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Betty vs. Wilton...competitors or complements?

Today marks our first cake decorating class! Really, this intro class is more for my benefit than for Andy's, but we had a great time learning the "proper" technique for piping icing. I'm not up on all my icing knowledge, so it came as a surprise that the tried and true Betty Crocker icing wasn't the same as the icing offered by Wilton.

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I figured these two products we're competitors, but it turns out they may actually complement each other. So the question becomes, "which do you use for what?"

The Betty Crocker icing is fabulous for a basic layer on cakes, cupcakes and cookies. I grew up with it and love it. Where it falls short is in it's ability to hold any particular shape. The consistency is creamy and smooth, which is preferable until you need a stiff icing to hold the shape of a piped cake border or decorative flower.

This is where the Wilton icing comes in. When you open a can, you'll notice that it looks more like drywall spackle than frosting. Don't worry! This is the answer to your piping needs. The difference between the two is that Wilton's icing contains "high ratio shortening" and meringue powder (didn't know what either of those we're before today), which serve to create the texture and stabilize the icing.

Having now worked with both for decorating cakes, the Wilton icing would have been pretty great for piping precise lines, edges, stars, etc. You'll save yourself a lot of headaches and frustration if you use this one. However, I wouldn't want to eat an entire cake iced with this particular frosting. Honestly, it just doesn't taste as good as Betty's. I could easily (and may or may not have done so before) hunker down with a spoonful of Betty Crocker cream cheese icing and go back for more. The same can't be said for Wilton.

What I've noticed over the years is that bakeries tend to be good at one thing - either presentation or taste. It drives me nuts when I bite into a beautiful cupcake and taste something similar to cornmeal. Wasteful. My personal mission is to prove that pleasing both senses doesn't have to be mutually exclusive. In any case, here's the verdict for now:

Betty Crocker for the basics. Wilton for piping.

We'll be experimenting with creating icings from scratch over the next week or so. "How-to" piping posts to follow, but until then, happy baking!

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Posted in Food Post Date 01/18/2017


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