Frosting-to-Cake Ideal Ratio

My sister baked a banana cakeling tonight, and amidst the sounds of mixing cream cheese and powdered sugar together into a frosting for it, we were discussing the amount to put on the cake when she was done. The conversation brought to my attention the fact that–apparently–we have completely diverging tastes when it comes to frosting-to-cake ratios: while I greatly prefer very heavy-handed frosting application, she’s perfectly happy with a minimalist approach to the sugary fluff.

When I eat any kind of cake, from cupcakes to multiple-layer cakes, I’m wont to break off as much of the plain cake as I can and eat that first. I’m then left with frosting carefully held together with a thin layer of cake, which, in my opinion, is the best part of eating cake. In fact, I’ve been known to eat frosting by the spoonful–pure and simple. For me, cake is just a reasonable excuse to indulge in some smooth, tasty, sugary stuff.

My sister, on the other hand, is prone to licking off whatever frosting happens to be on a cake or cupcake and then eating the cake sans the fluff. Why she even bothers with the frosting at all is beyond me–she also likes a not-so-sweet frosting more than the sugary kind. Personally, I think she should stick to cakes that traditionally don’t get frosted and save all that sweet goodness for me to enjoy! πŸ˜‰

So if you want to pass me a slice of cake that’ll have me swooning with ecstasy, make sure its generously filled and frosted with whatever creamy concoction suits it. Mmm… :yum:

6 thoughts on “Frosting-to-Cake Ideal Ratio

  1. Hehe!

    I must say I don’t think I’ve ever had “frosting”. It doesn’t sound very familiar at all (unless you can make it with something other than cream cheese and sugar?) but it certainly sounds intriguing!

    So I can’t say whether or not I know about my preferred frosting-to-cake ratios. πŸ˜‰ However, when it comes to icing-to-cake ratios (icing being the stuff made with icing sugar and water) I tend to just eat it with the cake and not separately. I’m boring. πŸ™‚ I don’t mind how much is on it, as long as there’s enough cake to eat with it.

    I’m a bit different with buttercream (butter whisked together with sugar and flavoured/coloured – I have no idea if you have these things over there, lol!) as I find it quite sickly. I used to scrape it all off but these days I can handle a little bit. πŸ™‚

    I want cake now. Hrm.

  2. In the US, the words “icing” and “frosting” have a tendency to be used interchangeably by people not seriously into baking/baked goods. I know my mom does it all the time. In this case, the words refer to whatever sugary topping is used on a cake, no matter the ingredients or consistency. πŸ˜›

    For me–and other people more familiar with distinguishing between the composition and texture of a cake topping–the two are very, very different!

    “Icing” is like what you described: usually a simple mixture of powdered sugar and enough liquid to make it either pourable or spreadable. The liquid determines the flavor of the icing: it can be anything from water to fruit juice to milk to liquor or a combination of any of them. Icing dries to a firm coating. Here in the US, it’s rarely used on cupcakes or layer cakes. It’s usually found on cookies, pastries, and as a glaze on bundt or pound cakes.

    “Frosting” includes buttercream, whipped frosting, cream cheese frosting, seven-minute frosting, and so on. It’s usually some combination including a fat and powdered sugar. It has a creamy, thick, spreadable consistency and can be flavored with extracts, spices, melted chocolate or cocoa, marzipan, fresh cheeses, etc. Frosting does not dry to a hard finish, though depending on whether or not a liquid (usually milk) was added, it can firm up as it sets, and it often gets a little bit of a crust on the outside in drier environments. This is what is commonly used on cupcakes and layer cakes in America, and you can also find it on brownies, cookies, and bars.

    Then there’s also ganaches, fondants, royal icing (like regular icing only with either egg whites or cream of tartar used to give it the firmness necessary for use in cake decorating before it dries hard), and gum pastes. Average people don’t usually bother with these toppings because they’re much more involved to work with, and it’s infinitely easier to just pick up a can of frosting at the supermarket. πŸ˜›

  3. Cake to frosting ratio should be 1:1. ;D

    …okay, maybe not. How about 2:1? I like my frosting! ON MY CAKE! And buttery and sweet! It’s more about the sweetness though, as I’ve had velvety smooth frosting that tasted like…well, butter, which is kind of gross.

  4. Oooh, Melody the frosting/icing expert! πŸ™‚

    I have noticed in pictures of American cupcakes (or fairy cakes as I call them!) that there is usually some kind of stuff that looks like buttercream on top. Now I know that it’s frosting – of some description! That isn’t really very common over here unless the cakes are butterfly cakes, i.e. the ones with little “wings” sitting in the top of the cake. They sit in the buttercream.

    Generally most small cakes have icing on them, and larger iced cakes (such as birthday cakes) are generally covered in icing which you can actually roll out like dough. I’m not sure of the correct name for it, but it’s often referred to as “ready-to-roll” icing. It doesn’t really set but it dries out a little so it’s less squidgy.

    My mum covers her Christmas Cake in something she describes as icing, but which goes hard and crunchy. It sort of sits on top of the cake in “peaks” which she makes with a fork, and it can be a bit sharp if you get a piece with a particularly pointy “peak”! I’m not sure how to describe that kind of icing, though.

    I’ve always been interested in learning about what “frosting” is, so thank you for explaining it. πŸ˜‰

  5. Robyn –

    I live in a houseful of frosting skimpers. ;P I’ve never had a cake or cupcake with enough frosting–definitely nowhere near even a 2:1 cake:frosting ratio. It is highly unfortunate. πŸ™ πŸ™

    However, I’m sure we can correct this problem on Friday! πŸ˜€ (Which I’ve been looking to talk with you about whenever you’re next around online…)


    Bonnie –

    Dough-like frosting/icing that’s rolled out is sculpting fondant. There’s also pourable fondant, which is what’s generally found on petit fours. I used ready-to-roll fondant on my birthday cake–after applying a crumb-coat of buttercream frosting. πŸ˜‰

    What your mom probably puts on the Christmas Cake is royal icing; if it’s made to a thick enough consistency, it can easily be peaked with a fork and will dry to a hard finish. Whipped frosting can also be peaked, but it usually stays very soft and pillowy. Mmm…whipped frosting… :yum:!

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