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Discussion Forum

Topic: Melting Icing
renamcb 09/01/2008 12:17 AM
Hi everyone! I would like to know how I can keep my icing from melting. I thought I had it figured out, but nope. My husband's aunt told me to make sure that I didn't melt my butter when making the butter cream frosting. So, on the last cake I made, I didn't even try to make my own. I wanted the icing to not melt, so I went ahead and bought it (although I like the taste of the butter cream icing, much better). I thought that would fix my problem.

I wanted to make a Hello Kitty birthday cake for my daughter. This is what I did: I baked the cake following package directions. Then I put it in the freezer over night so I could avoid the cake crumbs getting into my icing. That part worked out great. Then I put my foundation color icing (the kind in the tub with food color added to it) on the cake and stuck it back in the freezer for a few hours. I was using the "stencil" method that I found online (where you print out a picture and use tooth picks to poke holes in it, then shake cocoa over it to make a dotted outline on the cake), so I had to put Hello Kitty on the cake in layers. I did the whole kitty body in white and then put it back in the freezer for another few hours. After that had hardened, I pulled it back out to add her dress and whiskers, and eyes, and mouth. Then I put it in the freezer until the night before the party. At this point, this was the best cake I have ever done. It looked so good! I think it stayed in there from Thursday night until Saturday morning. And I put it in the fridge to keep it from beading up with sweat. My daughter's party was Sunday afternoon at 3, at a place that was 30 minutes away from home. So, by the time we got there, all the piping was sliding down the sides, and there were dark colored spots all over the back ground color. Even the yellow jelly bean I was using for her nose was melting!

Can somebody help me figure this out? What am I doing wrong? Obviously it is something that I am doing since I had melted icing on cakes I made with homemade butter cream icing, and on cakes that I used bought icing on them. HELP!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!

What can I do to avoid the melting icing in the future????

mmleczynski 09/01/2008 6:01 PM

I haven't had a problem with melting icing. However, I don't use any butter in my buttercream icing...only shortening and then always one that has transfat in it. (Usually the cheapest store brand.) Also, when I'm doing multiple colors I add meringue powder to my icing. It sets up nicely within a few minutes and then I can go onto the next step. If you don't use butter and you aren't using any kind of filling that will spoil, you shouldn't have to refrigerate at all. The only other reasons I can think of for the icing sliding is the heat or the fact that you have frozen and then refrigerated your cake. In your 30 minute travel time, the cake warmed up enough to create condensation and the icing started sliding. Is it extremely hot where you are located? Hope this helps some.

SeriousCakes 09/02/2008 8:21 AM
Don't put your cake in the fridge, when you take it out and it starts coming to room temp condensation forms and causes the frosting to melt.
renamcb 09/02/2008 8:21 AM
Michele, thanks for responding. Do you add the meringue powder to the store bought tubs of icing, too? That is what I used on my very last cake. And if so, how much do you add? I'm really confused about the meringue powder. I don't know how or why to use it. Would it help the icing to harden faster so that I can lay the paper with the next stage of decorating on top of it without freezing the cake? The web site where I found the "stencil method" is the one that said to freeze between stages so that the icing would harden enough to not stick to the paper for the next stage.

We live in Alabama. And I did that cake for her birthday party on May 17th. Our temperatures in May were around 75 or so as the high. I would have expected the cake to sweat if it had been mid summer, but it wasn't. And seeing as how our current highs are mid to upper 80's on into the 90's, I'd like to get it worked out soon. My son's birthday party is on the 20th and I will be making his cake, too. Would you mind sharing your recipe for icing? Then maybe I can figure it out from there.


mmumsie 09/02/2008 8:21 AM
Decrease the amount of liquid in your icing. Plus, don't freeze your decorated cake. The moisture from the freezing is making you icing wet. Everything it thaws the moisture has to 'sweat' through your icing. I don't like to refrigerate unless the filling requires it. Are you using real butter or margarine? Margarine has a lot more water in it that butter.

Also, make sure to use paste coloring and not liquid. I too use Crisco shortening and just butter flavoring. I try not to add meringue powder to the icing (adds a funny taste) unless absolutely necessary. (Depending on the humidity, weather, and location of the party.)

I was going to post my recipe that I use, but my website is down for maintenance. Contact me at and I'll send it to you. GL(good luck)