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Basics of Baking with Chef Avin- Icing Faults

To a beginner, the world of baking can seem intimidating. And to the seasoned baker, it can sometimes pose frustrating challenges. It’s during times like these that a thorough knowledge of the basics goes a long way in ensuring your product is perfect.


Coming to your rescue, is our very own Chef Avin, who shares his expertise on the most common cooking mishaps in a Pâtisserie, and gives you simple tips to ensure you create the perfect product.
Last time, we handled all kinds of Cake Faults. This time, to literally get the icing on the cake, we tackle Icing Faults.

But first, a little general knowledge.

Types of Icing

Buttercream Icing
Lavonne_Buttercream icing
The most commonly used type of icing, there are around five types—Italian, French, American, Swiss and German.

Foam icing

Lavonne_foam icing
The most common form of this icing is the meringue, which is the French version. The Swiss and Japanese versions are also widely used.


Lavonne_Fudge Icing
This form of icing is a cooked mixture of sugar, butter, water or milk and is applied when it is still warm. It has a heavy and rich texture.


This kind of icing is of two forms—pouring and covering. It is one of the areas of expertise of our custom cake artist, Chef Joonie, and you can see it widely used in her cakes. It is an especially popular option for wedding cakes.

Glace icing

Lavonne_Glace icing
This icing is made by combining powdered sugar with water or milk or sugar syrup. It is a thin form of icing, and is very sweet.

Royal icing

Lavonne_Royal icing
Made from a combination of powdered sugar and egg whites, this icing is used for intricate detailing.

Ganache icing

Lavonne_ ganache icing
Made from equal portions of chocolate and cream, it also works great as a dessert filling.

Marshmallow icing

Lavonne_marshmallow icing
Simple and easy, this one is made using egg white and sugar, and gelatine is added to this mixture. This addition fixes the icing.
Another way to make it is by boiling milk and adding marshmallows. The resulting mixture is applied to the cake while it is still warm, and forms a coat on top on cooling.

Truffle icing

Lavonne_truffle icing
Prepared in a manner similar to the ganache, the only difference being that this one has a higher amount of chocolate.

Whipped cream

Lavonne_whipped cream icing
You just need to get readymade cream and whip it. Simplest of the lot.

Icing Faults
Now that you’re well versed in the kind of icings there are, it’s time to get to know the commonly occurring faults. These are the most commonly occurring faults I have seen across the many years I’ve been working with icing.

1. Curdling/Breaking
Lavonne_Curdled Icing

Possible Reasons
The fat that is added, which is the butter, is done too slowly. It could also mean that while making the meringue, the mixture was too hot when the butter was added.

Chef’s Tip
My solution for this is to add shortening or powdered sugar while you’re adding the fat. Solves the problem. Also, make sure the butter isn’t cold and has thawed to room temperature before adding it.

2. Too Lumpy
Lavonne_lumpy icing

Possible Reasons
There are three possible reasons for this—either the powdered sugar hasn’t been sifted properly, or the ingredients have not been properly blended, or the sugar syrup has hardened.

Chef’s Tip
Make sure you sift all the dry ingredients separately before adding the liquid. Also, use only softened fats and add the sugar syrup very carefully.

3. Too Stiff
Lavonne_too stiff icing

Possible Reasons
In this case, the icing is too stiff to be applied on the cake. The most common reason for this is that the liquid content is too less, or that the icing is too cold.

Chef’s Tip
My favourite tip—adjust the formula, something that can only be perfected with practice. In the case of the icing being too cold, wait until it reaches room temperature. You can even heat it slightly if required.

4. Not Adhering/Too Thin
Lavonne_too thin icing

Possible Reasons
In the case of the icing not adhering, this could be because the cake is too hot.

Chef’s Tip
Be patient and wait until the cake reaches room temperature.
Other times, when the icing seems thin, you just need to wait for it to cool down. It usually ends up becoming a lot thicker.

Follow the right technique for application, and you should be well on your way to becoming an icing expert.
These are some of Chef Avin’s tips, and we hope they help you with your baking pursuits. Watch this space for more such tips and tricks, so that your baking process wields gorgeous results.



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