good to go Li! Hope this helps (:

    • Hi Li, It really depends how generously you like your cakes frosted and decorated? I would probably recommend doing a different filling on the layers, so then 1 and a 1/2 batches should be fine. Go for a double batch to do the layers as well.

  6. Hi! Everytime I make swiss meringue buttercream it just comes out soupy. Does the weather play a factor in the success of the buttercream, because I live in a very hot and humid country? The third time I made it I mixed the buttercream close to 30 minutes and it was still soupy. I really like the taste of swiss and italian meringue because it’s not as sweet as the amercian buttercream, so please, please help me out. Thanks and love, love, LOVE YOU and your videos!

    • Dear Chinky,

      You could use the French buttercream. It’s less sweet than the American one. Regarding the eggs: Put the sugar and the eggyolks in a pan over simmering water, mix with a mixer untill it is pale and fluffy. The eggs will cook this way. It might take 5 min. Let it cool down and add the butter, vanilla and salt.

      Good Luck!

    • Hi Chinky, Over beating will cause this to happen. You have made it split.

    • Dear Chinky
      I used to have the same problem and then I realized that the egg white mixture should be cool especially at the bottom of the bowl and between soft to stiff peak, butter should be soft but still a bit cold (not room temperature). If it happened that it look curdled, give it a rest for 10 minutes and start beating again. I lived in the tropics so I can at least know its not the weather (but the buttercream became droopy very fast).

  7. Rating: 4

    Hi ann, can i know what is the difference btw Italian meringue vs marshmallows fluff where there is additional same part of corn syrup to sugar were added to the sugar syrup? will both hold their shapes equally?

    • Hi Llk, We don’t get marshmallow fluff here so sorry but we can’t help you with this question.

  8. Hey guys,
    I am wanting to cupcakes with the American Buttercream frosting for an assignment and I need to do the costing, with the recipe here how many cupcakes would it cover?

    • Hi Shanley, It will depend on the size of your cupcakes and how much actual frosting you want on them. You should get a dozen standard cupcakes at least.

  9. Hi Ann,
    I compared a few white chocolate ganache recipes to yours and some had more cream some had less and so in the end i used 400g of white chocolate and 250ml of cream. I microwaved the chocolate and the cream together until the cream was boiling and then i started mixing the two together. Once it was fully mixed I let it sit for 10 hours at room temperature but it was still runny and wasn’t setting. I don’t understand what i did wrong please help me.

    • Hi Eden, Ann designs and tests her recipes to work so it is best to stick to them to get best results. With the volume of cream you have added and the smaller amount of chocolate you won’t get a great result. I suggest sticking to Ann’s quantities then leave it to cool overnight. Preferably in the fridge. If you find the finished ganache to firm you can add a little more cream next time.

      • okay thank you so much for your help

  10. Hey Ann
    , i was just wondering, how much frosting do each the recipes make and i can use all this recipe for anithing right?
    Thanks Ann

    • Hi Rosielinh, the idea is to choose the most suitable type of frosting for your decorating purpose. In each case the recipe should make enough frosting to cover a standard cake, which is usually around 1 and 1/2 cups to 2 cups of frosting.

  11. Hi Ann
    I would like to make your Louis Vitton cake bag. I was wondering if you could send me the recipe or ingredients to make the sponge. And how much icing I would need. The is to be made for the 25th of June.

    Thank you

  12. Rating: 4.5

    Hi love, please could you show us how to do mirror glaze for cakes, and also any techniques for using different colour glazes too? Thank you so much for all your hard work, I adore your creations and your videos are always so professionally and beautifully done! Looking forward to your next one (as always). 🙂

  13. Hi Anne, I’m planning to make a coconut cake with white chocolate ganache and just wondering approximately how much does the recipe make? Also, do you know if ganache colours well with gel food colouring? Am wanting to colour it a light blue but wondering if it would turn green instead? Can you add whitener to ganache? 🙂

    • If you just add blue coloring, it will become green, but it will change to blue as it cools down.

  14. Hi, I want to make cupcakes and use the chocolate ganache frosting, can I make the frosting the night before? ( so I want to already whip it before and use it in the morning) will it be pipeable right from the fridge? And should I even put the icing in the fridge?

    • Hi Hans, you can refrigerate it. You could pipe straight from the fridge but you may need to let it soften a little before piping.

  15. Rating: 5

    Hello Ann!
    You are an awesome lady. I love all ur cackes specially princess cake.
    I would like if u can, can u send to me step by step how to do it please.
    My baby girl birthday is almost there. She gonna be 1 year old this coming June 27 this year.
    I asking to u a huge favour. Speacially what is the indegret to do preinces doll lovely dress.
    I hope you will send to me the whole detail.
    Sincerly Mekedes.
    God bless you!!!!

  16. hi anne
    i keep trying to look for a candy thermometer but i can’t look for one so can i make french buttercream without a candy thermometer and if i can how?

  17. Hi Ann, I was wondering if I can reduce by half the amount of butter in the Swiss meringue buttercream? Will it still holds it’s shape well???

    • Hi Nayla, The proportions listed work best. You will need to experiment to see if a half mix holds it’s shape well enough for your purpose, but it won’t provide the best result.

  18. Hi I was wondering if it would be okay to use the ermine with macaroons?

    • Hi Brynn C. Ermine is quite moist, so you could use it but you would need to serve them immediately. It will make the shells soften quickly.

  19. Rating: 5

    HELLO Ann, i really love your tips and recipes! i was just wondering how many normal sized cupcakes the american buttercream recipe frosts, Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Shafeen, this is enough to frost a standard 8 inch cake or a dozen cupcakes.

  20. for american buttercream we use 330g sugar or 315g? the 7 flavour page has 315g in ingredients….

    • Hi SB, The one with the higher sugar content is a little former and this is the one that Ann uses the most.

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