Like cinnamon sugar, only substitute X for cinnamon?
April 11, 2013 10:39 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for alternative cake toppings to frosting - especially those that can be baked with the cake. Right now I make a "snickerdoodle" cake that is topped with cinnamon sugar (1 tbsp granulated sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon) at the batter stage, which bakes into a hard, sweet crumbly top. Is there anything else I can mix with sugar to get the same effect (I tried using cocoa powder instead of the cinnamon, but it didn't come out right - or maybe I did it wrong)? Alterately, what other non-frosting/icing/glaze topping options do you use besides confectioners sugar? (only one hitch - would really appreciate nondairy options). Thanks!
posted by Mchelly to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried other spices like clove or cardamom?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:44 AM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

It might take some effort to find or make, but I could see various finely-ground dried/candied things working well for this - ginger, orange peel, lemon peel.

Also - coffee/espresso could be tasty. You'd probably have to use weird instant espresso, but it's still pretty tasty when I make frosting out of it, so it'd probably work as un-frosting.
posted by Rallon at 10:53 AM on April 11, 2013

Cardamom is the secret to great pancakes and I bet would work and for certain baked goods mace is really great and will make your baked good taste like a donut. Mixing confectioners sugar with things like frozen orange juice concentrate or that sort of thing (and baking it right in) is another crowd favorite. You can also try little candied nuts or just nuts period. Is your goal to remove sugar, or calories or stickiness or something else? Also this sounds like it would be weird but sweeter (not spicier) curries can work really well in the sort of crumble topping you recommend. Curry and a little black pepper gives a really interesting taste to otherwise sort of normal baked goods.
posted by jessamyn at 10:54 AM on April 11, 2013

Lemon or lime juice!
posted by batmonkey at 10:55 AM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

How about crushed peppermint sticks?
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:57 AM on April 11, 2013

You could try experimenting with various fruit jellies - heat it up until it's liquid, then drizzle it over the top of the cake.
posted by alienzero at 11:06 AM on April 11, 2013

You're basically making hard candy on top of the cookie when you do this.

Hard candy is made by heating sugar until it melts, holding it at a high temperature until most of the water cooks out, and then letting it cool. The more water you cook out, the harder it will be when it cools.

When you put these cookies in the oven, basically the same thing happens — the granulated sugar melts, a lot of water evaporates out of it, and it cools to a hard shell.

So for inspiration, I'd look at recipes for homemade hard candy. Any combination of sugar-plus-X that works well for stovetop candymaking has at least a decent shot at working on top of your cookies. It's a bit of a crapshoot because you're not in there with a candymaking thermometer choosing exactly the right moment to pull the cookies out of the oven, but it ought to get you close enough.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 11:15 AM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Citrus zest
Vanilla bean
posted by Swisstine at 11:26 AM on April 11, 2013

On the non-frosting track:

This may be obvious, but pineapple upside-down cake?

Looking at streusel toppings and cobbler recipes might give you some good ideas, too.
posted by momus_window at 11:34 AM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Now there are two. There are two _______. beat me to it.
I was going to suggest brittle. Finishing it with Maker's Mark wouldn't hurt.
posted by JABof72 at 11:38 AM on April 11, 2013

Along Rallon's line of thinking, maybe something like freeze dried raspberry or blueberry would be nice. I know that you can whiz some in a food processor for use in recipes like meringues, but I think it would work just as well as cinnamon sugar in the oven.

Or if you like cacao nibs, some of those ground with sugar might more better than cocoa powder.
posted by itsonreserve at 11:44 AM on April 11, 2013

I sometimes use dehydrated and crumbled white mulberries for a decorative topping but no sugar is needed because they are sweet.

Nthing streusel toppings, cardamom
posted by insomniax at 12:07 PM on April 11, 2013

Use Chinese 5-spice powder in place of the cinnamon.
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 12:29 PM on April 11, 2013

I make an orange walnut cake that I "ice" with a mix of sugar and orange juice. So good.
posted by anotheraccount at 12:54 PM on April 11, 2013

posted by belladonna at 1:41 PM on April 11, 2013

You can mix lemon or orange juice with some confectioner's sugar (or probably palm sugar plus some arrowroot) to make a glaze that can be baked in, although I suspect afterwards gives a better texture.
posted by acm at 1:56 PM on April 11, 2013

Lumberjack cake has a coconut topping... the cake is traditionally a date cake, but the coconut topping would be good on lots of cakes (if you like coconut).

Any streusal-type topping (coffee cakes, apple crisp topping?)

Fresh fruit! Fruit syrups (like acm mentions) make cake really wonderfully moist and dense.

Vegan whipped cream - you can do this with coconut milk.

Sticky date pudding and german chocolate cake both have great caramel-like toppings that aren't "buttercream frosting".
posted by jrobin276 at 7:41 PM on April 11, 2013

Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president bake with Habanero Sugar?
posted by FatherDagon at 1:33 PM on April 12, 2013

« Older Which neighborhoods should I be considering in the...   |   Difficile a trouver... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.