There could be a lot more to icing a cake than you realise. Whether you’re decorating cupcakes, a sponge cake or a huge wedding cake, you want to get the icing right.

That’s why we’ve taken the time to put together a list of all the things you should know about cake icing…

Different types of cake icing:


How it’s made: Mix together butter and milk, then add icing sugar until fluffy. You can add to its flavour with extracts or chocolate.

Best used for: Buttercream is a favourite for cakes that you want to decorate, and is perfect if you’re looking for a delicious filling too.

Royal icing

How it’s made: Beat together icing sugar, egg whites, lemon juice and glycerine until stiff and stands up in peaks.

Best used for: Creating simple icing for cakes or cookies – make them extra bright and fun with food colouring!


How it’s made: Made from almond paste, marzipan has a dough-like consistency. You roll it out before applying it to the cake.

Best used for: Probably best known for Christmas Cake icing, marzipan is suited to fruit cakes.

Cream cheese

How it’s made: Similar to buttercream frosting, this recipe has butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract… with a lot of cream cheese!

Best used for: Cream cheese frosting works well with some of our favourite kind of cakes - luxury carrot cakes and red velvet cakes, for example.

Glace icing

How it’s made: Simply made by mixing together icing sugar and a little bit of liquid, like water or fruit juice for extra taste.

Best used for: Glace icing is most popular for topping cupcakes or drizzling over the top of a sponge.


How it’s made: Made with Belgian chocolate and double cream, this is a rich icing that chocoholics LOVE.

Best used for: Poured over cakes (of the chocolate variety if you’re a real chocoholic) or cupcakes for a smooth and shiny finish.

Our top tips for icing your cakes

  • Let the cake fully cool before icing it
  • Stick to the recipe to avoid it being too thick or thin
  • Use the right amount of icing
  • Begin with the filling, before going on to ice the top
  • Put the knife in boiling water before and in between smoothing on the icing
  • Apply a ‘crumb coat’ before fully icing the cake to avoid cake crumbs in the icing
  • Enjoy!