Tasty Upgrades To Make Store-Bought Frosting Better

Go from basic to next level.

Sometimes the shortest path between making cake and eating cake is opening a can of ready-made frosting. Canned frosting is quick and easy, but most can benefit from additions that bring them closer to homemade. Whether you've spent an afternoon making your favorite layer cake from scratch or you took a boxed cake mix up a level, have fun thinking of unique flavors and additions. From adding simple flavor boosters or dreamy mix-ins to getting the consistency just right, here are a few tricks to make canned frosting taste better than ever.

Whipped Frosting on Mixer
Tetra Images/Getty Images

What You Should Always Do

Your frosting is only going to be as good as the quality you buy, so start with any brand and flavor that you like. Always begin by scraping the frosting into a mixing bowl and stirring vigorously or mixing with a mixer until smooth and creamy. This simple step of incorporating air into a can of dense store-bought frosting will make it fluffy and enhance the flavor. It may be all you need to do. Add in the mix-ins a little at a time (you can always add more) and taste as you go.

How to Get the Right Consistency

Any additions might change the frosting's consistency. To thicken the doctored frosting, beat in sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. If the doctored frosting is too thick or stiff to spread, start by beating with a mixer on high speed to incorporate air, and if that isn't sufficient, beat in milk, cream, coffee, or even flavored coffee creamer 1 tablespoon at a time. If a spatula can stand upright in the frosting without falling to the side of the bowl, it's probably a good consistency for spreading.

Microwaving canned frosting to turn it into a pourable glaze is a clever technique, but less successful with doctored frosting because the additions don't necessarily melt in the same amount of time or in the same way.

Each of these additions is for one tub of frosting.

Smooth Additions

These additions add flavor and creaminess to your favorite brand of frosting. The best part? No one will know it's not homemade.

Cream cheese. Beat in 8 ounces of room temperature plain or flavored cream cheese. This adds richness while cutting some of the sweetness of store-bought frosting.

Whipped cream. Mix equal parts freshly whipped cream and frosting. You can substitute thawed whipped topping, but don't try this trick with canned whipped cream that will quickly deflate and turn into liquid. Unsweetened whipped cream can tone down overly sweet frosting.

Butter. This makes a buttercream more buttery. Beat in 2 tablespoons room temperature butter, or more to taste. Add a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter.

Peanut butter or other nut butter. Beat in 1/2 cup, or more to taste.

Nutella. Beat in 1/2 cup, or more to taste.

Cookie butter. Beat in 1/2 cup, or more to taste.

Jam, preserves, or marmalade. Beat in 1/2 cup, or more to taste.

Lemon curd. Beat in 1/2 cup, or more to taste.

Marshmallow crème. Beat in 1/2 cup, or more to taste.

Mix-Ins for Texture

These tasty mix-ins might make the frosting too thick and chunky to spread without tearing or ripping the cake, so beat the frosting with a mixer until light and fluffy, and then fold in the additions with a spatula.

Chopped nuts. Stir in 1/2 to 1 cup.

Chocolate chips or other flavored baking chips. Stir in 1/2 to 1 cup.

Toffee bits. Stir in 1/2 to 1 cup.

Sweetened flaked coconut. Stir in 1/2 to 1 cup.

Sprinkles. Stir in 1/4 cup.

Quick and Easy Flavor Boosts

Just a little of these flavorings goes a long way. Start with a small amount, such as those listed, and add more to taste.

Extract. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract works with any flavor and will turn up the volume on any other addition. Other options include lemon, almond, orange, peppermint, or any extract that goes with the frosting or the cake.

Flavored coffee syrups. 2 tablespoons, or more to taste.

Bourbon, Kahlua, Chambord, Grand Marnier, or other liqueur. 2 tablespoons, or more to taste.

Strong coffee or espresso. 1/4 cup, or more to taste. Add this to chocolate frosting for a real flavor boost.

Dry Jell-O powder. 2 teaspoons, or more to taste. This is also a good way to tint white frosting.

Salt. Just a pinch of salt balances the sweetness of canned frosting and gives it some depth, helping to give it that just-made taste.

How to Pipe with Store-Bought Frosting

Empty a can of frosting into a bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar with a mixer, adding more sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Add a pinch of salt to balance the sweetness of the added sugar and any flavorings.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles