4 Brilliant Tricks for Making Canned Frosting Taste Homemade

No one ever has to know.

There is no shame in a shortcut, especially if it is going to help you arrive at a homemade cake or cupcake quickly and easily. Canned frosting is a great way to save you some extra time when it comes to preparing a cake, but there is no denying that a homemade frosting in comparison to canned is always just a little bit more delicious.

Instead of starting from scratch and making a homemade frosting, there are plenty of ways to take a humble can of store bought frosting and turn it into something exquisite and homemade-esque, even though it all started in a can. Whether you want to toy around with the texture of the frosting or the flavor, there are lots of quick ways to turn your canned frosting into a sweet confection that no one would ever guess came from the baking aisle. Here's how.

square cake being frosted

Whip it good.

What makes a homemade frosting taste homemade is its light, airy, creamy texture. Canned frosting has a tendency to be on the denser side, but the solution to this textural dilemma is simple. Dump your canned frosting into a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or into the bowl of an electric mixer and whip it up. Without even adding any other ingredients, this will aerate the frosting for a fluffier consistency.

Add a little dairy.

If you want to take it to the next level, fold in some freshly whipped cream (whipped cream from a canister will turn to liquid, so make sure you whip the cream yourself) for an ultra delicate texture. If you want to add a little bit of tanginess and creaminess, whip in some softened cream cheese. You can also whip in a few tablespoons of softened butter to replicate a homemade buttercream frosting. Another advantage of adding any of these dairy products to alter the consistency of the frosting is that they'll also dilute the sweetness of the canned frosting, which has a tendency to be intoxicatingly sweet.

Raid your pantry for flavor boosters.

Other smooth ingredients that you can add to amp up a canned frosting are peanut butter (or any nut butter of your choosing), fruit preserves or jam, nutella, marshmallow creme, cookie butter, or a citrus curd. You'll need anywhere from ½ cup to 1 cup for one (16-ounce) tub of frosting. Add any of these components to your liking, and add a pinch of salt to help bring out their flavors. For a quicker and more concentrated boost of flavor, you can add a teaspoon or two of flavored extracts (vanilla, almond, lemon, peppermint, etc) and syrups (caramel, mocha, coconut, etc). If you're feeling extra daring, throw in a couple tablespoons of booze, such as Kahlua, Grand Marnier, Calvados, Amaretto, or Limoncello. Add a zing of caffeine and sprinkle in a tablespoon or two of instant espresso powder or strongly brewed coffee.

Stir in some crunch.

If you want to play around with mix-ins to add another layer of flavor and texture, there are plenty of sweet additions that you can turn to. In order to avoid making the frosting too dense or tough to spread, whip the frosting first and then gently fold in these mix-in additions. For a (16-ounce) tub of frosting, anywhere from ½ cup to 1 cup of crunchy additions will do the trick. Toasted nuts, coconut flakes, chocolate chips or chunks, halvah, and toffee will all add a fun new dimension of flavor. Stir in chopped up canned pineapple or fresh berries for an extra fruity kick. Toss in a handful of sprinkles for a punch of color. Crush up your favorite candy or if you want to play with salty and sweet flavors, crumble up a handful of pretzels or potato chips. The sky is truly the limit here.

The bottom line is this — just because you're working with a store bought product doesn't mean that your final dish is going to taste like one. With just a little bit of TLC and a stroke of creativity, you can take a basic jar of vanilla or chocolate frosting and turn it into a bakery-ready confection. And the best part is that no one has to know about your clever little short-cut.

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