Sugar on white frosting to look like snow?

I want to make a birthday cake for my daughter that looks like snow. I am exploring options. One is pressing sanding sugar onto white icing of some kind to resemble sparkly snow. Should I use buttercream? I also want my buttercream true white, but butter will give a slight yellow shade, right? What about cream cheese frosting? Will sanding sugar melt into meringue frosting or plain whipped cream? The final piece of this is we live in a boiling hot climate, so the cake should be stable for about an hour while the party goes on. Thoughts? Thank you!

  • Posted by: Allison
  • June 19, 2015


Carmen H. December 18, 2019
To get bright white frosting use Wilton white-white icing color. A few drops will make any frosting super white. I've used it for years.
Susan W. June 20, 2015
Coconut flakes put through a food processor makes great snow. You can make cake balls and roll them in it if you'd like some snowballs. Also, candy writing pens are an easy way to make snowflakes. You can sprinkle them with edible glitter for a sparkly effect. There's also a way to make icicles, but not sure what you would use to accomplish that.
Garlic F. June 20, 2015
Just to be a champion of vanilla, you can get double-strength vanilla from a couple of places and use only a little bit to achieve good vanilla flavor without compromising the white color of the frosting.

I also like almond extract for frosting flavor.
PieceOfLayerCake June 19, 2015
If you use an American-style buttercream, that "crusts" (I hate that term), You can use a stencil to dust confectioner's sugar or sanding on top of the cake. The sugar won't dissolve if you let the buttercream set up long enough, which isn't very long at all. I've made stencils for the entire top of a cake before in the pattern of snowflakes. If you do something like that, I think the fact that the buttercream is ever so slightly off-white will accentuate the sugar on top. That, and shortening in buttercream is disgusting. I bet it will even work on meringue buttercream, but I haven't attempted that.

Another option is royal icing, piped or drizzled to make icicles/snowflakes. One could even drizzle white chocolate ganache to make "snow" or icicles? I will sometimes add a touch of violet food coloring to off white buttercreams/ganaches, which takes away some of the yellow.
Allison June 19, 2015
I agree with shortening in buttercream being disgusting. I think shortening is disgusting period. I'm just afraid meringue will be too wet and will melt the sugar. I'll try buttercream with sugar and pipe on top of that. Thanks for the helpful response!
mrslarkin June 19, 2015
Oh, is it a Frozen party??? I'm thinking since you live in a hot climate, you might have better luck with snowflake sprinkles and sparkly sugar, which won't melt. I would use store bought white frosting - but there are ways to get white frosting at home, I'm just not sure how. Vanilla extract will darken your frosting, too, so keep that in mind. If you have room in the fridge to chill the cake, that would help set the frosting. Good luck and happy birthday!
Allison June 19, 2015
It's a "snow" party, which is our compromise between a Frozen party and a First Female President of the United States party, haha. But I want to make a very special cake in the spirit of Frozen without being Frozen-themed.
mrslarkin June 19, 2015
Nice! The other "snow" look alike would be shredded/flaked coconut.
UhOhSarah June 19, 2015
Vegetable shortening will make a pure white icing, though also you'd want to avoid a vanilla with any pigment to it.
Allison June 19, 2015
Based on these comments I think I might do peppermint. That seems snowy to me! And no brown vanilla color.
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