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. 1industries

  2. Rating: 5

    Funny & informative! I discovered a compromise frosting: add some pasteurized egg whites to icing sugar, whip it up, and add butter & flavorings. I’ve also been told you can use meringue powder (which is not quite the same as egg white powder) but I haven’t tried that. It’s light, fluffy, and sweet. I personally rather like the slight grittiness of American buttercream.

  3. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann just wanna say I love all your videos. I have a question I’ve been trouble with I seen somebody make a Swiss meringue with cream cheese and butter icing I’ve made it several times the 50% of the time it doesn’t turn out I was wondering if you’ve ever made that and if not maybe you would give it a try, maybe I could see where I’m going wrong. Thank you so much for everything you do

  4. Rating: 4

    Hi, Ann! I was just wondering, do I have to use real chocolate for the white chocolate ganache frosting? I have a lot of fake white chocolate, but not so much of real white chocolate. I won’t need very much because I want to use this frosting on my macarons (I’m making mojito macarons with no alcohol). And I saw that lime and mint go very well with white chocolate on people’s opinions, so I am like why not? I want to make this today, so any replies or help is appreciated. Thanks!

    • Yes I do that all the time

    • Rating: 5

      hi Lidia i believe fake white chocolate or compound white chocolate will be best since it has more structure 🙂

  5. Rating: 5

    Hi this is Fathima… I love ur vedios
    Is thr any ingredients cud be use instead of meringue Tart

  6. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann! Love your videos, thanks for sharing! I find Swiss Meringue Buttercream holds up better during cake decorating, but I think it tastes too buttery. Would it be possible to frost with American buttercream but have the flower decorations etc done with Swiss Meringue buttercream? Would it stick, or fall off?

  7. Rating: 3

    My Ermine will not get light and fluffy and it’s turned this off white color.

    • It is vital that you cool the milk mixture before you add it to the butter.

  8. Rating: 5

    Do you have any recommendations on the butter’s fat content? I watched a “buttercream masterclass” video, and they recommended 82% fat. I didn’t even think to worry about butter’s fat content! With your degree and experience, can you shed any light on this?

  9. Rating: 4

    Do you have experience with powdered egg whites? If positive, please give instructions on their use.
    Many thanks in advance.

    • Hi Julie, I’ve only ever used powdered whole eggs – in my make your own cake mix. But the pavlova mixes are just powdered egg whites and sugar and they work fine for cookie frosting and royal icing – I’ve never tested it with Italian meringue.

  10. Do i still have to heat up the egg whites with sugar if im pasteurized eggs..
    If i do heat up with sugar will it still work thank you

    • Hi Lisa, yes you are dissolving the sugar in the egg whites. As to if it will work with pasteurised egg whites you will need to experiment, sorry I don’t have any.

  11. Hey Ann! Caster sugar is really expensive here where I live (it’s like double the price of regular granulated sugar, like what?). So I was wondering if i can use granulated sugar in ermine buttercream? Maybe mix it in with the milk and flour mixture?

    • Hi Alana, The finer sugar dissolves a lot more easily. You could try blitzing your standard sugar is a food processor to make it finer. I would not want to use standard sugar as is because it will likely be grainy in the mix.

    • We had the same problem since we had to use a special brand of sugar since a family member of ours can’t have any glucose. Sadly they only sold this in granulated form. We used a mortar and pestle to get smaller sugar grains and then put it through a sieve. This worked pretty well but was a little work since we had to make a double recipe. It seemed still grainy at first, but after adding the milk and flour mixture the graininess disappeared completely and we ended up with a nice smooth buttercream.

    • If you have a food processor or blender, just make your own by pulsing until the graininess is gone.

  12. Hi everyone, I live in Canada and I had a hard time finding superfine sugar here. After I made some research I found out that in Canada it is called Berry Sugar. Hope I helped someone!

  13. Hi, can you color the white chocolate ganache with regular food colors or do you have to use oil based colors? Thank you!

    • Hi Lyong, use candy colors or oil based colours for best results with white chcolate ganache.

  14. I’m trying to find the frosting heat test video. There is no link to it.

    • I just found it. Thanks.

    • It is on this page.

      • Hi I am trying to look for the heat test video but I cant seem to find it.

        • Oh scratch that 🙂

  15. Rating: 4.5

    I made the Swiss buttercream and just want to share how it went, in case anyone else is going to make it. I used fresh egg whites (if stored correctly, the risk of catching salmonella is actually minimal), so I skipped the cream of tartar. It worked like a charm! You have to mix it for a long time, though, so if you have a stand mixer, I recommend you use it! However, I think it came out quite sweet. Not hurts-your-teeth kinda sweet but still don’t-eat-more-than-3-cupcakes-or-you’ll-feel-sick-for-the-rest-of-the-day kinda sweet (and I usually love sweet stuff). I am a bit worried about trying the recipes that were rated sweeter now haha. Anyway, I still loved the taste and texture. I made almost a double batch (210 g of egg whites) and it was a good amount to cover my 3 layer-, 15 cm (6″)-cake. I flavored half of the batch with blueberry puree, for which I added some additional butter to get the right texture. I feel like you don’t have to get the proportions exactly right for this recipe to work, which is great!

  16. Hi Ann! I have one question… Can you make the italian meringue frosting without any cream of tartar? I can’t find any where I live.

    • Hi MSK, cream of tartar is sometimes called tartaric acid and it helps stabilize the egg whites. It is a common baking additive that is usually right next to the baking powder in your super market. It is pretty important if you want your frosting to work. You can use lemon juice or vinegar instead, however this will change the taste of your frosting.

    • Not sure where you live, but I am in Europe and couldn’t find it in the regular supermarket but found it at a small Turkish supermarket. (It is also a great place for finding food dyes and flavourings). Hope this helped. ^^

  17. Rating: 5

    Ann, thank you so very, very much for your videos! I have learned so much from you!
    Your time and expertise are much appreciated!
    God Bless You!!

    • Wow Julie, thank you so much for the fabulous feedback. You bring a big smile to Ann’s face with such lovely comments!

  18. hi Ann, for the ermine frosting, how many cupcakes can this recipe cover?

    • Hi Ayska, It really depends on the size of your cupcakes and how generous you want to be with your frosting. I find it can do about 24.

  19. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,
    Love your videos!! Just wondering, I’ve seen in a few of your videos you mix the white chocolate ganage with regular vanilla buttercream. How does that taste? I always have trouble with buttercream; it always ends up too sugary. Maybe I just have not found the right recipe. Any tips? Would the white chocolate ganache/buttercream mixture be a good frosting for frosting a cake? How will it hold? Thank you!

    • Hi Rachel, Ann prefers the tatse of the ganache mixed with buttercream and it holds nicely. Any frosting will be impacted by the heat. The ganache tends to be more chocolatey than sugary sweet so it isdefinitely easier on the palate. Ganache can also be made with more or less cream depending on the consistency you are after, so using a firm ganache but softening it a little with the buttercream works well for me.

      • Hi Ann, if you’re mixing the buttercream and ganache what ratio would you use? Equal parts of each or more of one? I’m making cupcakes for a friend who grew up in Spain but now we both live in the US.

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