5 Easy Solutions for Fixing Your Frosting

Five simple hacks to save yourself from frosting failure.

Some of my favorite baked goods are topped off with a delicious frosting or glaze. However, there are times when making frosting can be a little tricky, causing your hard-earned treats to be topped with a glaze you're less than proud of. Today we're tackling five frosting problems you may run into and five solutions to turn your problematic topping into the best, most-flavorful addition for your cookies, cakes and desserts!

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Problem 1: Your Glaze Is Too Runny

Solution: Gradually add more powdered sugar to obtain the desired consistency.

When making pastries, muffins or cakes, adding a delicious glaze is the perfect way to top it off. However, if the glaze is too runny, it will sink right into your baked good, making it soggy and not very attractive.

A good rule of thumb for glaze consistency is that it's pourable with a spoon, but able to stand up on its own. Start with a ratio of 1 cup of powdered sugar, to 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons of milk. Adding the milk gradually and stirring it until smooth is the ideal way to achieve the desired consistency. If you feel the glaze is too runny, simply add a few additional spoonfuls of powdered sugar.

The beauty of a great glaze is how easy it is to add to your finished baked goods. Simply drizzle by the spoonful, making long, sweeping strands of frosting. The results are a perfectly imperfect treat!

Adding vanilla extract, almond extract or substituting the milk for lemon juice is a great way to add complimentary flavor to any baked good.

Problem 2: Your Cream Cheese Frosting Is Lumpy

Solution: Ensure the cream cheese and butter are at room temperature.

Cream cheese frosting is a delicious addition to many cakes, cookies, desserts and even cinnamon rolls. However, a frosting with clumps of butter and cream cheese can look and taste a little off.

Before making the frosting, make sure you have the appropriate ratio of ingredients. Start by creaming together 8 ounces of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of butter. Having both the cream cheese and butter at room temperature is essential in preventing lumps. When the butter and cream cheese are too cold, it is harder to break up the fats, thus resulting in clumps that are difficult to break apart. Additionally, using a hand or stand mixer for beating the frosting is very helpful. Next, add any flavoring like vanilla extract to the butter/cream cheese mixture and continue beating. Lastly, gradually add 4 cups of powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Gradually adding the powdered sugar will help achieve a smooth, creamy and spreadable frosting.

Cream cheese frosting can be spread on cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and cinnamon rolls. It can also be piped on baked goods. This can be done by adding the frosting to a re-sealable plastic bag, and cutting off the corner. Pipe/press the frosting out of the corner of the bag for a beautiful and dramatic dessert!

Problem 3: Your Frosting Is Running

Solution: Pipe a border or well around the edges.

Delicious frosted sugar cookies are a classic treat for special occasions — especially during the holidays. However, if you don’t make the frosting just right, you may have icing running over the edges of the cookies. When using a royal icing, a good consistency is key, but also using a technique called “flooding” will help the smooth icing stay in place on your cookies.

Once your cookies have cooled completely, begin by piping a border around the edge of the cookie. This will act as a well or border to hold in the interior icing. Once your border is in place, let the icing set for a few minutes. Then add icing to the center area of the cookie within the border. Don’t overfill the cookie. Use a toothpick to evenly smooth out and fill the entire area. This will help ensure your icing stays in place and provides a smooth finish. Add additional sprinkles and decorations, if desired.

When coloring icing with food coloring gel, make sure to test in a small bowl outside of the main batch of icing. This will help you determine if it is the right color you want to achieve without potentially mis-coloring an entire batch of icing.

Problem 4: You Can't Pipe Your Frosting

Solution: Adjust frosting consistency with milk.

Piping cookies and cakes doesn’t need to be a hassle. If you’re frosting is getting suck in your piping bag we have an easy fix: Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to create a creamier and more pipeable consistency.
Start by tempting your frosting from the piping bag back into the mixing bowl. Then add 1 tablespoon of milk to the frosting and mix well. If the frosting is still a little too thick and stiff, add another tablespoon of milk. Continue repeating this process until you achieve a smoother, thinner frosting. Test by adding your frosting back into your piping bag fitted with the desired tip. Using gentle pressure, start piping your frosting. If it pipes smoothly, add the rest of your frosting to your pastry bag and pipe away.

Problem 5: Your Fudge Frosting Is Not Setting Up

Solution: Patience!

Sheet cake recipes often call for a frosting that is cooked in a saucepan over low heat. The ingredients are melted together and mixed until a creamy consistency is achieved. Many make the mistake of pouring the frosting on to the cake or dessert immediately after it has finished melting. The frosting is likely to run off the edges and sides of the cake, and very little will be left in the center.

A simple remedy to this problem is letting the frosting cool and thicken a bit before pouring on to the cake or dessert. Giving the frosting time to set helps it achieve a thicker consistency — allowing you to easily spread it over the entire cake. Additionally, make sure the cake that is being frosted is completely cool. If the cake is still warm, the heat will not allow the frosting to set properly.

About Delightful.e.made

Erin, the “E” in Delightful E Made, delights in sharing the best of all that she cooks, bakes, creates and loves. She has a true joy for being in the kitchen and making things for the people around her. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.