Top 5 Frostings For Layer Cakes

A layer cake is the centerpiece of many celebrations. Whether you choose to dress it up with fresh flowers or lots of intricate piping, a layer cake is easy to style for any occasion.


Inclusions—such as chopped nuts, sliced fruit, or even candy—can affect the structural integrity of a cake, so they are best added after frosting! Also, keep in mind that not all ovens bake evenly.

Buttercream Frosting

Buttercream frosting is a classic choice for cakes, cupcakes and other desserts. It is easy to make and works well on all types of cakes. It can be made with a variety of ingredients and flavors for unique cake designs.

Buttercream is a combination of powdered sugar, fat and flavoring. The fat in the frosting helps to emulsify the sugar and create a smooth, creamy texture. Buttercream can be used on a single layer or on a multi-tiered cake. It is a popular choice for wedding cakes, birthday cakes and other special occasions.

A few key points to remember when making buttercream frosting are to use room-temperature butter (so it can easily mix with the other ingredients) and sift your powdered sugar before using. Sifting helps remove lumps and makes the frosting lighter. It is also important to add the sugar and cream slowly to the butter, scraping and mixing with a spatula in between additions.

Lastly, adding a pinch of salt can help balance the sweetness of the frosting and give it a more complete and rich flavor. Using the right technique, a good quality mixer and the right ingredients will result in the perfect buttercream. It is the best way to frost a homemade cake or to top a store-bought boxed mix. Buttercream can be stored at room temperature for up to three days or refrigerated for up to a week.

Chocolate Frosting

This rich, fudgy chocolate frosting is the perfect accompaniment to any cake, cookie or cupcake. It’s easy to make and requires only a handful of ingredients. It’s not too sweet thanks to a hint of sour cream that balances out the sweetness of the sugar and cocoa powder. It’s also super easy to whip up – no softened butter needed!

Start by beating your butter on high speed until it’s fluffy and creamy. Then, beat in the sifted powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. After all the ingredients are combined, beat in the melted dark chocolate until smooth and creamy. Finally, add the milk and beat until light and fluffy. You may need to pause and scrape the sides of the bowl from time to time, as the frosting can get thick and clumpy if you’re not careful.

If you prefer a thinner frosting, just add more milk. If you’re piping the frosting, I recommend using a large piping tip for crisp swoops and details.

This frosting is best used right away, before the chocolate starts to harden or clump up. It can be spread with a clean spoon or an offset spatula or piped onto cakes and cookies. This recipe is for a chocolate layer cake, but it would be good on just about any type of cake.

Lemon Frosting

Lemon frosting is a perfect complement to any light or fresh cake flavor. It can be piped into cupcakes or used to frost a layer cake. It also works well as a filling for tarts or as a spread on cookies. You can even sandwich it between blondies or whoopie pies.

This recipe uses fresh lemon juice and zest to give it an authentic, not overly sweet citrus flavor. It also uses a lower amount of powdered sugar to prevent it from curdling. This makes it a great choice for high altitude bakers who might otherwise run into trouble with overly sweet buttercreams.

In a large bowl, beat the softened butter until it becomes light and creamy. Slowly add the sifted powdered sugar, beating at a low speed to avoid creating a cloud of flour in your kitchen. If the frosting begins to curdle or split, simply beat in more powdered sugar until it becomes smooth again.

Add the lemon extract, juice and zest and beat again until incorporated. Then beat again for another 2-3 minutes, until the icing has reached a light, fluffy whipped cream consistency. If desired, add a drop or two of yellow food coloring to the frosting to achieve a soft, pale yellow color. The frosting will keep in an airtight container for a few days on the counter, but it’s best to store it in the refrigerator if you want it to last longer.

Peppermint Frosting

This ultra creamy peppermint frosting adds a festive touch to your favorite desserts. It’s perfect for topping cake, cupcakes or cookies.

For the best results, the butter should be at room temperature. If it’s too cold, the frosting won’t be light and fluffy.

Start by beating the butter until it’s nice and smooth with no large clumps left. Then, slowly add powdered sugar and mix again. Adding the sugar slowly prevents it from flying out of the bowl and also gives you an even consistency.

Next, stir in the peppermint and milk. Taste and adjust if needed, adding more peppermint or more milk if necessary. If the frosting is too thick, add some milk a teaspoon at a time. The goal is to get the frosting to be creamy and pipeable, not runny like soup!

If you want to decorate a cake with this frosting, I recommend using a decorator bag and a round tip. You can add some coloring to the frosting, or just swirl it onto your cake. If you’re not planning to use the entire batch of frosting right away, cover it tightly and keep in the refrigerator. The frosting will last a few days in the fridge, but it’s best if used within one day. If you have leftovers, let the frosting come to room temperature and then whip it again with a hand mixer before using.