Buttercream Frosting Recipes
There are many versions of Buttercream Frosting recipes. Some are made with eggs and all butter. Some varieties, you have to cook your sugar to a softball stage. Others are 100% shortening or a combination of shortening and butter. Each decorator has his or her favorite recipe.
I, personally, think that the best Buttercream Frosting taste and textured recipe is the one that has you cook your sugar, add to whipped eggs, and use pounds of butter per batch. BUT…. I live in a state that can easily be a 100 degrees for days on end during the summer and you know what butter does on hot days. It melts! A greasy puddle of melted frosting on a cake plate is not something I want to look at or eat.
Your top notch decorators have a few options we do not. They have huge refrigerators to store their cakes in, and refrigerated vehicles that they can use to deliver decorated cakes. I even know a few that refuse to deliver at all. If you want their cake, you come and get it and it is your responsibility if it melts. These decorators do not even turn on their ovens for a wedding cake for less than $2,000.
The following recipes for Buttercream Frosting holds up pretty well in the heat and humidity, but if you know that your cake will be out in very high temperatures, then do not use any butter and use only a high-quality shortening. These recipes are my favorite version of Buttercream Frosting to use for decorating – Peg Weaver
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
- 2 cups Crisco shortening
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon butter flavoring (Wilton's makes the best flavored version)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use Wilton's Clear Vanillar)
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 pounds powdered sugar, divided*
- 1 tablespoon meringue powder (optional but the texture will be smoother)**
- Water or milk as necessary (I usually add about 2 tablespoons but you may need more or less depending on the humidity in your neighborhood)
- 2 cups Crisco shortening
- 4 pounds powdered sugar (confectioners' sugar)
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1/3 cup powdered milk mixed with enough water to make 1 cup
- 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon clear butter extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon Creme Royale or cre bouquet (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Viva paper towels***
This frosting is used for frosting cakes and cookies as well as for borders and art work on cakes. It also makes a good tasting filling between layers of the cake and under a Fondant Frosting.You can make roses out of Buttercream Frosting, but the drying time is 3 or more days depending on the humidity.
In the electric mixer, combine butter, Crisco shortening, and salt together to incorporate, about 5 minutes on low.
Add butter, vanilla extract, and almond extract; mix together well. Add about 1 pound (4 to 4 1/2 cups) powdered sugar and the meringue powder; mix until incorporated.
Add the remaining powdered sugar (1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time), and mix until you get the consistency you want. You may not need to use all the powdered sugar.
Add a little water or milk (a teaspoon at a time), if necessary to thin the frosting. Blend well on low for several minutes.
Use immediately or cover and refrigerate. NOTE: Buttercream Frosting will last for weeks as long as long as it is well sealed.
Makes about 3 1/2 pounds of Buttercream Frosting.
This recipe and the instructions are from a lovely lady name "Sewsweet." I thank her very much. I like this recipe better than Wilton’s Buttercream Recipe because it tastes less sweet and uses half the amount of Crisco shortening.
Into the mixer bowl, place the Crisco shortening and cream until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar to the creamed shortening in the mixer bowl and mix. Add 1/2 cup cornstarch and beat well on low for about 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the water and the powdered milk; add the vanilla extract, butter extract, almond extract, and cre royale or cre bouquet, and salt. Add to the shortening/sugar mixture and combine until well mixed.
This frosting needs to be made ahead of time. As it sets up it gets firmer. When ready to use, just rewhip on low and you get a smooth, non-airy buttercream frosting.
NOTE: This buttercream frosting can be kept out of the refrigerator for around 2 weeks. I usually use it so fast that I hardly ever get it in the refrigerator unless I am preparing large batches. It can also be frozen. The cornstarch helps humidity as well as helping to cut the sweetness. Play with it and use whatever flavorings you like.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Instructions:
I just add Hershey's Cocoa, but any powdered cocoa would work. Some extra hot water will probably need to be added to the Buttercream frosting mixture. If you want a darker brown color, you can also add a little brown food coloring.
* 2 pounds un-sifted powdered sugar (confectioners' sugar) = about 8 to 9 cups.
** You can purchase meringue powder at your local grocery store under the brand name of Just Whites.
*** Use a paper towel that has no design imprinted for smoothing your frosting. The trick is to smooth it with paper towels when the frosting is slightly crusted.
Solid Vegetable Shortenings definitely have their place in baking. So I’m going to talk taste test and say that Crisco Shortening is the hands down winner. It has a clean taste with the melting point of 106 degrees F.
Butter melts somewhere between 88 and 98 degrees F. depending on the amount of fat in the brand. You can see that if you need to serve a pure buttercream decorated cake, on a hot August afternoon, you could have melted roses (and I do mean greasy puddles) on the tablecloth. This is when a good quality shortening will be a great blessing. I have been told by decorator friends that some of the warehouse brand shortenings leave a grainy consistency to the frosting no matter what you do.
Powdered (Confectioner’s) Sugar:
Please use a cane sugar. I prefer C&H Powdered (confectioners) Sugar. Many of the cheaper brands use sugar beets for their base. I don’t know the chemistry behind it but you definitely get different textures to your frosting that can vary from batch to batch. I spent a few months being very frustrated with the quality of my frosting until a kind lady did a bit of trouble shooting for me. She recommended the cane sugar and I’ve been blessing her ever since.
Top-Quality Brands: Please be safe, buy a quality brands and then stick with them for the best results.
A friend of mine, who is a wonderful cook and baker, travels a lot and she often prepares treats for her hosts. She learned to ask the host to have her favorite shortening and flour on hand. She has even made up a little makeup-type case that carries her favorite extracts and precious spices. This way she knows what she is working with, how it handles, and what tastes she can expect for the finished product. Some surprises are NOT pleasant!
Storing Buttercream Frosting:
If you are not going to be using the buttercream frosting right away, place it in a clean, sealable bowl. Store it in the refrigerator, but please don’t place it next to the marinating salmon, garlic, or broccoli. You do NOT want those flavors in your frosting! I like to use my frosting within a few days, but buttercream frosting will hold in the cold refrigerator for a couple of weeks, if necessary.
I often make a double batch of buttercream frosting the night before I have a baking project. This way I know that I have plenty of frosting, it’s fresh, and I don’t have to make it while I’m in the middle of baking the cakes. The extra frosting can always be used for a batch of cupcakes.
When you remove the frosting from the refrigerator, you might notice that the frosting has taken on a sponge-like texture. Do yourself a favor and place the frosting in a bowl and mix by hand, using a back and forth, smashing motion, with a spoon or frosting spatula. What you want to do is to smash the bubbles out of the frosting. This extra step will help to give you the smoothest frosting for a pretty top and sides of the cake. I have found that you will get an even better texture of frosting if it is at room temperature before you try to do your Buttercream Frosting.
Bad Buttercream Frosting Days:
One thing that seems very silly but is true. There are Bad Buttercream Frosting Days!I have asked quite a few decorators about this and every one says “Yes, there are lousy days.” I am not sure what causes the problem:
It could be that every human has bad days so they blame the buttercream frosting.
It may be the humidity or that there is a low pressure system hanging over your town.
I just know why, but it is a perceived fact! The way I have handled the problem is that I changed the decoration on the cake since I could not get the smooth top or sides as I originally planned. Writing a greeting on a messy top would look awful, so I changed the design idea and put flowers everywhere. I could have also done a basket weave technique around the sides. Just go with the flow and do not get frustrated! Aunt Martha won’t chuck the cake at you if you don’t write her name on the top this time. Remember that you are creating something that is to be eaten so have fun with it.
Different Types of Stand Mixers:
If you have a heavy-duty counter mixer, you can prepare a whole batch at one time. If you are using a hand mixer, divide the recipe in half. If you notice the mixer getting hot, please stop and let the machine cool off. I also prefer to mix the buttercream frosting on a low setting on my electric mixer. It seems that the higher setting will do the job faster, but you also will get a spongy texture to the buttercream frosting. I don’t want that quality in my final ice coating or flowers on the cake.
Using Weight Scales:
I put a piece of wax paper on my scale and start plopping spoons of shortening on top until I get the desired weight. This tip really saves time on the cleanup!
1 cup of Crisco Shortening weighs 6 ounces.
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Peggy Weaver, author of Peggy’s Baking Corner, has generously answered all the above question on cake baking during the last 15 years. Peggy will not be able to continue with the Question and Answer pages in the future. She thanks you for all your interesting questions.
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