Monday, 4 July 2011

For my Mum

Frosting V's Icing:

Since I was little we would always have cakes and slices with a set icing on them - why not a soft icing you ask? Well you can only imagine sending your child or husband away to school or work only to have them return complaining that the best bit of the cake got stuck on the glad wrap and they got all sticky from trying to salvage what they could.

Although I may have moved out and no longer require my made lunches my Dad and Sister still enjoy there home baked items to take to work and make everyone around them envious of what they have hidden in their lunch box's .... and no there is no trading for that apple someone might have.

My Mum used a packet mix a couple of weeks ago and the question was raised if their was something that packaged cakes are doing now as the icing mixture and recipes are only soft icing mix's otherwise known as Frosting, what was the difference and why are they doing it..... Well as much as I could give some guidance to the difference between the two I thought I might dig a little deeper into the subject.

From what I can understand, Icing itself as we know it 'Icing Sugar' is what we can purchase in a bag at the local supermarket where you can just add a liquid such as milk or water and together the sugar and the liquid form a set icing. By using the same ingredients but adding Butter or margarine is how we obtain a frosting.

In pre packaged cake mix's all it's based with is icing sugar and it is us following there instructions which makes it into the frosting. However as Margarine is made with plant based oils where as butter is made with more fat solids it will determine the hardness of your frosting. The more fat solids you combine into your frosting the harder the frosting will set.

So why do packaged cakes want us to use frosting rather than icing?  Well it is an ongoing debate as to why and there is no real answer to what I could find. My explanation would have to be due to the ongoing displays and developments in cookery where home cooks want to make there cakes look as though we have gone and spent money at a shop.... and why wouldn't you? The ooo's and the ahhh's is what makes you happy isn't it.

The overall experience and the outcome of making your cake look like the one from a cake shop makes you want to go and buy the packaged cake again, it's all in a box ready to go for that quick and easy combine beat and bake.

There is nothing wrong with using packaged cakes - they have developed over the years and you can pick up some fantastic ones too.  I use them from time to time when I find myself rushed or have the urge to do a quick bake off.

So Mum, if your reading and for all those out there who are questioning the same thing. You are not doing anything wrong - just take out the butter or margarine, or just add less. It will taste the same and the icing will set, so no more complaints should be coming home from now on (well about the icing anyway).

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