I'm looking for a frosting recipe that will work well for piping on a cake. I'm not expecting super-healthy; it's frosting after all! I've done cream cheese before with just a tiny bit of sugar and vanilla, but it dried and cracked by the next morning and I had to redo it. Powdered sugar frosting isn't stable enough; it always melts everywhere. I'm not a big fan of buttercream; it's so sweet and can get melty. I'm looking for pretty little details that will stay. But I'm not sure what to try next. Thanks!
When piping details, you basically have two choices: buttercream and royal icing.
There are five types of buttercream: French, Italian, Swiss, German, and American/fake. I say 'fake' because it uses powdered sugar...
I usually make Italian buttercream, the most common - hot sugar syrup is beat into whipped egg whites, then whipped until cool, then butter is blended in. If you leave out the vanilla, it's pure white, easy to pipe, and not too tricky to make. It's also not too sweet (due to copious amounts of butter) and unless your house is above 80*, it's not going to melt. You can use it for both frosting the cake and piping. It will stay soft and fluffy at room temp but firm in the fridge.
Royal icing uses egg whites and powdered sugar and doesn't taste great, but it looks beautiful when intricately piped. It sets up hard.
For Italian Buttercream, I can recommend this recipe from Finecooking, but prefer the CIA recipe since it doesn't use corn syrup.
Another option is a stiff chocolate ganache.
the only thing I would add to the PP(who gave you good suggestions) is "whipped cream frosting" (again with some powered sugar added) and would be best done right when you plan to serve it and keep refrigerated
most are best done right before you plan to serve (too far a head and not properly kept can cause cracking)- when you did the cream cheese you kept it chilled-correct?
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Personally I have had the best luck with piping on a cake with shortening based icing.
I have nothing but trouble with Italian Buttercream. I love the flavor, but it is always a melty mess for me. I live in CA, so maybe it is too warm when I try it. The one above worked great at dd's birthday- in mid July. It tastes good, not too sweet, and I piped it on the cake, cupcakes and cookies.
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