The Icing on the Cake

Literally. /ChrisTreagar

This is so not baby related. Let’s explore more about me and less about Little A.

I am a cake and frosting snob. Everyone who knows me knows it. I am the first to admit it. I will not hesitate to look down on you based on your cake preferences. I bake from scratch and I love to brag about it. I’m pretty awesome.

In my world, cake is just (usually, but there are a few exceptions) a vessel for frosting. There is nothing better to celebrate with or satisfy a sweet tooth with than a mound of delicious, sugary frosting. As long as it isn’t red. Not saying I don’t love the cake part but generally cake is nothing without frosting. I actually have little issue with box cake mixes, either, even though I am a from scratch snob. I’ve been known to keep some in the pantry for emergency use. And sometimes, boxed mix is the only option. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, HARD TO FIND CHERRY CHIP.

But back to frosting. Not all frostings are created equal. I present to you…


1. The elusive “Wedding Cake Frosting”. This hard to find gem beats out my mother’s buttercream by only a sprinkle of sugar. I don’t know if this is a midwest term or my mom’s term or a St. Paul, MN term or what, but “wedding cake frosting” is how I’ve come to know it. It’s that super sugary, borderline fine grit, deliciously decadent bakery frosting. The only points of reference I have to this specific type of icing will only be recognized by Minnesotans – think the old McGlynn’s frosting (remember them?! AMAZING) or PJ Murphy’s bakery on Randolph. I would pay big money for a bucket of that stuff to be delivered to my door. It’s unrecreatable. I don’t even know how to describe it. But you want it.

Hold on. Let me wipe up that puddle of drool. OK. Let’s move forward.

2. The easy to recreate “My Mom’s Buttercream”. This shit is so simple to make it drives me BANANAS when people say they can’t make frosting from scratch. For cripes sake, people. Butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla. Blend. DONE. Need chocolate? ADD COCOA POWDER. My mom would make us the best cakes for our birthday parties – the ones baked in character pan and decorated with 34,761 stars of frosting. Not to mention delicious. Even if she used a box for the cake, the frosting made it epic. I don’t know how she had the patience to decorate those things. But man, her frosting is good. And now my frosting is good because I stole her secrets.

3. Safeway. They have the best (in this area, at least) grocery store frosting. It’s the closest to Wedding Cake frosting I can get my hands on, yet still miles away. Costco isn’t too far behind but, considering I never need 48 cupcakes to satisfy my bakery frosting need, I don’t seek it out. I won’t say no if those giant triple size cupcakes show up at an event, however.

4. Swiss Buttercream. Delicious, meringue-y, fluffy, but like all things Martha Stewart, takes 18 ingredients you don’t have plus eggs and an hour of unnecessary time. I’ll make it for a few recipes (Lemon Meringue Cupcakes, looking at you), but I don’t necessarily crave it.

5. Whipped Cream frosting. Peak disappointment when you see a cake or cupcake with mounds of fluffy frosting and your mouth starts watering and you take a bite and it’s GODDAMN WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING. That shit tastes like old dairy and air and failure. The texture is squishy and the whole idea of it makes me want to cry. But some people prefer it. And I judge those people.

6. But there is something worse. Likely, I can usually spot it on a cake before I take a bite. So I won’t have cake. CANNED FROSTING. Oh lord help us. That stuff is Crisco and fake flavor and hatred of the world. If you can open a can of %&@$%! frosting, take an extra five minutes and make buttercream from scratch. And no, Sandra Lee, adding a teaspoon of extract does NOT $#!^@$ remove the “packaged taste”.

Two weeks ago, that would have concluded my list. But there is a recent addition to the frosting world that seriously grinds my gears. I just don’t even know if I want to be in a world that lets things like this happen.

7. DUNCAN HINES FROSTING CREATIONS. Buy a can of frosting. Buy a FLAVORING PACKET. Mix. INSTANT FROSTING. What. the. motherloving. shit. is. this. If you’re going to take the time to incorporate a flavoring packet, SHITHEAD JUST MAKE REAL FROSTING. There are recipes out there for any type of frosting under the sun that take few extra ingredients, would contain less preservatives, additives and gasoline, and would taste twenty times better. I BET SANDRA LEE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THIS.

“Duncan Hines unveils Frosting Creations, a ground-breaking proprietary frosting system that transforms desserts into flavorful and colorful works of art.”

Apparently it contains LSD.

Ground-breaking? And proprietary!? WTF. Maybe it’s because…my place of business…tends to severely overuse the word proprietary, but seeing it in a sentence about frosting had me doubled over in giggles, sarcasm and nausea.


I am trying to look at the website to see what atrocious flavors are available…and the webpage is down. THE WORLD IS TELLING YOU SOMETHING, DUNCAN HINES. Keep that shit to yourselves. I will tell you that I spotted a “Cotton Candy” flavoring packet in the TV ad. Which made me want to vomit. I don’t even understand how these are so magically different than the pre-fabricated canned frostings on the shelves.

“On Sunday, April 1 a coupon for Duncan Hines Frosting Creations™ also will be available in many local circulars and newspapers.” (from Yahoo  Finance. Seriously.)

I hope this whole thing is a #$^@#%$ April Fools joke.

I just. I don’t even know anymore. Between mashed up cake reformed into balls and this shit I just don’t know. People scare me. I wonder if they have taste buds. It makes me sad. THINK OF THE CHILDREN WHO DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER. Like someone I know, whom I had to ween off of canned strawberry frosting and Funfetti cake.

Someone in Minnesota see if PJ Murphy’s will overnight some frosting to me. Or, you know, just have them send me a cake. And some donuts. They make amazing donuts.

20 thoughts on “The Icing on the Cake

  1. My Pancreas is Aching from even reading about that much sugar. I am a frosting JUNKIE. I agree, wedding cake IS THE BEST unless for some bizzare reason the frosting is terrible! Have you ever had those “petite fours”, like the good kind, for bridal and baby showers? I LOVE THAT FREAKING ICING. Also amazing, the icing that comes on top of Sprinkles Cupcakes. I just wish there were 20x more of it!
    And whipped icing.. OH WHIPPED ICING THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE! I am enraged when I experience it. I want to smash the cake against the wall.
    Now I feel like baking a cake tonight. Fantastic.
    Have you ever found a way to make… wedding cake frosting?

  2. I hate frosting. Loathe it. I make awesome frosting and you know what? I hate my own frosting. I am sad to admit this. I know that it is gross. I prefer the whipped cream crap and canned crap. I know that it is crap. I still love it all the same.

    If I am making a cake for my own consumption, I use a bundt pan and do the drizzle. I like the drizzle. Frosting just crosses a line and I just cannot do it.

    • bowmansinbavaria says:

      My husband’s cousins made cake balls for Christmas this year, instead of the usual cookies for our cookie exchange (who does that?? cake balls instead of cookies??). I had never had them before. I took one bite and… yeah. Icky. Never again!

  3. bowmansinbavaria says:

    Oh man, I love Swiss Buttercream, but yeah, it’s definitely a pain in the ass to make. But well worth it for special occasions. Yum.

    I don’t know if you have a Wegmans near you, but their buttercream frosting on their cakes is excellent. I don’t think it probably is the same thing as the wedding cake frosting, but if you ever have a chance to sample a Wegmans cake with buttercream frosting, I think it will pass muster.

  4. Uggg… totally craving cake now. I’m not actually a huge frosting person – I love good old moist cake (box or from scratch is fine with me). Frosting is good with it when proportioned correctly but I’ve been known to save a few cupcakes unfrosted for good measure.
    But yes I agree- home made buttercream – too easy to make. Also home made creamcheese frosting – the containers have a chemical taste and it’s SO easy to make home made!

  5. I may have the recipe for wedding cake frosting. It will take some digging. My husband’s grandma owned a renowned Illinois Sweet Shoppe that specialized in wedding cakes and apparently the icing was to die for. Unfortunately for me, she died 6 months before We met. I will ask my MIL what the recipe was. My step-mom makes some pretty fabulous icing too. Sugary, light and delicious, it is seriously sugar-coated crack. And I am not a big sweet fan! I will see what her recipe entails too.

  6. bowmansinbavaria says:

    Ooooh, lucky you! I miss Wegmans. I’ll be curious to know what you think.

    For my birthday, all I want from my sister in upstate NY is to send me a few things from Wegmans, like their bulk Darjeeling tea. It’s excellent and less expensive than through somewhere like Teavana. Funny the things you get attached to!

  7. Weaver says:

    You are gonna hate me for saying this…but I could totally rip open a jar of Funfetti frosting right now and take a big spoonful!!! And now you are sending me hateful thoughts involving red velvet cakeballs….or worse……….

  8. I had the same reaction to the Duncan Hines frosting-tastrophe. If you are going to buy frosting in a CAN why do you want to do extra work? The whole point is it’s already made for you! (albeit poorly…)

    I used to have your snobbery about cake/icing but now I can’t eat gluten or dairy (yes, feel bad for me). There is only one cake/icing mix I think is good and I have tried them all. Gluten free baking from scratch is too much work and frequently has unsatisfying results.

  9. This is so strikingly similar to my personal frosting rants, right down to “as long as it isn’t red”, my jaw dropped a little. Fucking Seriously people: if you can take the time and follow the directions on the box of cake mix, you can certainly handle making your own frosting. I don’t even use a recipe.
    People: the basic butter cream can easily be altered (ie more sugar or milk, etc) into an array of frostings/icings to suit ones baking needs.

  10. Therese says:

    Grew up on McGlynn bakery and LOVED the frosting. Found this post while once again trying to Google the recipe. Only looking today because the frosting was so freakin’ good that I dreamt about it last night. I’ll have to try the bakery on Randolph.

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