How to Keep Frosting Moist

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Whether you’re creating a towering wedding cake or a delicious weeknight treat, the frosting takes the cake. Making frosting can be tedious work and, after all that work, having a batch of freshly made frosting dry out or start to crack can be devastating -- regardless of how tasty it was to begin with. There are ways to prevent your frosting from drying out, and it starts from the moment you create your frosting.

Things You'll Need

  • Frosting recipe
  • Powdered sugar
  • Shortening
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Light corn syrup
  • Chocolate
  • Damp towel
  • Plastic wrap, container or freezer bag

Mixing

  • Use proper ratios for fat to powdered sugar in your frosting recipe. A good recipe will have 1 cup of shortening to 1 cup of powdered sugar and there will never be more butter than shortening in the recipe. This is because butter allows the buttercream to crust over once it sits at room temperature, which might leave it dry and cracked.

  • Use whipping cream instead of milk in your buttercream recipe. Whipping cream has a higher fat content, which will keep your frosting moist long after it’s smoothed onto a cake, and it will give your frosting a richer, creamier flavor.

  • Add a few tablespoons of light corn syrup to the buttercream. The addition of corn syrup creates a smoother texture and prevents the frosting from drying out and cracking.

  • Follow the recipe measurements and don’t substitute ingredients. Use the proper liquid and dry cups while measuring out ingredients. Don’t add in more powdered sugar to stiffen your frosting -- this can make your frosting dry out faster and crack on top of a cake or cupcake.

  • Use real, melted chocolate in chocolate frosting recipes instead of cocoa powder. Cocoa powder adds to the dry ingredients and can alter the ratio between wet and dry, resulting in a dried-out frosting.

Using

  • Use your frosting right away on a cool, carved cake. Avoid thin layers of frosting on cakes and cupcakes, because this allows the frosting to dry faster and crack.

  • Place a clean, damp towel over your bowl of frosting while you are working with it. Don’t leave your frosting uncovered -- this can cause it to harden and dry.

  • Store unused frosting in an airtight container or freezer bag in the refrigerator when you’re not using it and store for up to 10 days. Return the frosting to room temperature and whip it using a mixer before using. Add a tablespoon of corn syrup or milk to help get it back to a creamy consistency and soften the frosting after storage.

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References

  • On Baking: A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals; Sarah R. Labensky
  • The Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible: Over 150 Techniques and 80 Stunning Projects; Lindy Smith
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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