When I make chocolate icing it often is tasty, but isn’t as smooth and glossy as I’d like. Well, I think that I’ve found the cause, as well as the solution, in a 1919 magazine article.
Why Chocolate Icing Loses Its Gloss
If a chocolate icing is beaten too much before spreading, the gloss will be lost. It should be spread while it is yet a little “runny,” so that it flows of itself to a great extent over the surface of the cake. Sometimes if a knife-blade, dipped into hot water is used to smooth the icing, it will restore the gloss.
American Cookery (December, 1919)
34 thoughts on “Why Chocolate Icing Loses Its Gloss”
It’s been a long time since I’ve used chocolate frosting, but I do remember that the yellow cake we’d have with school lunches always had glossy chocolate frosting, and my mother’s (and mine) never was. I’ll bet the school cooks frosted our sheet cakes in just this way. I’m wondering, too, if this tip assumes a cooked icing. For some reason, I’m thinking cooked would be glossier — but I don’t have a clue whether that’s true or not, and I can’t even remember if we cooked our frosting.
Your comment brings back warm memories of similar cakes served with school lunches. I’m never sure whether to make chocolate frosting using baking chocolate or cocoa. I wonder if that also might affect the glossiness.
I’ll bet it would, because of the higher fat content in the baking chocolate. (At least, I think it has more fat.)
I never knew that, but I rarely eat or make cakes.
I made a lot more cakes when my children were still living at home.
I love these old tips! I know mom used to put a bit of corn syrup in her chocolate frosting and it was shiny.
Yes, I can see how corn syrup might make icing glossier. Your comment reminds me of several times that I’ve made hundred-year-old candy recipes using just sugar. The candy tends to easily crystallize and not be very glossy. I think that modern recipes often call for corn syrup –and that it’s easier to make high-quality candy when it is used.
I think you are so right here. I remember making fudge when I was a teenager, and it always seemed to crystalize. Of course, my mother was an impatient sort, so I sort of grew up thinking that fudge was something you ate on a spoon…
I’ve had more failures with hundred-year-old candy recipes than with any other type of recipe. I want to try making an old candy recipe again this year before the holidays. Keep your fingers crossed that it will be a success.
I’m rooting for you! I had an aunt who could make fudge in her sleep, but mom and I were not so lucky. Good luck my friend, I’m hoping you’ll find a secret 100 year old recipe!
Thanks for the good wishes. I’ll post the candy recipe I make, so you’ll find out how it turns out.
Huh. A tip from one hundred years ago answers a question from today. I did not know this.
I’m sometimes surprised by how often I find tips in hundred-year-old books or magazines are that still useful. Some things don’t change over time.
I’ve wonder about this too. Very helpful hint. Thanks so much.
I’m glad you found it useful.
There are some good tips that stand the test of time in hundred-year-old magazines. 🙂
Thanks for the tip.
Your icing lasts long enough for criticism???? We eat ours before anyone looks at it.
Oh and I also wonder if it matters if the base is butter or some other fat. In 1919 I can’t imagine it being anything other than butter.
Wonder when people started using vegetable shortening? Some thought it was the cat’s meow. Now we’ve swung back to butter.
Crisco has been around since 1911. Back then it was made from cottonseed oil.
I’m guessing that a few people may have used shortening in icing back then instead of butter.
I try to pace myself. 🙂
That’s good to know with the holidays coming up! Although usually the cake doesn’t last long with a household of children.😊
Cakes and other desserts never last long when kids are around. 🙂
It’s nice to hear that you enjoyed this post.
Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to try that.
How about that? I will have to keep that in mind next time I make chololate icing!
I enjoy finding practical tips like this in hundred-year-old magazines.
What a great tip. Over mixing is a common problem in baking.