Which Word Wednesday: Frosting vs. Icing

By June 19, 2013 language One Comment

7-icing-vs.-frosting,-400cakespyYears ago, I decided that when each of my nieces turned 16, I would treat them to a day of fun. Niece Julia was first; we ventured to Chicago to see Phantom of the Opera—it was completely magical.

Now it’s niece Isabelle’s turn. And today’s the day. We’re taking the train to Chicago for a day of adventure. But there’s no Broadway show on tap. No, siree. We’ve got something else in mind. Specifically: cupcakes. Say it with me, people: Cupcakes. Cup.Cakes.

We’re on the hunt for the most delicious tiny cakes Chicago has to offer via our very own Cupcake Crawl.

Perhaps you’ve never heard of such a thing? Let me explain. The premise is simple: We will traipse about from one bakery to another to sample lots of baked deliciousness.

Now, I’ll be sure to post a Cupcake Crawl summary later in the week, but today is Which Word Wednesday. We need to know what’s on top of those tiny cakes—is it frosting or is it icing? Entries in the New Oxford American Dictionary says the terms are interchangeable, but I remembered once reading there was a difference in components and preparation. I turned to the InterWebs for second opinion and landed at Cakespy.com. Here’s her verdict for the toppings:

Icing: Thicker than a glaze but not always opaque. Can be made with a sugar base or may also include egg whites, butter or cream. The term “icing” is often used interchangeably with “frosting.” Coffee cakes and cookies are often “iced” rather than “frosted.”

Frosting: The thickest of the lot, opaque and fluffy; think buttercream frosting on a birthday cake.

From this entry at CakeSpy.com, I’d say that cupcakes are frosted, not iced.

What’s my WWW verdict? Call a cupcake’s topping whatever you like. I’ll eat it either way.

What’s your verdict? Do you make a distinction between frosting and icing? Have you ever embarked on a Cupcake Crawl? Do share in the comments.


Check out previous Which Word Wednesday verdicts here.
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