It’s a universal law that a lovely loaf or bundt cake must be topped with a simple icing drizzle. Although simplicity doesn’t have to mean flavourless, most powdered sugar icings are, sadly, completely flat. Don’t let this be your cake’s fate. Treat your icing as a flavour opportunity, and don’t squander it with water or milk. Instead, finesse any other tasty beverage in your fridge into a cake icing.
At its simplest, a quick icing drizzle is composed of powdered sugar that is dissolved into a smaller amount of water or milk, until the desired consistency is achieved. This combo doesn’t really do your cake any favours; those are arguably the most flavourless liquids a person can find. Besides sweetness (and I’m guessing your cake already has that), the flavour of powdered sugar alone can be overwhelmingly chalky. You can add extract for a boost, but don’t miss the wider range of flavours at your disposal in the fridge. Simply substitute the water measurement with equal parts of any juice or beverage that presents a complementary flavour to that of your cake.
Transform an almond cake with cranberry juice icing. Add complexity to a chocolate cake with your red eye cold brew. Take a vanilla bundt cake and make it fabulous with grapefruit juice. Boost the flavour of a cinnamon loaf with an apple cider icing, Guinness, or finally finish off that boozy coquito. Although it depends on the consistency you’re looking for, most recipes use two cups of powdered sugar mixed with two to five tablespoons of liquid. I start on the low end and add one splash at a time to thin the icing according to my cake needs. Once the mixture has been stirred smooth, pour it over the cake. After 10 to 20 minutes the icing will harden slightly, but there’s no need to wait, you can dig in immediately.
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