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. Sophia
    March 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    How cute, thank you!

  2. March 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    what recipe do u use for the icing to your cookies? I cant make mine hard, it just messing with me 🙁

  3. Angela B.
    March 30, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    @ sandra A:
    Use royal icing for cookies, which will dry hard. You can google recipes, or many hobby stores that sell baking supplies will have royal icing mix.

  4. March 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I love me some good frosting:) And is that a honey comb you piped! Cannot wait to see what it is.

  5. Aurora
    March 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    LOVE your Purple Cake stands. Where did you get them??

  6. March 30, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Your frosting looks delicious, even if it’s(not)so good for you. Your mystery post is a honeycomb. I’m sure it will be bee-uitiful and I can’t wait to see it.

  7. Molly
    March 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Those look soooo yummy…what kind of sprinkles did you use on the cupcakes?

  8. March 30, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Love that picture of you and your brother. You haven’t really changed that much (‘cept gotten even prettier). I agree, sometimes a visit back to the good old days via sweets is a nice little trek. Everything in moderation. The frosting/icing looks so pretty and very tempting on top of all the cupcakes.

  9. jOrge
    March 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Thankyou for the recipe, but how can i replace the shortening, in Mexico i dont find those products!! Thnks

  10. March 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink


  11. megan
    March 30, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Did you really pipe all those honey-comb shapes over and over and over? I’m impressed by your patience.

  12. Isabel
    March 30, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian!
    Nice post! How nice is your brother’s birthday photo! It’s you! You look really the same!!! How can you do it?
    It’s difficult to find that shortening in Spain but I’ll try in some american food online store… It looks delicious!
    I also remember our birthdays when my sisters and I were young girls… So sweet!
    Do you really have pipped those hundreds of lines??? I want to see the whole creation!
    Thanks a lot for sharing all these great things!

  13. Jane
    March 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    The only icing I make is the Buttercream icing (butter, milk, salt, powder sugar) but, I can not get it to look smooth. I will have to try this recipe b/c it looks gorgeous.

  14. marian
    March 30, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ sandra A: @ Angela B. was right… you need to use a royal icing if you want the icing to harden. If you are using a royal icing and it isn’t drying, the environment you’re working in is possible too humid. See this post about drying cookies:

    And this one which shares more about humidity:

    If you need a royal icing recipe, click on the Recipe section of this blog, and look under Icing.

    Thanks @ Sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more: You got it!

    @ Aurora: At a store in Toronto, called Flour Studio.

    Thanks @ Jackie Thompson!

    @ Molly: They are called funfetti sprinkles.

    @ Paula: Aw, thanks!

    @ jOrge: I don’t know for sure, but try substituting the shortening with real butter. They’re both a fat of sorts, and have a similar texture.

    @ Barbara Blazer: Smart cookie! 🙂

    @ megan: I only made one cookie, but yes, you’re right. 😉

    @ Isabel: Thanks so much for your sweet comments and for visiting me here.

  15. March 30, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    I love the old photo! I am actually doing a cookie decorating day at work, and I know royal is too hard for kids in a time crunch, so we are doing the shortening version with some meringue powder so it will dry firm. But kids love those swirly tips…me too! cute cute cute

  16. marian
    March 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    @ Jane: I’m sure it is, but is your butter completely room temp., and the icing sugar sifted?

    @ susie: Oh cool, do you have a recipe on line you wouldn’t mind sharing? I’d love to try that out!

  17. Maria
    March 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Cute photo….love it! Interesting post. I learn with every post of yours. Looking forward to see your next one, honeycomb…

  18. March 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Adorable pic! Long time sweets lover, huh? The cupcakes with the tiny cookies are top are soo cute! Loved your cupcake tutorial, thanks for sharing!

  19. Michelle G.
    March 30, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian! I have been waiting for this post ever since you mentioned it on the “Happy 3rd Birthday” post. Yay!! I can’t wait to try this recipe – I love buttercream but my husband, and other family too, don’t love it – they prefer the store-bought frosting, which I like too, but maybe this will be something new for them to try. Sounds yummy. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as white margarine! I’m not sure where I can find it – can you recommend any brands? Is it easy to find? I’m in the U.S. Your cupcakes and cookies are beautiful! I hope to make some pretty sweets for Easter. Oh, about the Spring cookie, I think that’s a honeycomb 🙂

  20. Tesei
    March 31, 2012 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Thank you Marian, I too am not a fan of Shortening and Margarine, have you tried this recipe only using butter? Did it work fine? I’d like to try it. On the other hand that picture looks a lot like a bee hive to me, I wonder what creation you’re going to come up next. Can’t wait to see!

  21. Jean
    March 31, 2012 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    That honeycomb is unbelievable! Can’t wait to see your next post—but then I always “can’t wait”!!@ marian:

  22. Kimmie
    March 31, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    I just love your pigtails! So cute! I love people with auburn hair too! The frosting is absolutely delicious and I agree you could eat the whole batch yourself, although not advised. Again, love everything Sweetopia, especially you!

  23. Jini Patton
    March 31, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I never hard of “white” margarine. What is that?

  24. Melanie
    March 31, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Have you tried this recipe with butter & shortening instead of margarine? I’ve never heard of white margarine. I prefer the taste of butter rather than margarine.

  25. marian
    March 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, @ Maria!

    Always, @ CuteEverything. I’ll bet you’re in the same camp!

    @ Michelle G.: This one kind of tastes like the store bought frosting… should be interesting to see what they think.

    @ Michelle G. and @ Jini Patton: For the white margarine, I buy mine through a restaurant supply store (it’s actually labelled white margarine), but you can get something similar at the grocery store. Just buy one with the lightest (yellow) color possible. (Some of them are a deep yellow, some are very light in color).

    @ Tesei, @ Melanie: I haven’t, but I will and do guess it will work. If you try it before me, please let me know how it goes. Thanks!

    @ Jean, thanks!

    @ Kimmie: I love your hair too! And you, my dearest friend! 😉

  26. March 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    You are just brilliant! So pretty.

  27. March 31, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Such pretty Easter treats!

  28. April 1, 2012 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    Happy 3rd Marian! You have worked so hard on this amazing blog, making the internet a much sweeter place! I am planning on making this frosting. It sounds too fantastic to pass up. Thank you so much for linking back to Best Friends For Frosting. I loved having you participate in the round-ups! Hugs to you!

  29. Michelle G.
    April 1, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    @ marian: Thanks so much Marian! I will definitely try it. Can’t wait to see what they think.

  30. April 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    @ marian: I am terrible at recipes. I used 2# of XXX sugar, 6 T meringue powder, 1/2 cup crisco and water to the right consistency. It makes it sort of slippery, and it holds the shape for the tips. My hubby thinks it is the very best because it tastes like grocery icing….I agree it is a nice change once in awhile, and the decorations crust up for stacking, gently.

  31. April 2, 2012 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    Marian, I just had to share a post in which I gush about you. I should be embarrassed, I know, I can’t help it. Thanks for being such a great teacher!

  32. marian
    April 2, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    @ Asmita, @ Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More: Thanks so much!

    Happy to, @ Melissa @ Best Friends For Frosting! I can’t wait to try more of those frostings on those posts!

    Let me know, @ Michelle G.. =)

    Glad it worked out for you guys @ susie!

    @ Sandi: Seriously, you are so funny! You crack me up! Thanks for the nice comments btw. (Oh and you CAN make the same stuff I do!)

  33. Michelle
    April 3, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing your information. I just started playing with decorating cupcakes, the recipe that you listed, will it crust like regular frosting? In other words I’m trying to get my frosting to be no so sweet like Wilton’s buttercream frosting. Any thoughts?

  34. April 4, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for doing such a lovely post for us over at FBC Marian. It was a huge hit and we appreciate all the time and effort you put into it! It was a feast for the eyes (as are all your posts!)

  35. April 5, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian ,

    What is white margarine? Can I substitute it if my country does not have it?

    I can’t wait to try these. My niece birthday is tomorrow! 🙁

  36. April 6, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Oh.. since I have no idea what is white margarine, could I go with all shortening then? Errrmmm, i made this using the usual yellow margarine, but then the mixture separates.. hehe.. So can you tell me where I go wrong..

  37. April 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    @ Nuraini Noor, Try butter instead.

    @ Nura Noor: I’m sorry, I’ve never had it separate. Are you also Nuraini Noor? I would try the butter instead. Hope that helps!

    My pleasure, @ [email protected]!

    @ Michelle: Yes, it crusts over, but it IS a sweet frosting. Definitely tastes like that grocery store sweet stuff.

  38. April 11, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian.. Yes we both is the the same person. Nura is my nick and so I got confuse on typing it out sometimes.

    I tried the frosting with normal margarine and the separation is not that bad. It’s still tasty but I have a feeling that it would be more delicious if I follow your recipe directly. 🙂

    I will try it with butter the next time..

    Here is a pic of mine frosting..

  39. Lolo
    April 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I love the shape of your lambs. What cutter did you use?

  40. Lolo
    April 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Can you tell me where you got your lamb cookie cutter? I love the shape

  41. Ala'a Al-Shanti
    April 24, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Dear ,
    Can I replace Shortening with Butter ?

  42. marian
    April 24, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Cool decorations @ Nuraini Noor!

    Hi @ Lolo: If you click on the word ‘Lamb Cutter’ in this post:

    you will find it.

    Hello @ Ala’a Al-Shanti: I will be posting the replacement recipe on Thursday, but for now, just to let you know, replace the shortening *and* margarine with butter. Good luck!

  43. Connie Beal
    April 24, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    @ jOrge:
    Jorge shortening is manteca in Mexico.

  44. June 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for helping, @ Connie Beal!

  45. July 15, 2012 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    This frosting is amazing. I have been trying for so long to replicate the sugary frosting on store bought cakes. This is it.

    Thank you!!

  46. angelica
    July 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    hi! is icing sugar powedered sugar/confectioners sugar? thanks.

  47. angelica
    July 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    sorry if the post above is not clear. So wanted to make myself more clear. is the icing sugar you have as the ingredient also known as powdered sugar/confectioner’s sugar?

  48. marian
    July 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ angelica: Yes, they are the same thing. =)

  49. Jenna
    September 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian!

    I have a hard time with frosting cupcakes… My buttercream icing tends to just fall off, unless I keep the cupcakes refrigerated. Any tips? Should I try a frosting like this one?? Thanks for your help!


  50. marian
    September 2, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Jenna: Is it humid where you are? That may be the culprit. If not, yes, try the recipes I use and see. xo

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