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Family Fun: Quick Icing for Any Ol’ Day

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Posted by : Sue Riedl, Fri, Oct 26 2012

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Fall is birthday season for me. I seem to be going to or organizing a party every week. When it comes to adults or kids, cupcakes seem to please all. Just change the colour of the topping and you’ve got a hit for any occasion. Amazingly, it’s actually easier (and cheaper) to make icing/frosting at home than to run out and buy it pre-made.

Icing_Chocolate_Cupcake

RECIPE: Buttercream Icing
Makes approx. enough to ice a 13" x 9" inch cake, or two 8" layers — about 2 cups.

Ingredients
1/3 c softened butter (room temp)
3 cups icing sugar
1 tsp real vanilla (NOTE: You’ve probably got butter, icing sugar and milk hanging around, right? I would never say vanilla is optional, but in a pinch you can do without.)
about 3 tbsp milk (may need more)

Icing_Ingredients

In a tall bowl (to prevent splatter), combine 1 cup icing sugar with 1/3 cup butter that has been brought to room temperature. Just whirl it around with an electric hand mixture until it is crumbly.

Icing_Butter_Icing_Sugar

Now add 2 more cups icing sugar in a couple of batches. You’ll be cursing me at this point, thinking, “This looks nothing like icing!” It will be quite dry. Hang in there!

Icing_Add_Sugar

Now, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons milk — and keep mixing. It will start to combine even with just the addition of vanilla.

Icing_Milk

One minute later, you’ll have a thick, creamy topping. You can add a little more milk to get the consistency you want, but be careful — a little milk goes a long way. The icing should be stiff enough to hold its shape on a cupcake.

Icing_Vanilla

This is the point where you add food colour. I went orange with this batch, for a combo birthday/Halloween theme.

Icing_Food_Colour

Please, don’t forget to lick the beaters! Waste not, want not as they say.

Icing_Spoon

Decorate as you wish. If you make the icing in advance, refrigerate it; to make it spreadable again, allow it to come to room temperature before using.

Icing_Smartie

If you’re sick of cupcakes, you can ice up that banana bread you’ve been planning to make (with the bunches of brown bananas hanging out of your freezer). Icing is a strong motivator!

RECIPE: Buttercream Icing
Makes approx. enough to ice a 13" x 9" inch cake, or two 8" layers — about 2 cups.

Icing_Silver_Balls

Ingredients
1/3 c softened butter (room temp)
3 cups icing sugar
1 tsp real vanilla (NOTE: You’ve probably got butter, icing sugar and milk hanging around, right? I would never say vanilla is optional, but in a pinch you can do without.)
about 3 tbsp milk (may need more)

Instructions
Using a mixer, put the butter in a bowl and start mixing it with 1 cup sugar and then gradually add the rest of the sugar 1 cup at a time. Add your vanilla and milk. Use as much milk as you need to get a nice spreading consistency.
If you make the icing in advance and refrigerate it, let it come to room temperature before trying to spread it.

For chocolate icing:
Mix 2 ounces melted, unsweetened choc into the icing. You can use 1 cup less sugar for a less-dense icing.

 

Sue_RiedlSue Riedl is a Toronto-based food writer with a passion for cheese who writes a column called The Spread for The Globe and Mail. She loves to push stinky cheese on her 3-year-old.

 

 

 

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