A glaze can be a simple and elegant substitution for frosting. Made mostly with water and powdered sugar, glazes are either transparent, opaque or colored (the tint comes from food coloring or fruit purees). Drizzle a hot glaze over a cupcake to create a smooth, sugary coating that pools on top. It'll cool to form a thin, hard crust, which helps keep the cupcake fluffy and moist. You can also use a spoon to drizzle on a smaller amount, forming zigzags or other designs. Glazes have a biting sweetness. To temper, try flavoring it with grapefruit juice, milk, coffee or one of your own favorite flavors.
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HowStuffWorks looks at some great British Baking terms — and some American ones as well.