From The Kitchen Table

The History of Frosting

Covering cakes with powdered sugar or other materials were introduced in the 17th century. The icing was applied to the cake then hardened in the oven. The earliest attestation of the verb 'to ice' in this sense seems to date from around 1600, and the noun 'icing' from 1683. 'Frosting' is first attested in 1750.

According to Simon Charsley in "Wedding Cakes and Cultural History," food historians describe marchpanes as a paste made of almonds and sugar that is served at celebrations. Invented for topping marchpanes in 1494, icing first appeared inseparable from them. Icing on marchpanes could have additional decorative items

First Frosting and Icing Recipe, 1655

Beaten egg whites proved invaluable in the development of icing or frosting, according to "Wedding Cakes and Cultural History". In 1655, Rebecca Price instructed her cook "to 'frost' the newly-baked cake over with the white of an egg beaten together with rosewater 'and strew fine Sugar [sic] upon it, and then set it again into the Oven [sic] that it may Ice [sic]"

Note how the inventor described the cake as frosted and iced.

Wedding Cakes with White Icing, 1840

The wedding cake first appeared in the late 1700s at aristocrats' wedding ceremonies, according to "Wedding Cakes and Cultural History." However, in 1840 Queen Victoria of England designed the wedding cake still seen today, a multi-layered cake with white icing. Originally, the whiteness of the wedding cake's icing revealed the amount, quality and ultimately, expense, of sugar used. Use of pounds of sugar for cake topping signaled wealth.

Cupcakes and Icing, 1900-1950

Although Hostess Bakery sold the first mass-produced cupcakes in 1919, frosted cupcakes did not appear until the 1950s. Buttercream frosting, made of powdered sugar, butter, cream and flavorings, appeared around the same time.

Some of the many ingredients of modern frostings include: fruit butters, custard, meringue powder, lemon curd, coconut, strawberry and raspberry puree that go far beyond the vanilla and chocolate offerings of the past. Butterscotch and caramel now top cakes. Professional bakers use rolled fondant, with its doughy consistency, for wedding cakes despite the difficulty in handling.

Did you ever stop and think about how many different kinds of frostings there are? Of course, you have your normal go to’s: buttercream or fudge. But…..what about boiled, 7 minute, pour-on, ganache, meringue, whipped cream, stable whipped cream, glaze, cream cheese, or penuche just to name a few.

Think about it! Take a white cake and use these frosting. How many combinations can you come up with? All the frostings listed except for the penuche can be colored and flavored. The combinations are endless.

At the Boarding House we have (40) different flavors that you can use to flavor your icing. We also carry (20) colorings.

Try using your basic buttercream/decorators icing recipe. Switch the color and flavor for the different seasons or holidays. Part of being a cake, cupcake or cookie decorator is being creative!