Crusting Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Crusting Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe Pin

I realized when I posted the Perfect Sugar Cookies a couple of weeks ago that I’ve never posted how I make buttercream.  Actually, my recipe is pretty common and similar to other buttercream recipes, but nevertheless, I’ll show you how I do it because I’m often asked.

A couple of notes.  I make a huge quantity of frosting because I usually make large cakes and I need lots of frosting.

Plus, by mixing this large quantity at once, the mixer blade is completely hidden in the frosting, therefore not mixing in a lot of air.  This keeps the frosting especially creamy and smooth for decorating.

This large quantity recipe will make enough to frost and fill a 2 tiered cake.  If you need less, the recipe will easily cut in half, but you may not get the extra smooth and creamy texture if you whip air into the frosting.

Green Apple Mixer

I make my frosting in my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer because I make such a huge quantity and for the reasons above, it keeps the frosting super creamy and not airy.

Besides, it would be really hard and take quite awhile to mix this much frosting with my little hand mixer (yep, mine is red!)… and I’m not sure it’s up to the job!

I’d also like to note that I use these Sideswipe paddle blades with myKitchenaid.  It allows me to skip the “scrape down the bowl” steps and they really are a wonderful addition to my kitchen tools!

If you’re looking for other frosting recipes, please check out these popular recipes:

Here’s the Ziplist printable recipe:

Crusting Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups real salted butter (4 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups vegetable shortening (14 ounces)
  • 4 pounds of confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter flavoring
  • 6-8 tablespoons of milk or cream, or as much needed to get the consistency you want (not pictured)

Instructions

First, add the butter and shortening to the mixing bowl and cream together. Scrape down the sides to be sure that it’s completely mixed together.

NOTE: I put my bowl on the scale, zero it, then add the shortening and weigh it. I do this for 2 reasons – it’s more accurate than trying to measure messy shortening in a measuring cup AND it’s one less greasy cup to wash!

Add the vanilla and butter flavors and mix again.

Slowly add in the confectioners sugar, a little at a time until completely incorporated. This will take time and might make a mess. I like to drape a damp towel completely over the top of my mixer to "catch" the powdered sugar dust. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl often.

When all of the sugar has been added, start adding tablespoons of milk or cream to “thin” the frosting to the desired texture. I usually use milk unless I happen to have cream in the frig, but either works just fine. I make a fairly thick icing to cover and fill cakes and make it slightly thinner to decorate.

You can use this immediately or keep in the frig in an airtight bowl for up to 2 weeks. It can also be frozen for several weeks. If you’re using it out of the frig, make sure its completely thawed and rewhip, adding milk as needed to get the desired texture again.

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Comments

  1. Dear Rose,
    I have a recipe for butter cream that tastes fabulous but its color is a bit yellowish (the ingredients are: flour,butter, milk and sugar), I need a white cream for icing so I decided to use your recipe, my only problem is finding vegetable shortening (I live in Australia), can I use butter instead of shortening?
    Best,
    Ziba

    • Hi Ziba! You can make my recipe with all butter, but it’s still going to have a slightly yellow tint because of the butter. I am not aware of a recipe that is pure white without shortening – I’m sorry!

    • Amanda Quinn says:

      To make the icing white squeeze a tiny amount of lemon juice into it. This effectively bleaches the yellow out of it and you cannot taste the lemon, hope it helped?…,

      A white icing you can make which doesn’t crust however is Italian meringue butter cream, it is a little difficult but if your in a cooler climate shouldn’t be too hard.

      From an Aspiring Patissiere.

    • I make white butter cream using only butter, the trick is to beat the butter for about 5 or so minutes before adding other ingredients. The butter will turn white.

  2. This is amazing! Thanks for posting this. Ive been trying to find the perfect frosting to work with and no luck until now. Thanks again.

  3. Hi Rose, thanks for sharing your vanilla buttercream recipe. I’ve always only used butter and never shortening – I should give it a try. A question please: I’m always skeptical on using milk or cream into icing as (i) it can go bad hence storing leftover is not an option even if frozen (ii) having the milk included in the buttercream can make it go bad whilst the cake is being decorated in fondant at room temperature.

    Am I crazy to think so!?? I’ve seen others use it as well but am always worried about these things. Appreciate your feedback.

    Cheers
    Arlette

    • I can only speak from personal experience, but I have had cakes sit out for days with buttercream and it does not spoil. I think the sugar in the frosting acts as a preservative for the milk just as it does for the butter. I have also frozen buttercream, thawed it in the frig and used it weeks later and it’s been wonderful! I just use my mixer to fluff it up again and it’s great!

  4. Dear Rose

    Can i substitute butter flavouring with more vanilla flavouring?

  5. I don’t have clear vallina extract. I have the regular vanilla extract which is the light brown color. Can I use it? And will that have any effect if I’m using gel colors to color my icing? Please help!!!!

    • The regular vanilla will just give it a very, very slight brown tint. Most people won’t even notice! It won’t affect the gel colors in any noticeable way!

  6. hello!

    thank you for this recipe, i found you through YouTube. I know you said I could make the frosting thinner to decorate, but I am hoping to make roses out of this.

    1) Does it need to be thinner to make the roses?
    2) Can I freeze the roses ahead of time and attach them to the cake later?
    3) Do I need to thaw them first before attaching?
    4) What will the appearance be of the roses (in your opinion) after they have thawed? I am going to make many different shades of the roses (colors) and I am just worried about them running or looking a bit “off.”
    THANK YOU!!!

    -Erica

    • I have not made roses with it but I think it would need to be stiff to make roses. I do not know anything about freezing roses so I could not give you good advice on that. So sorry!

    • Erica,
      My mom made cakes for years. She often made flowers in advance and let them air dry. Once they were dried she put would put them into a container until she was ready to use them.

  7. Amy Trent says:

    Hi! I have made the messy ruffle buttercream cake in the past and had it slide off the side of the cake (not to be confused with melting – but actually seems like it is not sticking to cake). Just wondering if this has ever happened to you or what you may think is the cause. I usually use a buttercream recipe very similar to yours and a somewhat thick consistency. What is the consistency of your buttercream when you do the messy ruffle on your cakes?
    Thanks so much!
    Amy

    • I don’t know how to describe it – I mean, it’s basically the same consistency I use for all piping. Not too soft – to the point of runny – but not so stiff that it’s hard to squeeze out of the bag. Have you watched the video I have on Youtube? You might can see there the stiffness. Two things come to mind that might help. First, be sure you have a fresh crumb coat under the ruffles… you need “wet” frosting to stick to “wet” frosting. If you pipe the ruffles onto frosting that’s already crusted – it will fall off. Second, be sure you’re pushing the back end of your tip into the frosting on the cake. Make sure it’s making good contact so that it sticks. I have had it fall off in small places and looking at it, I realized it wasn’t really making any contact. I hope that helps!

  8. Amy Trent says:

    What consistency do you use for your messy ruffle cake?
    Thanks!
    Amy

    • I don’t know how to describe it – I mean, it’s basically the same consistency I use for all piping. Not too soft – to the point of runny – but not so stiff that it’s hard to squeeze out of the bag. Have you watched the video I have on Youtube? You might can see there the stiffness. Two things come to mind that might help. First, be sure you have a fresh crumb coat under the ruffles… you need “wet” frosting to stick to “wet” frosting. If you pipe the ruffles onto frosting that’s already crusted – it will fall off. Second, be sure you’re pushing the back end of your tip into the frosting on the cake. Make sure it’s making good contact so that it sticks. I have had it fall off in small places and looking at it, I realized it wasn’t really making any contact. I hope that helps!

  9. Hi Rose,
    Finally I am going to bake a 1 layer 23cm round cake and decorate it with those beautiful roses that shared before, as this is my first time making a rose cake, I don’t have any idea about how much butter cream I need??, would you please help me??

    • I’ve never really measured how much frosting I use on a roses cake, but I’d think for that size, probably 5-6 cups?! I could be totally wrong… sorry!

  10. actually with how much I meant do I need the whole recipe? more? *2 or *3 or…..
    thanks Rose for answering my silly questions

  11. U was wondering the difference between crusting buttercream and regular buttercream?

    • Crusting will actually form a “crust” that allows you to smooth it with a paper towel or sheet of paper. You can actually touch it lightly and not damage it. Non-crusting buttercream stays sticky or wet – you can’t touch it without leaving a mark.

  12. okay, So I am going to make a John Deere cake, and I don’t really want to make fondant. could I use this crusting buttercream instead or will it not look good??

    • It really depends on your skill level with buttercream and what type of cake you’re trying to do (3-D, flat, etc.) but personally I think it would look best with fondant.

  13. I’ve tried this a few different times and I LOVE the taste and the look! But no matter what I do, it is gritty. Any ideas what I’m doing wrong?

    • My guess would be that you need to try a different brand of powdered sugar OR try sifting it first!? The only time mine was ever gritty is when I used powdered sugar from a different store and it did not turn out well. A friend of mine also says that different brands of shortening work differently for her, but Crisco is all I use and I don’t have any trouble with that.

  14. Hey Rose, do you use salted or unsalted butter cream?

  15. What type of cream can I use instead of milk?

  16. Can you please tell me how many cups of icing this recipe makes? I’m making a 3-tier wedding cake – 16 X 4 1/2, 12 x 4 1/2, and 8 x 6 1/4. I know how many cups of icing I need from a previous cake. I’m assuming I will need 2 batches of this icing…. Any thoughts would be MUCH appreciated!

  17. Hi I make cupcakes more often than large cakes so if I halve this recipe should it be enough to cover say 20 cupcakes?
    I’ve always struggled with buttercream tasty tangy and melting so my swirls always look awful! I’m in the UK so weather is not exactly a problem. Will this buttercream hold its shape and not melt?
    Thanks for a simple recipe also! :D
    (I follow you on Pinterest I think!)

  18. I’m going to make this icing today to decorate a Spider-Man 3d bust cake tomorrow. How long does this one take to crust? I’m using the Viva method to smooth it. I usually use a different crusting recipe, but I’ve never been really happy with it. Plus I need about 10 cups of icing for the cake. Thank you

  19. does this have to be refrigerated?

  20. I have tried several,I mean SEVERAL, buttercream recipes. This is HANDS DOWN the besssssst! It fluffs up beautifully and crusts perfectly as well! I use it EVERY SINGLE TIME. & everyone loves it. Thank you so so so much for the recipe!

  21. Alissa Daniel says:

    I love this recipe! I am also in love with a champagne frosting that I use…do you think if I use the champagne instead of milk it would be okay?

  22. Kelly Kreimer says:

    What type of shortening do you use? Just crisco, or high ratio?

  23. Hi would half of this recipe be enough for 40 mini cupcake rose icing?

Trackbacks

  1. […] Then I started making the frosting. I was very unfamiliar with using vegetable shortening in frosting so I was kind of excited to see how it would turn out! The amounts of confectioners sugar was also insanely high so I was kind of skeptical about the entire thing really. However it turned out to work out just fine! Though working with vegetable shorting can be a pain in the ass it all worked out smoothly in the end  here’s the link to the frosting:  http://rosebakes.com/crusting-vanilla-buttercream-frosting-my-favorite-for-decorating/ […]

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