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10 Things you never knew about frosting... or is it icing?

Justina Huddleston is an editor and the head writer for TDmonthly Magazine. She has been a freelance writer for several years, though her real passion is cooking. You can see the recipes she creates on her vegan food blog, A Life of Litt...

Everything you've ever wanted to know about frosting, icing or whatever you call it

Were you the type of kid who always wanted extra frosting on your birthday cake? Or did you prefer sugar cookies loaded with icing?

These two sweet spreads give a sugary pop to any baked good they grace, and it's no wonder why kids and adults of all ages go crazy over the stuff. But there are some things about these culinary confections you may not know.

1. Icing was invented in 1494

It was originally used as a topping for marchpanes, an almond and sugar dessert.

2. Vinegar keeps icing flowing

Add 1/3 teaspoon of vinegar to boiled icing to keep it from hardening.

3. Icing and frosting are two different things

Icing is a thick, sugary glaze that is spread over baked goods and then hardens when cooling. Frosting is a thick, fluffy spread with a cream or butter base.

4. It's a regional thing

People in the northern half of the country tend to call everything frosting, while most of the rest of the country uses frosting and icing interchangeably or says that the two are different.

5. You can make frosting with a potato

Out of butter? Mash a small boiled potato, and then mix with powdered sugar and vanilla.

6. Add salt or lemon juice to whipped cream frosting

Adding a small amount of either can help the cream whip up more easily.

7. White frosting used to signify wealth

The traditional white wedding cake was invented in 1840. The whiteness of the frosting signified one's wealth, as refined sugar was an expensive luxury in those days.

8. Frosted cupcakes are a recent invention

The first frosted cupcakes appeared in the 1950s. Buttercream frosting was invented around the same time.

9. You can use cornstarch to control icing

Tired of icing running over the edge of your cake? Sprinkle the cake with a light dusting of cornstarch or flour before the icing to keep its flow in check.

10. Butter keeps it smooth

If you're making chocolate icing, then add 1 teaspoon of butter when you melt the chocolate. This will keep the icing nice and smooth.

You can learn even more about icing in this infographic by Sanjay Agnihotri for BiteBar.

More frosting and icing

German chocolate cake frosting truffles
Simple chocolate frosting
Lavender cupcakes with Earl Grey icing

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