Thickening Frosting, Icing, and Ganache

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There are so many different types of frosting and icings available that it needs a culinary degree to master them all. If you aren’t a competent pastry chef (or even if you are! ), you may discover that your frostings, icings, and ganaches are a touch too runny or don’t have the desired consistency.

This article will teach you how to thicken several types of frostings in order to get the desired texture. To obtain optimal results, be sure to follow the recommendations for the exact kind of frosting, icing, or ganache you’re creating!

Why Consistency Matters

If you’ve ever followed a frosting recipe perfectly, you may assume the final product is exactly how the frosting is supposed to be. That is not always the case, and it might have a significant impact on how you utilize the icing.

For example, if you measured a tablespoon too much milk while creating royal icing, the result may be quite watery. If you added a trace of additional butter to your buttercream, the icing may be overly stiff. A little error in the recipe guidelines or your unique measurement may make a significant impact!

The consistency of your frosting, icing, and ganache is critical and may have a big influence on your baked products. If your frosting is too runny, it will not keep a neat, piped form on your cupcakes and will slip right off the cake.

If your icing is too loose, it will be extremely opaque and spill straight over the edges of the cookies when you attempt to frost them. If you use a ganache that is too thin, it will slide off off the cake and will not adhere at all!

Here are just a few reasons why you should avoid using excessively soft frosting, icing, or ganache. Take the time to fix it, and you’ll be glad you did!

How to Thicken American Buttercream

American buttercream is a common icing that many people like using on cakes and cupcakes. It’s produced by creaming together butter and powdered sugar, then adding a little milk and flavorings.

Although American buttercream is popular owing to its flavor, it is also a good alternative since most recipes are forgiving.

If you prepare an American buttercream and it turns out too soft, there are a few options for thickening it. Determine why your buttercream is soft, then apply one of the remedies listed below to help thicken it!

Too Warm- Since American buttercream is mostly comprised of butter, it will be extremely soft when it is too warm or hot because the butter is melting. If your buttercream frosting becomes too hot, it will entirely melt and become unusable for icing cupcakes!

If you believe your American buttercream is too warm, store it in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes. Return the frosting to the mixer or a hand blender and whip until smooth.

If the reconstituted frosting becomes too hot again, you may need to repeat this procedure. It’s also worth noting that buttercream and various frostings might be difficult to utilize in a warmer area because of this!

Too Much Milk- If you think your American buttercream is too soft because the recipe called for too much milk (or you accidentally added a bit too much), try adding extra powdered sugar.

Powdered sugar can help absorb some of the liquid in the buttercream, but don’t add too much or your icing will be excessively sweet. Add a bit at a time until your frosting reaches the desired consistency. Taste it a few times to ensure it is not becoming too saccharine!

Too Liquid in General- You may be wondering why your American buttercream is so soft. If this is the case, begin by thickening the frosting with a little additional powdered sugar.

If it becomes overly sweet, add roughly 1 teaspoon cornstarch, which will also thicken the frosting. If you add more than a spoonful of cornstarch to the American buttercream, it will become excessively starchy.

If all else fails, try adding additional soft, room temperature butter to your soft American buttercream. Soft butter may help the frosting come together, mixing all of the components into the desired texture.

You can get away with adding a little more butter to your buttercream recipe since it won’t affect the flavor significantly. After all, the essential component in buttercream is butter!

How to Thicken Icing

Again, the kind of icing you make and how you use it will be heavily influenced by the thickness that you need. The term “icing” may also be misleading, since many people refer to buttercream frosting as “cake icing.”

This section will concentrate on royal icing, which is considerably distinct from regular frosting.

Cookies are often decorated with royal icing. It may also be used to ice cakes and cupcakes and to build cake decorations. The consistency of royal icing may vary greatly, and you will need to thicken or loosen it depending on how you want to utilize the frosting.

Here are a few methods to utilize royal icing and the consistency needed for each:

  1. Frost a cake or cupcakes with royal icing that is thick and holds its form. The frosting will be firm and sticky, similar to buttercream or whipped butter.
  2. Ice Cookies- When icing cookies with royal icing, the icing should be somewhat liquid so that it thoroughly covers the cookie and creates a smooth surface. But, the frosting should not be so runny that it drips straight off the biscuit. The royal icing should cover the back of a spoon, leaving it solid white and not opaque.
  3. Decorate Cookies or Cakes- When decorating cookies and cakes with royal icing, you want it to be thin enough to pipe but thick enough to keep its form and not run. The ideal decorative consistency is also known as the 15-second consistency. This means the icing will retain its form for 15 seconds before gradually softening and merging into the cake or cookie you’re decorating.

So, how can you alter the texture of your royal icing?
Very simply! Since royal icing is generally produced with beaten egg whites (or whipped meringue powder), powdered sugar, and flavorings or extracts, it is simple to modify these components to get the desired consistency.

Make Royal Icing Thicker- Just add additional powdered sugar to thicken royal icing. Begin by adding roughly a cup additional powdered sugar to your icing and mixing it in. Continue to add the powdered sugar in cup increments until you get the desired consistency for your icing application.

Make Royal Icing Thinner- To loosen your royal icing, add a tablespoon of cold water and thoroughly mix it in. A little water will go a long way toward modifying the consistency of the icing, so add just a little at a time!

Royal icing is an excellent icing to utilize since it is forgiving and simple to adjust in texture. Additional powdered sugar or water will suffice!

How to Thicken Ganache

Ganache is produced with heavy cream (also known as whipping cream), chocolate, and sometimes corn syrup or glucose syrup. The majority of ganache recipes are straightforward, requiring you to heat the cream and then pour it over the chopped chocolate.

The heat from the cream will melt the chocolate, and once combined, you’ll have a wonderful smooth chocolate icing that you can use to top cakes, pour over ice cream, or dip cookies and cupcakes into. Ganache is really versatile!

Making the ideal consistency ganache, on the other hand, may be difficult. A little too much cream (even a tablespoon!) might cause your ganache to be overly thin. If you use a different kind of milk instead of heavy cream, the ganache may become overly thin.

Heavy cream offers the ideal balance of fat and liquid for ganache, but whole milk, for example, is too watery and will result in a gloppy ganache.

The first step in creating a rich ganache is to use heavy cream or whipping cream in the recipe. This ensures that the texture is right from the start.

Next, double-check that the recipe you’re using is for the sort of chocolate you’re using to produce the ganache. White chocolate will produce a much thinner ganache than dark chocolate, so make sure your recipe proportions are geared toward your chocolate of choice in order to get the ideal ganache consistency.

If your ganache is still too thin, quickly add a handful of chopped chocolate while the ganache is still hot. Stir the remaining chocolate into the mixture rapidly to ensure that it melts in. When required, add more chocolate until the ganache is lovely and thick.

If you add more chocolate to the ganache to thicken it but it isn’t melting (ganache may chill fast as you whisk in cold air), set the bowl of ganache over a double boiler to reheat it.

To incorporate the additional chocolate, whisk continually. Heat the ganache just enough to melt the chocolate; too much heat will cause some of the oils to separate, spoiling the ganache.

This method should help you thicken your frostings, icings, and ganache to the proper consistency for your baked products. We are certain that with a few methods, you can get the desired results and be able to prepare bakery-worthy sweets.

Good luck with your baking!


How do you make frosting thicker?

Mix together the powdered sugar

If your frosting hasn’t thickened enough after cooling, add a few tablespoons of sifted powdered sugar to help your buttercream stiffen.

Will ganache thicken as it cools?

Remember that the ganache will thicken as it cools. Thick icing, such as ganache, should only be used for cold pastries, according to the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. Before adding the ganache, make sure the pastry you’re filling or coating has had time to cool.

Why is my ganache not hardening?

To set, ganache requires certain proportions of cream and chocolate. It may not set if you use too little or too much chocolate.

Does ganache harden on cake?

When it cools, it will naturally stiffen and thicken. If you mix the ganache as it cools, it will become lumpy.

Does cornstarch make frosting thicker?

To thicken the frosting, add 2 cups cornstarch. This has no effect on the taste of the icing. You may add up to one.

What is the cause of soupy frosting?

Frosting is very runny.

If you’re preparing buttercream frosting, this might be because the butter was too soft or you used too much milk, or it could be because you overbeat it if you’re creating cream cheese frosting. Additionally, a hot kitchen might cause frosting to become runny, so keep an eye on the temperature.

What can I add to ganache that is too runny?

Add extra chocolate if desired.

If your ganache is excessively fluid, it is most likely because it includes too much cream. As a result, the texture becomes runnier and more liquid-like. As a result, our experts suggest that you add chopped chocolate to the ganache to thicken it again.

How long does ganache take to thicken?

Place the ganache in the refrigerator to set and thicken.

Hot or warm ganache will always be thinner than refrigerated ganache after an hour. If you have the time, cover your ganache with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Put it in the fridge for an hour, pulling it out every 30 minutes to mix it.

Can I put ganache in the fridge to set?

If you don’t have time to let the ganache set at room temperature, you can speed it up by chilling it – just be sure to stir it often so that it cools and sets evenly.

Why add butter to ganache?

Chop up the butter and incorporate it into the mixture. Note: Although butter isn’t required, it does give your ganache a more melt-in-your-mouth quality. Your ganache is now complete. Depending on what you want to do with your ganache, you may need to let it solidify.

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