It's an easy, versatile icing with several possible flavor variations.
The Basic Glaze
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 to 4 tablespoons milk or hot water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Melt 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of butter in a saucepan or a bowl or cup in the microwave.
- Sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into a medium-size bowl.
- Add the melted butter to the powdered sugar.
- Add 2 tablespoons of milk or hot water.
- Add the 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla. Stir to blend.
- Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, adding a little more milk or hot water if necessary.
- Drizzle the finished glaze over cooled cake, quick bread, coffee cake, cupcakes, or other desserts.
- For a richer and creamier glaze or frosting, use heavy cream in place of the milk or water.
- For a citrus glaze, substitute orange or lemon juice for the milk or water and vanilla and add about 1/2 teaspoon of finely grated zest.
- For a mocha glaze, mix in 2 teaspoons of instant coffee granules, 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1 ounces of melted unsweetened baking chocolate.
- For strawberry icing, puree or mash 1/4 cup of fresh or frozen sliced strawberries. Combine the melted butter and powdered sugar with the strawberry puree. Add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add more powdered sugar or some milk, as needed for spreading or drizzling.
- For a chocolate glaze, increase the butter to 6 tablespoons and melt with 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate. Reduce the vanilla to 1 teaspoon.
- For a butter-rum glaze, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of rum flavoring and omit the vanilla.
- If glazing a spice cake or cinnamon rolls, sprinkle the glaze with cinnamon-sugar while it's still soft.
- Freeze leftover frosting in freezer containers or zip-close freezer bags for up to 6 months.
- If your confectioners' sugar tends to leave lumps, sift it before adding it to the frosting or glaze.
- Brush away any loose crumbs on a cake before frosting or spreading glaze.
- Before the glaze hardens, sprinkle with chopped toasted pecans or other nuts or decorations.
- If a cake is particularly delicate, put it in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes before frosting.
- It might be quicker to dip cupcakes or muffins in the glaze rather than spreading or drizzling.
- Put a sheet of wax paper under the rack when you glaze the cake. The wax paper will catch drips and make clean-up much easier. You might even be able to re-use some of the drips if they are crumb-free.