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Powdered sugar and water are basic ingredients that when combined, make a delectable glaze for bundt cakes, cupcakes, biscuits, breads and cookies. Sugar and water icing, often used by home and professional bakers, is simple to make. You can prepare it thin for drizzling or thick for spreading. Additionally, you can use sugar and water icing as a fat-free and dairy-free alternative for high-fat butter frosting. The addition of flavoring and food coloring can further enhance these two simple ingredients.

Put powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl, and whisk to remove any lumps. If you prefer, sift the powdered sugar instead. Add hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time for each 1 1/2 parts powdered sugar, and whisk until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

Add flavoring such as lemon juice, vanilla, almond or rose extract if desired. Cinnamon buns and coffee cakes pair well with vanilla flavored icing. Lemon poppy seed loaves and pound cakes pair well with lemon icing. Almond icing is ideal for sugar cookies.

Add liquid or gel food coloring in small increments if a particular color is desired such as pink or yellow. Liquid dyes produce pastel hues; therefore, you would need a significant amount to attain a deep color, which could affect the outcome of your recipe. Less gel coloring is required to attain a vivid color, but to eliminate marbling, you must mix it more.

Add additional hot water for thinner consistency, and whisk well. Additionally, add spoonfuls of powdered sugar for a thicker icing. Whisk well with each addition.

Lift the whisk from the icing to check the consistency. The icing should run off in thick ribbons. Drizzle or spread icing immediately to prevent it from drying out.


Add 1 tablespoon of meringue powder for each cup of powdered sugar for additional stability and hardening; this is ideal for piping decorations on sugar cookies. Create a chocolate glaze for doughnuts by adding 4 teaspoons cocoa powder and 2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring for every 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar.

About the Author

Katherine Macropoulos

Katherine Macropoulos has authored two books; a fictional, young reader and a spiritual autobiography. Her areas of expertise include food, beauty and style, travel, culture and society, business and spirituality. Macropoulos holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, a diploma in photography, graphic design and marketing and certification in esthetics.