I realized when I posted the Perfect Sugar Cookies the other day 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 make: Crusting Buttercream Frosting (for Decorating).
I realized when I posted the Perfect Sugar Cookies the other day 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.
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.
Second... 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!
So, here's my recipe.Print
Crusting Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (for Decorating)
- Yield: 12 cups 1x
- 2 cups real butter (4 sticks), softened
- 2 cups vegetable shortening (14 ounces)
- 4 pounds of confectioners sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract (use Wilton's Clear Vanilla if you want a whiter frosting, although the "tint" that regular vanilla adds is not noticeable to me)
- 2 teaspoons of Wilton butter flavoring
- 6-8 tablespoons of milk or cream
- 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.
- 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. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl often. I use this Kitchenaid Mixing Bowl Shield to help keep the sugar in the bowl, although I typically still end up with a thin dusting of sugar all over my kitchen! When all the sugar is added, your frosting will be super thick and dry. Again, I don't think a regular hand mixer could handle this.
- At this point, 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.
- *Chocolate Buttercream: Add about 3 cups of cocoa and an extra 5-6 tablespoons of milk to this mixture to make chocolate buttercream. I didn't measure exactly the last time I made chocolate, but that should be close.
I also use Cream Cheese Buttercream for some of my cakes and you can see that recipe here.
If you have any other questions about the details of this recipe, ask me in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer if I can! Happy Caking!
Do you have a butter cream recipe that will hold up for hot Florida temperatures? I love your recipes, but need one for the summer heat.
I live in southern Mississippi and this is the only recipe I use. It'a always held up well for me!
Thanks so much for the buttercream recipe. Have a wedding cake in July and one in August.
Hi...I've been searching for a good recipe for frosting a wedding cake. 3 layer cake bottom then a smaller 3 layer cake on top.
The bride to be just wants a simple white frosting that will have a smooth shinny look. /not fluffy) I'm just a home baker, by no means a pro.
I will be freezing the cake and frosting it while frozen..then the cake will be left to thaw in the refrigerator over night. Will this frosting work? Thoughts?
This looks so beautiful and delicious! I can't wait to give this recipe a try (pinned).
I would love for you to join us and share each week at Brag About It link party on VMG206 (Mondays at Midnight).
~ Megin of VMG206
Thank you! I'll try to stop by 🙂
I love buttercream icing! I've never heard of the butter flavoring. I'll have to look for it. Thanks for sharing on the #HomeMattersParty . I hope you will join us again next week.
I'd love to try your recipe (it's bookmarked)! Thanks for sharing with us at Merry Monday.
Thank you for visiting!! Happy Caking!
Thanks so much for adding your recipe to the Delicious Dishes Recipe Party on Pocket Change Gourmet.
What makes this frosting recipe crusting?
Susan at RoseBakes.com
Hi Rebecca! The ratio of fat to sugar is what makes this recipe crust. Higher ratios of powdered sugar to fat make it crust, whereas a higher ratio of fat to sugar stays soft. Thanks for stopping by the blog!
Do I need to keep these in the fridge after I decorate my cupcakes?
No, room temp is fine.
This recipe is good for fondant cakes too??
Thank you Roseanne for answering my question about the frosting. I have another question for you do you know if when you make Apple pie cupcakes instead of putting the chopped up Apple filling on top of the batter and bake could you just hollow out the cupcake and filling it then ?
Yes, I think that would work well and be a delicious filling for a cupcake!
Do you use the paddle or wish type mixer blade?
How many cupcakes will this batch ice?
It really depends on how much frosting you use. Some pipe on a small rosette - others pile it up 2-3 inches tall. The best thing to do is try it out and see how far it goes for you.
Hi, I have to make a dairy free "buttercream" for my kids, which I've done in the past but lost that recipe, plus I'd like something that crusts a little more. Do you know if it would make a huge difference to use margarine instead of real butter and water to thin instead of milk? Also, is butter flavoring dairy free, or naturally flavored? Is there something I could use in it's place? Thank k you for your time!
If you use all shortening with no butter, it will be a crusting recipe and dairy-free. For thinning it, you could use water or dairy-free coffee creamer is a great alternative. There are several brands of butter flavoring and I don't know if they're all dairy free. But you could skip that altogether and just use vanilla flavoring.
What is shortening? And what weight is each stick of butter?
Shortening is a vegetable based fat. Depending on where you are in the world, other similiar products are Trex, Flora White, Copha or Cookeen.
Hi! Do I have to use high ratio shortening or will Crisco work? Thanks!
I only ever use Crisco!
Hi, can you use high ration shortening in place of the vegetable shortening for this recipe?
Hi, newbie baker from Manila. May I know how long I should cream the butter and Crisco? And how long does it usually take to mix the sugar? Thank you so much!
I really don't use a timer on anything. I mix the butter & sugar until it's really fluffy, then pour in the sugar all at once.
How does this icing taste? I've tried several crusting buttercream recipes in the past that have worked well aesthetically, but the taste was subpar at best in addition to the greasiness from the shortening.
Could I do this without the butter flavoring? I also just came into a 3lb tub of high ratio shortening...would I be able to use that?
Yes, you could use the high ratio shortening! And yes, you can skip the butter flavoring.
Do you use salted or unsalted butter? Thanks!!
I love this recipe! I'm tastes so good, and it a dream to work with! BUT, I often have trouble with it crusting too much... is that a thing?? It gets pretty hard and when I cut the cake, it falls off in chunks sometimes. Is that normal? Or could I be keeping it in a too cold environment?
Hmmm - that's not something I've had trouble with. You might have it too cold or you may be putting it on too thick?!
Is this recipe shelf stable? can it set out overnight?
Could other flavoring be used like lemon or strawberry using Lorann flavoring? If so, does the butter flavoring still need to be added?
Yes, you can use other flavorings and I'd probably skip the butter, but you could taste-test and see what you like best!
I made a cake for a friend who had to take the cake on a road trip (about 6 hours). I used this buttercream and it was a hit. My friend said everyone loved it, her husband said he liked the frosting so much he ate 2 pieces!!
Rachael N Denny
When mixing in confectioners sugar, dampen a large kitchen towel, such as one to wrap bread, hang over mixer with opening at the front, you'll never have a snow white kitchen again. 🙂
Have you ever used this to frost sugar cookies? I am wondering if hardens enough to bag and stack the iced cookies? Thanks!
I have put this on sugar cookies (and it's delish!) but it does not get hard enough to stack them.
If I omit the butter for this recipe do I need to double the crisco?
I'm using this icing as a crumb coat, it will be covered in fondant. How long can I let this icing set out? I dont want to put a cake covered in fondant in the fridge. Im concerned the will go bad left out with the milk in it.
Do you have a similar recipe that uses fresh strawberries for flavoring?
Does this recipe do well under fondant?
why is it called crusting?
Once it sits at room temp, it gets a thin "crust" on the outside and then you can use a paper towel to smooth it. Non-crusting buttercreams stay wet and sticky... like frosting in a can.
Hi I made buttercream frosting but realized that I miscalculated the butter and vegetable shortening. Instead of 2 cups for each, I used 1.5 cups. My buttercream looks little greasy, not so smooth and taste is too sweet. What can I do to fix it? Can I whip up another .5 cup of butter and shortening together and rewhip it? What can I do to get a smooth texture and reduce the sweetness?
You could add the extra whipped shortening and butter and it should be fine.
Silly question maybe, but can you freeze leftover frosting to use at a future time? I like the idea of keeping air out of the frosting (that's what keeps it pipe on smooth, right?). I just don't need a ton of it at one time usually.
Thanks for your recipe!!
Yes, you can freeze it in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.
I read that in the recipe notes after I posted this question. Oops, sorry!! Thank you for your recipe!
Ooh, also,I noticed you mentioned smoothing it out with paper towel after it's crusted. Can you explain that a bit more? I don't care for the taste of fondant and would love to learn how to get a smooth cake with buttercream =)
Will adding meringue powder help this icing crust better? If so, how much do I add?
What are your favorite brands of vanilla extract and butter extract? Thank you. P.S. Do you still use Crisco?
I make homemade vanilla extract and have only used that for years. The recipe is here. For butter or butter vanilla, I usually use CK or Lorann brands.
I have two questions can you cut the recipe in half and when you say confectionate sugar is at siftef before you measure or not sifted at all. I am new at making butter cream frosting.
I made a 1/2 batch of this to decorate some cupcakes using Russian piping tips, which are notoriously picking as to which frostings they will work with. This frosting was perfect...and it had a great taste too. I did add a splash of almond extract as well. I will use again!!
I made this recipe along with the white almond wedding cake. I omitted the butter flavoring and added almond flavoring and it’s wonderful. This is the recipe that i’ll Use when I make my daughters wedding cake!
Is this recipe good for making piped roses? Thank you in advance!
Thank you! I'm going to try it out this week!
Is this a yellow color or more white. Do you have a white icing for a 4 tier cake
I just tried this recipe. I’m hobby baker. I love the taste and the consistency for decorating. I glad it can be stored for later. Can the frosting still be stored in the fridge if you add color to it?
I'm wondering if my KitchenAid is big enough to make this recipe....how big is your mixer?
Hmmm - I use a Bosch Mixer (check it out in my vanilla buttercream recipe here). It has a 6.5 quart bowl.
Hi! Can I decorate cupcakes the night before the event and leave them out uncovered? Or would they have to be covered? Thank you! I haven’t used this type of frosting and don’t want it to dry out or get too much of a crust.
I prefer to put mine in closed boxes if I finish them the night before an event.
Thanks for posting this. Do you use salted or unsalted butter?
I prefer salted.
Can this recipe be used as a filling?
Will this frosting hold up for shipping? Like if I were to ship it through mail and can you stack the cookies without it smudging?
No, this is probably not a good recipe for that.
This looks like a great recipe to try. Im in Australia, would you be able to convert the measurements for me to grams/kgs please?
There are several conversion calculators available online such as this one: https://www.thecalculatorsite.com/cooking/cooking-calculator.php
Hi Rose, I have a question. I recently tried a frosting recipe that had shortening and butter in it. But, every time when I cream the butter and shortening together I noticed there are little lumps in it, even before adding any powdered sugar. I noticed yours looks smooth and creamy. I’m wondering if you might know why that isn’t happening with mine Thanks!
It might be that your butter is not soft enough. I like to have it at room temp or even slightly beyond that but not quite melted. If it's cold at all, it will be chunky and difficult to get smooth.
Thank you Rose, for the tips and suggestions! I will have to try and test that out, and see if it works! Thank you so much!!!
What shortening do you use? I can’t find a true Hi-Ratio shortening anywhere anymore and since my grand daughters birthday party will be outside in Alabama at the end of June, I’m concerned about the frosting holding up. Thank you for any advice you have.
I have only ever used Crisco. Well - I tried Sweetex once but I didn't find the benefits justified the cost since I can't buy it locally and shipping was outrageous.
Thank you, Rose! Crisco it is then!
Maria T Orman
I am making a 4 tier semi naked wedding cake in June and I need a recipe to fill in the layers as well as to semi cover the outside of the cakes. I do not want a frosting that will be hard in between the layers. Will your recipe get hard between the layers? Or does it stay soft ? The cake will travel for several hours to the venue. I will stack 2 tiers and secure them and another 2 tiers. Someone at the venue will place the smaller stack on top of the big one therefore I need the crusting frosting for the outside of the cake. so it will be easier to handle than with a soft frosting. Any thoughts?
Thank you. Maria
No, this frosting will not get hard between the layers - I use it all the time!
Really excellent recipe! I used this for my nephew’s birthday cake since I needed a frosting that could handle painted animal prints. This was easy to paint on and also delicious! It has a great texture and got rave reviews. My son said it was the best frosting I’ve ever made. I did use the butter flavored emulsion and also added a teaspoon of the Princess flavored emulsion since I like just a hint of citrus. My store was out of original Cisco so used the butter flavored instead. This will now be my go to for all of my cakes!
hi! is this recipe ok to add colors?
Yes! We recommend using gel colors.