Basic Vanilla Cake Glaze With Flavor Variations

Raspberry and Blueberry Cake (Red, White, and Blue Cake)
Diana Rattray

This basic cake glaze is the perfect icing for a tube cake, Bundt cake, or coffee cake. Or drizzle some glaze over muffins, cinnamon rolls, or quick bread.

It's an easy, versatile icing with several possible flavor variations.

The Basic Glaze

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk or hot water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Melt 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of butter in a saucepan or a bowl or cup in the microwave.
  1. Sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into a medium-size bowl.
  2. Add the melted butter to the powdered sugar.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of milk or hot water.
  4. Add the 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla. Stir to blend.
  5. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, adding a little more milk or hot water if necessary.
  6. Drizzle the finished glaze over cooled cake, quick bread, coffee cake, cupcakes, or other desserts. 

Variations

  • 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 sliced strawberries -- fresh or frozen. 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.

    Frosting-Making Tips

    • 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.

    Pictured: Raspberry and Blueberry Bundt Cake