Key Difference – Buttercream vs Royal Icing
Buttercream and royal icing are two types of icings that are commonly used for decorating cakes. The key difference between buttercream and royal icing lies in their texture and consistency: buttercream is smooth and soft whereas royal icing is firm and hard. The difference in consistency also affects their functions.
What is Buttercream Icing?
Buttercream is a type of icing made using powdered sugar (icing sugar), butter/shortening, and milk/cream. Colorings and flavorings such as chocolate are also often added to this frosting. This can be used for icing, filling inside the cakes, coating, and other decorations. Buttercream is a commonly used topping for cupcakes, cookies, sponge cakes, and other sweets. Buttercream has a sweet, creamy and buttery taste. It also has a soft and smooth texture and consistency that is ideal for covering cakes. It is also used as the main glue between a layer of fondant icing and cake.
It is also important to note that buttercream has a short shelf life since it is made from dairy. Once it is applied to a cake, it can remain in the room temperature environment for about two or three days. Unused buttercream can be kept for about two weeks if it is stored in an airtight container and placed in the refrigerator.
What is Royal Icing?
Royal icing is a hard icing that is made using confectioner’s sugar and softly beaten egg whites. Other ingredients such as lemon, lime, and cream of tartar can also be added. This icing, which is white in color, starts out soft but hardens over time. Some cake makers and decorators add glycerin to prevent royal icing from getting too hard.
Royal icing is used to decorate wedding cakes, Christmas cakes, and many other cakes. Since this icing has a firm and dried texture, decorations can be made in advance. It can be also used to make intricate designs and piping. Royal icing is mostly used as a decorating element rather than a tasty covering, but different flavors can be added to the icing to make it more flavorful. In addition, it cannot be used to cover a large surface since it tends to crack. It should be gently and carefully coated (applied in coats) on a cake. Royal icing that is used to cover a cake is usually thinned with water.
What is the difference between Buttercream and Royal Icing?
Buttercream: Buttercream is made using icing sugar, butter/shortening, and milk/cream.
Royal Icing: Royal icing is made from confectioner’s sugar and softly beaten egg whites.
Buttercream: Buttercream has a buttery and creamy taste.
Royal Icing: Royal icing is very sweet since it contains a large amount of icing sugar.
Buttercream: Buttercream can be used as a filling, coating, and icing and can be used for other decorations.
Royal Icing: Royal icing is ideal for piping intricate designs, making flowers, creating letters, etc.
Buttercream: Buttercream has a soft and smooth consistency.
Royal Icing: Royal icing has a firm and hard texture.
Buttercream: Buttercream has a short shelf life.
Royal Icing: Decorations made from royal icing can be kept for a long time.