Difference Between Frosting and Icing


Main Difference

The main difference between Frosting and Icing is that Frosting is a thick and fuzzy covering of cream or butter outside of cakes whereas Icing is thin glazy covering on cakes and pastries.

Frosting vs. Icing

The frosting is foaming of cream on cakes. Icing is a delicate layer of cream and egg whites on pastries and cakes. The frosting is also called “buttercream.” Icing is also called “glaze.” The frosting is made up of butter, sugar, and cream. The icing is made up of sugar, water, and eggs. The frosting is fluffy, while the icing is glossy. Frosting is made with creamy base whereas icing prepares with sugary base. The frosting has strong butter taste. Icing has a sweet taste. Frosting has thick consistency as compared to icing. The frosting is used for topping of cakes and cupcakes conversely icing is the topping of bread, donuts, and cookies. Frosting can own shapes. The icing cannot retain 3D forms. The frosting is opaque, but the icing is non-opaque. Frosting is more solid. The icing is more liquid. Frosting can maintain its texture without refrigeration, while icing needs to refrigerate. Frosting promotes health; on the other hand; icing may be a health hazard.


Comparison Chart

The thick fluffy coating of cream or butter on exterior of cakes is called frostingThe thin glaze on pastries and cakes is called icing.
Cream, butter, sugarSugar, egg whites
Cream baseSugar base
Thick and gooeyThin
Decoration of cakesVarnish on cakes and pastries

What is Frosting?

The first buttercream was formed at the start of the 20th century. According to the food timeline, Mrs. Fred was first who prepared the frosting. After it, many recipes registered. Frosting is the outer covering of cake. Cream and butter are its features. For decoration purposes, colors The frosting is sometimes called buttercream because it has solid butter taste. It has a fluffy and soft appearance creates an attraction for children and adults. The frosting has thick consistency can hold shapes, i.e., flowers. It finds its uses in a topping of cakes, cupcakes, and between layers of cakes. The frosting is thick can maintain its texture. It does not need to refrigerate. It is falsely known as buttercream, but it is different from buttercream. Both are made up of sugar, fat, and flavoring ingredients. Sometimes, recipe adds milk and water. Buttercream has a buttery taste while frosting is made up of cream cheese. Buttercream is tastier and sweeter; frosting is often slippery and looks peculiar. As frosting is an assembly of butter, it is good for health. Butter contains short-chain butyric acid that affects gastrointestinal flora, cures inflammation, and stimulates gut health.


Classification of Frosting

  • Buttercream Frosting: It is very popular. All types of cakes and cupcakes use this one.
  • The Whipped Cream Frosting: It finds its use in stacked berry cakes.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: It is for dark chocolates and caramel cakes.
  • The Cooked Frosting: This technique is for candy topping.

What is Icing?

The first recipe for icing was developed in 1769 by an English housekeeper. This recipe consisted of boiled sugar, egg whites, and some flavors or colors. Flavors also add for the cake. The oven heated the cake. After cooling, it hardened and got a shiny look. Icing is a thin glossy layer of sugar or egg whites used for decoration purposes. Icing is also called glaze. Butter and cream are supplementary to sugary base — colors supplements before it hardens. Many tools, i.e., smoothers, cutters, cones, etc. are available for decoration. Icing has a thin consistency. It cannot hold shapes, thus, not able to form 3D shapes. It contains more liquid, becomes solid on cooling. One type is royal icing. It is the addition of lemon or lime juice to icing ingredients. Glycerine is added to prevent it from hardening. But there is a little bit health risk of it as it uses raw eggs, chances of transmitting Salmonella species to food increases. It poisons food and infects intestines. Royal icing is used for decoration of biscuits and cookies. It is suitable for knotty writing and lacework on cakes. One tablespoon of white icing serves 80 calories. According to the nutrition database, it supplies enough fat, carbohydrate (sugar), iron, potassium, and sodium. These micro and macronutrients play a vital role in good physical and mental health.

Key Differences

  1. The frosting is a painting of cream or butter on cakes whereas icing is glazing on cakes and pastries.
  2. The frosting is made up cream and colors on the other hand; icing is made up of sugar and egg whites.
  3. The frosting is foamy conversely icing is glossy in appearance.
  4. The frosting has the buttery base on the flip side; icing has a sugary base.
  5. The frosting has a creamy taste while icing has a sweet taste.
  6. The frosting has gooey texture; on the other hand, icing has a delicate texture.
  7. The frosting is used for cakes whereas the icing uses are in cakes and pastries.


The frosting is thick, fluffy coating of cream outside of cakes and frosting is thin glaze of cream and egg whites on cookies, donuts, and bread.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson