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6 Ways to Flavor Buttercream

6 Ways to Flavor Buttercream

The icing on the cake, improved.

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For many of us, the best part of cake is its frosting. But so often we neglect it in terms of creativity; we default to chocolate and vanilla over and over again, forgetting that frosting is the perfect opportunity to enrich the cake’s flavor profile. It’s time to add a bit of intrigue to the icing on your cake. Here are six ways to do it:


One of the simplest ways to put a twist on buttercream is with citrus. Orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit zest taste great with a variety of cakes, especially those with fruit, chocolate, and warm spices. Add up to a few tablespoons of zest according to your preference.


Extracts are an incredibly easy way to infuse a lot of flavor to any baked good. For frosting, vanilla, peppermint, and almond are most versatile in terms of pairings. Start with a 1/2 teaspoon and add more gradually until you’re happy with the taste.


We add spices to our baked goods all the time—but for your next cake, add a teaspoon or two to the frosting, as well. Warm ground spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, and clove are a natural fit, as are instant espresso and cocoa powder. For the more adventurous among you, try a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper.


The most efficient way to infuse fruit flavor into your buttercream is to add a few tablespoons of your favorite jam to the mix. Beat until well blended, and the buttercream will not only taste wonderful, it will also turn color.


Some of the best cakes are those that put sweet and savory flavors side by side. A finely chopped tablespoon of an herb like thyme, basil, or rosemary will add an air of sophistication to any vanilla or fruit-filled cake.


Give your cake a kick by infusing a little alcohol in the buttercream. Beat a tablespoon or two of coffee-flavored liqueur, rum, bourbon, or peppermint schnapps into the frosting for a festive and memorable dessert.

Published on August 11, 2016

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