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How To Choose the Right Icing

Proper consistency is the key to making decorating icing that will shape the petals of a flower, show the details of a border or cover the surface of a cake. It's important that you use the recommended icing and consistency for any technique. As a general rule, flowers require a stiff icing consistency, borders a medium-stiff consistency and writing or leaves a slightly thinned consistency.

Icing that can peak to an inch or more is stiff, less than that is medium consistency. Icing that flows easily from a tip is a thin consistency. Every Wilton icing recipe is tested for taste and other important qualities. This chart will tell you each recipe's qualities, so you can determine what is the right one for your cake.

Compliments of Wilton.com

Icing Type Flavor/Description Consistency Best Used For… Coloring Storage/Freshness Special Information
Buttercream
(Wilton Mix or homemade)
Sweet, buttery flavor. Tastes the best and looks beautiful for most decorating Thin-to-stiff consistency depending on the amount of corn syrup or sugar added (sugar stiffens). Icing cakes smooth, borders, writing. Most decorations including roses, drop flowers, sweet peas and figure piping. Yields all colors. Most colors deepen upon setting. Let icing set 2-3 hours for deep color. Some colors may fade sitting in bright light. Icing can be refrigerated in airtight container for 2 weeks. Iced cake can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Flowers remain soft enough to be cut with a knife.
Snow-White Buttercream Sweet, almond flavor. Ideal for wedding cakes. Thin-to-stiff consistency depending on the amount of corn syrup or sugar added (sugar stiffens). Icing cakes smooth, borders, writing, flowers. Most decorations. Yields truer colors due to pure white base color. Creates deep colors. Most deepen upon setting. Icing can be refrigerated in airtight container for 2 weeks. Iced cake can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Air-dried flowers have translucent look. Flowers remain soft enough to cut with a knife.
Wilton Decorator White
(Ready-to-Use)
Sweet, vanilla flavor. Convenient, ready-to-use spread icing. Pure white color is ideal for coloring. Medium-to-stiff. Make roses right from the can. Shell, stars, flowers-use from container. Roses-may stiffen with confectioner’s sugar. Icing cakes, writing, leaves-thin with milk, water or corn syrup. Yields truer colors due to pure white base color. Creates deep colors. Most deepen upon setting. Leftover icing can be refrigerated for 2 weeks. Iced cake can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Available to purchase through Wilton Yearbook or any authorized Wilton retailer.
Wilton Decorator Chocolate
(Ready-to-Use)
Sweet chocolate flavor. Convenient ready-to-use spread icing. Medium-to-stiff. Make roses right from the can. Shell, stars, flowers-use from container. Roses-may stiffen with confectioner’s sugar. Icing cakes, writing, leaves-thin with milk, water or corn syrup. Recommended when black icing is needed. Add a little black icing color to chocolate for a better tasting black icing. Use when brown icing is directed. Leftover icing can be refrigerated for 2 weeks. Iced cake can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Available to purchase through Wilton Yearbook or any authorized Wilton retailer.
Royal (Made with Wilton Meringue Powder) Very sweet flavor. Dries candy-hard for lasting decorations. Thin-to-stiff consistency depending on the amount of water added. Flower-making, figure piping, making flower on wires. Decorating cookies and gingerbread houses. Yields deep colors. Some colors may fade sitting in bright light. Requires more icing color than buttercream to achieve the same intensity. Icing can be stored in airtight, grease-free container at room temperature for 2 weeks. Air-dried decorations last for months. Bowls/utensils must be grease-free. Cover icing with damp cloth to prevent crusting.
Rolled Fondant (Wilton Ready-to-Use Vanilla or Chocolate or Homemade Rolled Fondant) Rich, sweet flavor. Covers cakes with a perfectly smooth, satiny iced surface. Easy and fast to use. Knead in flavor of your choice. Dough-like consistency that is rolled out before applied to cake. Stays semi-soft on cakes. Any firm pound or fruit cake. Cutting molding and modeling decorations. Yields pastel to deep colors. Excess can be stored 2 months in an airtight container. Do not refrigerate or freeze. Iced cake can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Prior to applying fondant, cake must be covered in apricot glaze and/or buttercream icing to seal in freshness and moisture.
Quick-Pour Fondant (Homemade) Very sweet flavor. Covers cakes with perfectly smooth, satiny iced surface. Coats baked goods and seals in freshness with a shiny, smooth surface. Pours and dries to a semi-hard, smooth surface. All cakes, petit fours and cookies. Yields pastels. Use immediately. Excess fondant may be refrigerated, reheated and poured again. Prior to applying fondant, cake must be covered in apricot glaze and/or buttercream icing to seal in freshness and moisture.
Whipped Icing Mix
(Wilton Mix)
Light, delicate taste in Vanilla and Chocolate flavors. Holds it shape like no other mix. Easy to make. Perfectly, velvety consistency for decorating everything from stars, roses and borders to garlands and writing. Icing cakes. Most decorations, topping on pies, pudding, tarts and more. Vanilla mix yields any color. Icing can be refrigerated in airtight container. Iced cake can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Exclusive Wilton formula. Available to purchase through Wilton Yearbook or any authorized Wilton retailer.
Fluffy Boiled Icing (Homemade) Marshmallow-like flavor, 100% fat free. Very fluffy consistency, sets quickly. Icing cakes smooth and fluffy. Borders, figure piping, writing, stringwork. Yields pastels and deep colors. Use immediately. Iced cake can be stored at room temperature. Serve within 24 hours.
Stabilized Whipped Cream (Homemade) Creamy, delicate sweetness. Light, thin-to-medium consistency. All cakes but especially those decorated with fruits. Borders, large tip work, writing. Yields pastels only. Use immediately. Iced cake must be refrigerated. Texture remains soft on decorated cake.

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