“Chef, what is the difference between icing and frosting?”

Do you ice or frost a cake?

Does it sound more refined to say “ice” than “frost?”

Historically, icing refers to a more European origin and

frosting is the American term for icing and, even though America is younger-

frosting appeared in print here before icing in 1610 while icing was seen in print in 1760!

In America, according to Larousse Gastronomique, frostings cover soft icings such as buttercreams and cake fillings, chocolate icing but not royal icing—which is ALWAYS referred to as royal icing.

Outside of America, according to Larousse Gasrtonomique……, “the soft cake covering and filling made by whisking sugar syrup into egg whites is usually called American frosting!”

Guys-I call that Italian Meringue !

When you add butter to that cooled mixture-you have Italian Meringue Buttercream-the Rolls Royce of buttercreams!

I just call it buttercream! I usually do not add icing or frosting to the description at all!

I say “Let’s finish the cake with…

Which is  Baker’s speak-for ice or frost in….Italian Meringue Butterceam or whatever—Swiss Meringue Buttercream, or French Buttercream.

So where are we with this “name calling?”

Based on all of the above—use the terms ice and frost interchangeably with the historical facts swirling about in your head

Most of all-have fun icing or frosting your cakes/desserts!

For a look at how to make Chef Susan’s Italian Meringue Buttercream


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