Has cake frosting changed?

Got cupcakes from a bakery that’s supposed to be the best in town for my wife’s birthday. They were decent, but the frosting was all fluffy and light and airy and barely tasted like anything… I’m used to frosting that’s heavy and dense and very flavorful (chocolaty). I recall the same thing with a store-bought birthday cake a year ago or so. Is this a new trend for frosting? Most other cakes I’ve had in the last few years were made by older relatives, with the heavy and dense frosting.

Is there some word for these styles of frosting, so I can tell bakers which one I want?

I’ve noticed that too. I saw this labeled as “butter cream frosting” but I am not sure if this is what made it light and fluffy.

To me it is fairly flavorful per gram, but is less flavorful due to low density. But more importantly, since it is so light and fluffy it is difficult to get a lot in your mouth at once, as opposed to all over your shirt and face. The older frosting was easier to get in your mouth.

It was probably whipped cream frosting rather than your more standard “icing” that you’re thinking of. Whipped cream is much more airy and is popular for cupcakes.

My grocery store now has some kind of light, or sugar-free, maybe fake fat frosting that tastes horrible to me. I have to go through everything very carefully to make sure I get normal buttercream. I usually double check with the bakery person to be sure I’m getting a full sugar, full fat frosting.

Whipped cream type frostings are around, too, but they don’t have the flavor I want.

I seem to recall that frosting has lots of trans fats and that they’re hard to replace without altering the consistency. Maybe these places are trying to cut out the trans fats?

Sounds like you got whipped cream frosting and you are looking for buttercream frosting.

Since the worse thing about cake is the icing I’ve been in favor of the trend towards better lighter frostings. At best they actually sometimes appeal, at worst they’re easier to scrape off.

When I was in third or fourth grade, I remember having birthday cake at my cousin’s. It had a luscious, gooey cherry frosting that I’ve never encountered anywhere else. If this happened today, I’d ask my aunt for the recipe (though I suspect it came out of a box).

YES! I was beginning to think I was alone in the world.

“Scrape off”? What are cupcakes other than an a more efficient frosting delivery system than regular cake?

There used to be a frosting mix that I loved when I was a kid, but I couldn’t tell you the name of it. It was fluffy and light and tasted kind of like marshmallow. I think it was meant to be in imitation of “Seven Minute Frosting”, which was sort of a cooked meringue icing.

My mom used the frosting box mix to make me a devil’s food cake with fluffy white icing for my birthday. I’d kill to have one of those today.

That was my thought as well. There are also meringue frostings and buttercreams that have a lighter texture due to added egg whites (kind of a meringue/ buttercream hybrid). Grocery store bakeries also seem to have some variant on whipped cream frosting made with something like cool whip that has a light texture and a horrible, nasty aftertaste.

Frosting is always so much better homemade.

Amen. Store-bought cakes, in my experience, almost inevitably have frosting that is too thick or doesn’t taste very good or both—presumably because it’s designed for appearance and durability rather than taste. Homemade frosting, or even the kind of frosting that comes in a can at the grocery store, is much better.

Pretty much any storebought bakery good tastes to me like they whipped crisco with sugar and spread it on the cake.

I don’t like it.

It* is* hard to get decent buttercreme at a store or even bakery nowadays.

At work we’ve been told to use more of this (I call it “fake cool whip”) than the buttercream. I suspect it may have to do with the cost of ingredients compared to buttercream: Air doesn’t cost anything.

Personally I hate the stuff. It’s messy to work with and it’s difficult, if not impossible, to get a true, dark color (say royal blue) without it fading to pastel. Straight-out-of-the-bucket colors like red tend to bleed out after a couple of days. The one good thing is that it’s easier on the hands than buttercream.

ETA: I’ve noticed that a lot of people tend to ask for the whipped for their kids’ birthday cakes. Customers have said that it’s because it doesn’t give as much of a sugar rush as the buttercream [sub]which must’ve been the reason why my SILs always had it when my nieces/nephews were small but I digress[/sub]. Older people tend to prefer it because it’s not as sweet.

That sounds like what I had at my cousin’s. Not only was it gooey, it was sticky like melted marshmallows. The cherry flavoring was so good, it had to be artificial.

Gack, as a baker myself I can’t stand the new style fluffy, or soft, cake icings in store bakeries. I haven’t seen what is in them but they taste cheap.

I don’t bake all the cakes we sell but the ones I don’t are obtained from a commercial wholesale bakery that has really good stuff. Especially the frosting, which is the old fashioned buttercream.

My buttercream recipe is as follows: To equal amounts of butter and shortening add powdered sugar to double the weight… For every 16 ounces of powdered sugar add 1 teaspoon almond flavoring. Blend at low speed until sugar is mixed in, then whip at high speed. This icing will still be somewhat firm, it’s idle for piped roses and flowers though. For easier spreadability add milk or cream by the tablespoon, whipping constantly for smooth consistency.

So, eight ounces firm shortening, eight ounces butter, 32 ounces powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons almond flavor, milk/cream as needed.

There seems to be a lot of store bought frosting that tastes like it’s made with shortening instead of butter. It’s horrible.

What about chocolate?