Why The Icing On Grocery Store Cakes Tastes So Sugary

Everyone loves a homemade cake, but in the words of our beloved Ina Garten, store bought is fine. There are some grocery store cakes that definitely satiate the sweet tooth. A sheet cake from the likes of Costco or Safeway is going to get eaten and enjoyed, no questions asked. One of our favorite part about any cake is the frosting and icing that is used. That sweet confection gives us the kind sugar rush that has us running circles around our toddlers. But have you ever wondered why the frosting and icing on a grocery store cake is so much sweeter than when you make a cake at home? 

This is a question that keeps us up at night (generally after we've slipped stealthily downstairs to polish off the last few bites of a store-bought cake from the evening's earlier celebration, coincidentally).

Well, we are not the only ones who have pondered this question. Leave it to the Reddit community to have similar wonderings. A kind Redditor wanted to know what kind of frosting grocery stores use on their cake — and bingo! An individual who works for a "leading manufacturer of grocery store frosting" took the time to answer her question, and in so doing, revealed why grocery store icing is so much sweeter than the average homemade confection.

It's all about the ingredients

According to the Reddit post, grocery stores offer shoppers two options when it comes to "frosting." The Redditor shared that these options are buttercream (which contains neither butter nor cream) and then they offer a whipped topping. Of the two, the buttercream is the more traditional icing most of us are used to. The expert noted that the grocery store baker often calls the whipped topping option "whipped icing," as this one is more along the lines of an aerated cool whip topping. But why are these so sugary?  

The grocery store frosting aficionado went on to share that the buttercream option is generally comprised of shortening, palm oil, and sugar, while the whipped icing contains water, soy oil, other fats, and sugar. Those ingredients pretty much say it all, but if you have any doubt, just check-out Safeway's white iced decorated cake. The first ingredient listed is sugar, followed by vegetable shortening. In fact, if you try to make a copy cat version of grocery store frosting at home, you might find that the amount of sugar required is more than you imagined. 

Don't believe us? Check out this recipe on Allrecipes, which calls for an eye-popping 2 lbs. of powder sugar to recreate all that sweetness. Sometimes, ignorance really is bliss — especially when you want to eat grocery store icing.