Mar 30


Frostalicious Birthday Party Frosting

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Sweet, delicious, sugary frosting.

You know, the kind you had at other children’s birthday parties – or maybe it was your party (lucky you). My mom usually made a bundt cake with powdered sugar or drizzled chocolate on top for us, which I also loved (you can see how I’m eyeing up my brother’s birthday cake here… it wasn’t going to last long), but I did love that sweet frosting too.

And neither will the icing recipe I’m about to share with you. It’s the the kind of icing you just may have eaten all by itself if you could have. The kind where the cake was just an afterthought.


It’s really actually a frosting, as it’s that ‘really-not-very-healthy-for-you-in-any-way’ kind of icing. Instead of butter, it contains shortening & margarine, but in my humble opinion, as an ‘adult’, secretly think it tastes like sweet heaven. I do have to say, I think butter is always better, and there’s nothing like a decadent or even light Swiss Meringue Buttercream or Italian Buttercream, but sometimes, I’m just in the mood for some nostalgic, sugary, birthday party frosting.

It may seem ironic that I chat about health on a blog named Sweetopia, but oddly enough, it’s a topic that’s on my mind a lot. Even though I don’t always manage it (sometimes I can’t say no even after my second {or third – eep} cookie, for example), I try to limit the amount of sweets I eat per day. As I mentioned, it doesn’t always work and some days are better than others, but for the most part I try to live by the ‘everything in moderation’ guideline. So I do have to mention that I don’t think shortening or margarine are the best things to be eating; however, if eaten in small amounts and not on a regular basis, a little bit is okay. (That’s just me though). If you prefer not to share those products with your children, clients, friends, family, etc., you can find other options in my recipe section here or other delicious choices on Melissa’s site, Best friends for Frosting, where she’s rounded up icing recipes from around the net.

I’ve noticed that icing preference seems to fall into two camps – Buttercream as the ‘grown up’ icing and frosting for the kids. Most of the teenagers I teach still prefer the frosting too. Me, well, it depends on my mood. Sometimes a nice light buttercream or a rich chocolatey one, and sometimes, the old frosting favorite.

Frosting Recipe

{Click here to print the recipe}

Making a Cupcake Swirl

And if you’d like a basic guide on how to frost a cupcake with the classic swirl, click here to find my {video} guest post on Food Bloggers of Canada. Ethan of Tastes Better with Friends, who has co-founded FBC alongside Mardi of eat. live. travel. write. and Melissa of Eyes Bigger Than My Stomach, asked me to create a simple how-to video on frosting a cupcake, and you’ll be able to find a host of other great food-related articles there to keep you busy for quite a while!

So, what kind of icing do you like? Does it depend on what you’re making? And since I’ve shared my cupcake swirl video, do you have a favorite piping tip to decorate your cupcakes?

Happy decorating!



p.s. Here’s a sneak peek of the next post, my submission for a spring cookie collaboration of sorts. Can you guess what this is supposed to be?

p.s.s. If you’d like to never miss a post, and/or receive more tips on cookie decorating, click on this button below to sign up:


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  1. Emma
    February 4, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    If I were to use 1/4 or 1/3 of this recipe, could I forgo using a mixer?

  2. marian
    February 8, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    HI @ Emma:
    I’ve never tried it, but i’m sure you could; it seems like a small enough amount.

  3. Caitlan
    April 3, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I’m making cupcakes for my nephew’s 1st birthday party! Is this frosting recipe okay to add food coloring to?

  4. marian
    April 3, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Yes, @ Caitlan: Absolulety you can!

  5. Caitlan
    April 3, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much! @ marian:

  6. Emily
    April 25, 2013 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian – I was wondering if you knew how well this icing would hold up in the heat. I live in the Caribbean and am making cupcakes for a beach party. I’ve learned my lesson to not use buttercream for an outdoor party here! I was worried about the margarine in this recipe.


  7. April 25, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    HI @ Emily: I’m sorry to say, these are sensitive to the heat too! 🙁 Good luck with everything! xo

  8. Lucia
    May 14, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Hola, buenas noches, soy de Argentina me encataria hacer la receta del frosting pero no me doy cuenta las medidas que tengo que usar, me podrian ayudar? muchas gracias saludos!!

  9. Haneem
    May 16, 2013 at 2:28 am | Permalink


    LOVE your website, you are truly blessed with an amazing talent.
    Is there an alternative to using shortening? Here in Cape Town, South Africa…we don’t seem to stock it.

    Many thanks

  10. Candy
    May 17, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Hi! Just tried this recipe to replace my buttercream and I love it! The kids do too! So, after I swirl my cupcakes, where should I store them until the party? The fridge or is covered on the counter okay? I worry that if I refrigerate, the frosting will get too hard to the touch. Thanks!!

  11. marian
    May 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    HI @ Haneem: You could substitute both the margarine and shortening with butter; it’ll be a bit different in flavour and texture (more buttery of course), but will work.

    HI @ Candy: Yes, put them in the fridge if you’re not serving them right away. Take them out again an hour or so before service, so they can soften a bit.

  12. julie
    June 18, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m unsure what u mean by meringue

  13. julie
    June 18, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Sorry scrap that comment. I’m half asleep on phone without glasses lol

  14. Sarah
    June 19, 2013 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    @ Haneem:
    Hi Haneem,
    I am also in South Africa and I use the Wooden Spoon White margarine for frosting. You can mix it with butter if you want but it is perfect on it’s own. There is a brand of white fat available here called Holsum which is the equivalent of the American, Crisco shortening but I have never used it in frosting.

  15. Erin
    August 5, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    How do you think te icing would behave if I used coconut oil instead of margarine? My daughter has a dairy and soy allergy and I’m looking for a good frosting recipe I can freeze. Do you think I could still freeze it with the coconut oil?

    • marian
      August 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Hi Erin,
      I’m not sure how will it will mix and freeze with the coconut oil, sorry!

  16. Nancy
    August 5, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marion, could you please tell what brand of white butter you use and where I can find it. Thank-you

    • marian
      August 5, 2013 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

      Hi Nancy, I’ve bought it through a local restaurant supply store in the past (it’s really white), and here’s the link;

      It’s called Golden Gate. If you’re not able to order through a restaurant supply store, you can use any margarine from a grocery store (I’ve done that as well, and usually buy Becel), and just color it white.

      Hope that helps!

  17. Afsheen saleem
    August 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    whats the difference between a frosting and butter cream?
    in those love cupcakes u have given butter cream recipe and in this one you have given frosting recipe, well i am a bit confused as to which one is better in terms of taste and in terms of decorating? sine i am planing to decorated cupcakes on my nephew birthday 🙂
    before i forget, i am also gonna make your sugar cookies which they all love 🙂 and i will be decorating them aw well with your royal icing recipe which they luv too:D
    we dont get meringue over here so used egg whites with the same quantity as meringue, it worked:D without the addition of vanilla.i will b puttig vanilla essence as well next time 😀
    U ROCK MARIAN!! xoxox

  18. gazala
    August 18, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    what can we substitue shortening with?

  19. Heather
    October 10, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    I have left over icing in my freezer and am wanting to defrost it and use it today how do I go about doing this so it stays fluffy and don’t split

  20. Debra
    October 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I can’t get white margarine where I live…can I use unsalted butter instead…?

    • marian
      October 30, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely, yes you can!

  21. Kim
    October 31, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Marian, you do such beautiful work!

  22. December 20, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I noticed that your round colored sprinkles are quite thick. What brand are they (I’m in Canada). The ones I have are super thin 🙁

    • marian
      January 2, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Hi Ruby,
      They’re from Bulk Barn!

  23. Amna Fraz
    February 13, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian,
    Approximately how many medium sized cupcakes would this frost?

  24. Vart
    April 17, 2014 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    Dear Marian,

    can i use Butter instead of margarine and shortening?

    • MiamiBeachMom
      August 18, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Vart, she’s already responded the same question above – Absolutely!

  25. Tonya
    November 1, 2014 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    What is icing sugar, and where do I buy it? I have never used it before.

    • marian
      November 3, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      Hi Tonya,
      Icing sugar is another name for powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar.

  26. Tonya
    November 11, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Marian one more question. How many cups is 2 lbs. of sugar? I buy my sugar in bulk and am unsure how cups messure into lbs. Thanks.

  27. Mary
    September 19, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Can this be converted to chocolate frosting? btw, I love this recipe!

  28. Leah
    March 4, 2016 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    How about surgery frosting, the kind with that crystally texture, but using butter as the fat? Why must you use margarine and shortening? It seems like that would be the most delicious of all!

Show Pingbacks & Trackbacks

  1. […] moist, fluffy, golden-delicious cupcakes are easy to make, and the swirl of frosting easy to create. I’ve created a video which you can find at the end of this post, to show you […]

  2. […] The frosting recipe I used can be found here. […]

  3. […] icing recipe […]

  4. […] You may have noticed that one of the icings looks more ivory. The deeper shade of ivory is cream cheese icing, and the lighter icing is vanilla frosting. […]

  5. […] Frosting Recipe on blog: […]

  6. By How to Make Frosting Swirls on Cupcakes | Cup Cake on November 10, 2015 at 7:48 am

    […] A basic how-to video showing how to ice cupcakes (the classic swirl). Find recipes and more tutorials on my blog, Sweetopia. […]

  7. […] I used 2% Lactaid milk in my classic white cake cupcakes and 3.25% whole milk for the frosting. Both tasted delicious and had excellent results, tasting like any other milk brand with lactose. You can find the cupcake recipe below and the frosting recipe here. […]

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