Why Chocolate Icing Loses Its Gloss

piece of cake with chocolate frosting

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)

33 thoughts on “Why Chocolate Icing Loses Its Gloss

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

        1. 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.

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