The Great Non-Buttercream Frosting Taste Test

We’ve already covered buttercream, the most expansive category of frostings. I really enjoyed that taste test and liked all the varieties of buttercream, though not equally. Though that’s not the case for today’s roundup of non-buttercream frosting, I have a few favorites in here as well.


I never did make my own fondant (also known as sugar paste) because I already know my family hates it. It makes a smooth, beautiful finish for cakes, but that’s all it’s good for. I understand the need for a professional-looking cake, but I’ll always peel the fondant off before eating the goodness inside. If you ever want to make some, marshmallow fondant isn’t as gross.


If I had to pick only one frosting to eat for the rest of my life, it would be ganache. This simple mix of chocolate and cream is one of the most dreamy things I’ve ever eaten. It also happens to be the topping for my favorite cake ever! (Recipe here.)

flourless chocolate cake
flourless chocolate cake with ganache


Glaze is easy to use since you don’t have to wait for your baked (or fried) goods to cool off before applying it. It’s also very easy to make, as in this recipe. Though not fluffy or intensely flavored like other frostings, it’s a comforting addition that takes donuts, quick breads, and other baked goods to the next level.

Royal Icing

Royal icing gets another thumbs down from me. Like fondant, it’s beautiful, but it isn’t exciting to eat. My family also doesn’t care for sugar cookies, so it’s unlikely that I’ll ever make it. Here’s a well-rated recipe if you want to make your own.

Seven-Minute Frosting

I think this frosting has a funny name, but it’s somewhat accurate. The process is just like making a Swiss meringue buttercream but without the butter. The resulting frosting looks and tastes a lot like marshmallow creme. It’s not my favorite ever, but it’s fun to make. Here’s the recipe I used.

Whipped Cream

I didn’t know that whipped cream counted as a frosting, but it makes sense. To make it, I use 1 c. of heavy cream, 1/4 c. powdered sugar, and 1 t. vanilla. My KitchenAid does the rest! We most often eat it on waffles. If I need the whipped cream to last more than a day, I make a stabilized version with plain gelatin.


Cake without frosting just isn’t the same. I encourage you to try making homemade (buttercream or non-buttercream frosting), even if the cake comes from a box. You’ll be glad you did when you take your first bite.

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