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DIY Icing for cakes and cupcakes

Shindigs has recently started selling cake decorating supplies online and as it was a brand new line for us, I decided that we needed to do a little research! I have started with icing - looking into the different types of icings available, ways to colour icings, and the different effects that can be created. It was very tasty research indeed! :o)

The most commonly used icing for cake decorating is Buttercream Icing. Buttercream icing is traditionally made with butter, icing sugar and milk and has a sweet buttery flavour. It has the perfect consistency for piping work on cakes and cupcakes and can easily be thinned with sugar syrup or milk to allow for easy spreading onto cakes. Buttercream can be coloured easily with icing gel colours, but go easy on the amount of colour as it is very concentrated! Use a toothpick to add small amounts of icing colour until you reach the perfect shade - remember you can always add more if you need to! Also be aware that the colour deepens as the icing starts to set, so aim for a slightly lighter shade than you want the final colour to be.
Although Buttercream is relatively easy to make, not everyone has the time to make and colour their own icing - especially if they need many different colours. Shindigs now stocks CK Products Buttercream Icing, Wilton Buttercream mix as well as a great range of Wilton Icing Tubes that are already coloured for you!

Fondant icing or rolled fondant has a dough-like consistency and is commonly used for covering cakes to give a perfectly smooth, professional looking finish. Fondant can also be cut and moulded into many types of decorations, making it a very versatile decorating element in cake decorating. Colour can be added to fondant by kneading small amounts of colour, however Shindigs now sells pre-coloured Satin Ice Rolled Fondant in different sized tubs making it so easy to get the exact colours for your masterpiece! One down side to fondant is the taste - many people comment that generally fondant does not taste very nice - Shindigs has the solution to that! Simply add a few drops of flavouring to the fondant as you knead it and voila! Delicious tasting fondant! The other option is to choose fondarific buttercream fondant, which tastes like delicious buttercream icing but in the fondant icing form.

Royal Icing is another commonly used icing that is very sweet and dries hard - perfect for delicate pipe-work and long lasting decorations. Royal icing usually requires more colour than buttercream to achieve the same colour intensity. Air-dried decorations can be stored in an air-tight container for weeks, making it ideal for pre-preparing some elements of your cake decorating to save time on the day.

Another fantastic and maybe not-so-well-known icing is Fondant creme. Fondant creme is traditionally used when making soft centred chocolates, however it can also be used as a glaze-like icing similar to the icing on doughnuts. All you need to do is to gently warm up the fondant creme until it is smooth and pliable, being careful not to overheat as it can turn completely liquid. Either use water based flavours to flavour plain fondant creme or try a pre-flavoured variety.  Shindigs stocks a great range of Wilton Decorating Gel as well as the fun range of Wilton Sparkle Gel.

Another type of 'icing' are the icing gels which come in plain and in sparkle. These decorationg gels are fantastic for accents on other icings - they can be used to write, draw, to create water effects and many other options. The Wilton sparkle gels create a special glitter effect and come in a range of great colours. It is helpful to note that these gels do not dry; they remain in their sticky gel state even if refrigerated so it is a good idea to keep that in mind, especially if you are transporting your masterpiece.

For more cake decorating ideas and tips for cakes, cake pops and cupcakes check out Shindigs on Pinterest for tonnes of inspiring ideas and great how-to's!

Shindigs has an expanding range of cake decorating supplies, cake decorations and tools for all your cake decorating needs - check out their range today!