Frosting is delicious, but it can be difficult to eat because it is so sweet. This leads many to try to determine how to make frosting less sweet. It can be overpowering, and the taste of butter and sugar alone isn’t ideal for everyone.
Fortunately, there are ways to make frosting less sweet using a few simple tricks.
What Is Frosting Made of?
Frosting is the thick and creamy coating on the outside of a cake, cupcakes, and cookies. It generally tastes like sweet butter, and it has a thick and fluffy coating. It can be all different colors, and it is creamy and rich. It differs from icing in this way.
Icing is more of a thin and sugar-filled glaze that gets hard when it cools, whereas frosting remains thick and fluffy until it is eaten.
Frosting is made with sugar, butter, egg whites, cream cheese, or flavors depending on the type of frosting you are making. You might choose a traditional chocolate or vanilla frosting, but you have many other choices as well, such as buttercream or cream cheese.
However, people still want to know how to make it less sweet.
How to Make Buttercream Frosting Less Sweet
One way to make this frosting less sweet is to add salt. This is a simple way to balance the amount of sugar present in the frosting without altering your recipe too much.
It will still taste sweet, but there will be enough balance that you can eat it and it won’t alter the composition or taste too much.
Rather than adding salt, you can use salted butter when you make the frosting. This makes the solution even easier.
Another way to cut down on the sweetness in buttercream frosting is to add some lemon juice to your frosting. You need to exercise caution and make sure that you don’t add too much lemon juice or it will be too sour.
You can add 1.8 of a teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of lemon juice for each four cups of powdered sugar in your recipe. This is the perfect blend, and you just need to make sure that it pairs well with the flavor of your cake.
You can also combine cream cheese and buttercream to make a mixed frosting. If your recipe calls for one stick of butter, you should use four ounces of cream cheese. This dilutes the recipe, and it won’t be as sweet.
Buttercream is essentially a fat with sugar, so you can add other types of fat such as heavy cream or shortening to decrease the sugar content.
How to Make Prepackaged Frosting Less Sweet
Many people use prepackaged frosting instead of making frosting from scratch. The main complaint is that these frostings are too sweet.
Luckily, it is pretty simple to take some of the sweetness away. A great cake can be ruined by frosting that is too sweet, especially since the frosting often goes between layers as well.
Start by taking the frosting out of the can and placing it in a microwave safe bowl. You can turn the microwave on for about 15 seconds, and then add ½ teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Stir it up really well, and refrigerate it for about an hour. You will be amazed at how you get that excessive sweetness out of it when you try this method.
How to Make Chocolate Frosting Less Sweet
Chocolate frosting can be absolutely delicious, but when it is too sweet, it can be overbearing. However, there are a few steps you can take to make it less sweet.
One way to accomplish this is to add more cocoa to the recipe. This will add a depth to the flavor while reducing the sweetness.
You can also add sour cream to the chocolate frosting. You can choose the level of sweetness you like best when you try this method.
You can also use melted chocolate with heavy cream as ingredients in your chocolate frosting. This will cause the chocolate to be more of a flavor than an overbearing sweet taste.
The type of chocolate you use will impact how sweet your chocolate frosting turns out. You can choose between unsweetened, semi-sweet, and sweet chocolate if you choose to use melted chocolate in the recipe.
Your best bet is to use baking chocolate and add the appropriate amount of sugar. You can use other methods to reduce the sweetness, but you will not be adding to it with the chocolate.
When you make your chocolate frosting, you can choose a recipe that combines cream cheese with chocolate.
It will turn out creamy and not too sweet. It has a nice chocolate flavor without overwhelming you and taking away from the enjoyment of eating your freshly baked cake.
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting Less Sweet
Cream cheese frosting is less sweet by nature. It is creamy and tangy instead. It is usually made with cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar.
Then, you can add flavorings, such as salt, lemon, vanilla, whiskey, and more depending on how you want it to taste.
The additional flavors will counter the sweetness of the powdered sugar, so you can customize the level of sweetness in your frosting. For example, if your recipe calls for butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar, you can add salt and vanilla to reduce the sweetness.
You can also add lemon or even a touch of whiskey.
What Kind of Sugar Is in Frosting?
People sometimes wonder what kind of sugar is in frosting. Most recipes call for confectioner’s sugar, which is granulated sugar that has been processed into a fine powder. It has some starch added to prevent it from caking up.
Normal powdered sugar is very white with cornstarch as this anti-caking agent, whereas in organic powdered sugar, tapioca is the agent used. This gives the organic type a more caramel taste.
People use powdered sugar because it is an easy and quick way to make frosting. Sometimes people dislike the flavor of powdered sugar, which can be strong in frosting. The starch can cause it to have a bit of a metallic taste as well.
The best way to counteract this flavor and make it less sweet is to take your butter, melt it, and mix it with powdered sugar, salt, and milk in a stainless steel bowl. This helps to remove the metallic taste, and the salt helps to keep the sweetness down to a level that people enjoy.
How to Make Store Bought Frosting Taste Better
Many people simply buy store bought frosting rather than making it themselves, and they want to make it taste better. You can microwave the frosting and then add salt and vanilla to take away some of the sweetness, but it still might have a processed taste.
You can add heavy whipping cream to the store-bought frosting. Not only will it taste better, but it will be lighter and fluffier and mimic homemade frosting.
If whipping cream makes it sweeter than you like, you might opt for cream cheese. You will want to leave it out at room temperature before you combine it with the store-bought frosting.
You can also improve the taste of store-bought frosting by simply whipping it at home. Take it out and use your mixer to whip the frosting.
This will allow the frosting to expand, and it will be lighter and fluffier. You can still add a pinch of salt and some vanilla extract if you find it too sweet.
Depending on the flavor of your cake, you can consider adding freeze-dried fruit powders. This will add both flavor and color to your frosting. You can add about a fourth of a cup to start, and keep adding until you get the flavor, color, and consistency that you want.
If you need to thin out the store-bought frosting, you can add either water or milk. Milk will give it a richer flavor without making it too sweet, and you can still add the salt and vanilla extract.
If you want to make the consistency fluffier, add a tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar, and mix it up. You can continue to add the sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
This will make it sweeter, so you will need to consider that when you make it.
Cake is delicious, and frosting can be too. However, people often have to skip it because it is too sweet.
There is no escaping the fact that the ingredients in frosting make it sweet, and cake is supposed to be a sweet treat. You can add certain ingredients or change the ingredients in your recipe to cut down on the sweetness.
Frosting is as much about texture as it is about the sweetness, and you can create a light, fluffy frosting with the perfect level of sweetness for your taste buds by tweaking the ingredients.
Once you experiment with these different ideas, you will find that you make the perfect frosting every time whether you make it from scratch or buy it prepackaged and modify it.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.
Saturday 30th of July 2022
Hi Sarah, I just made a coconut cream cheese frosting for my coconut cake. I tasted the frosting and it was cloyingly sweet. I added salt and still very sweet. My thought initially was to add lemon juice.I'm waiting for my husband to bring me a lemon from the market. I like the hint that a stainless steel bowl will tone down the sweetness.I'm adding some lemon juice and Bourbon vanilla to the frosting... Can't wait to see the finished Coconut Cake. I'm making this for one of my very best friends who just turned 64 (yes we're singing the Beatles song along with the birthday song). Can't wait to taste the finished product! Thanks for the tips!!!