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Buttercream Frosting Made Easy

Updated on October 23, 2010

Cupcake with Buttercream Icing

Cupcake with buttercream icing
Cupcake with buttercream icing | Source

Buttercream a versitile icing

Buttercream is one of the icings that many decorators head for when decorating a cake. You can make beautifully decorated cakes with buttercream icing. I can't tell you how many times I that I have made this type of icing over the years. Whenever I am feeling like I want to make a pretty cake this is the one that I had for. My choices in Buttercream icing over the years have changed over the years. Sometimes I have cared more about flavor than how the icing held up. Here is my personal experience with Buttercream icings. I hope you can find the perfect buttercream icing for you.

Tips for Making Great Buttercream Icing

1. Take time to sift your confections sugar. It will add air to the sugar and it will blend more easily.

2. When starting to mix the "butter/mixture" start your mixer on the lowest speed it will go, be patient, and let it mix until well blended before before turning your mixer on a higher setting, this way the powder sugar won't go everywhere.

3. If you live where it is humid and warm consider using an icing base that contains only vegetable shortening, the icing won't melt as readily as butter based icings.

4. For best results always store icing in the refrigerator when you are not working with your icing.

5. When adding liquids do so very slowly, adding too much liquid may make the mixture separate.

6. If you need white buttercream, use the clear vanilla extract, it won't tint your icing like regular brown vanilla extract does. You can find clear vanilla extract at places that sell Wilton cake supplies, or even some supermarkets carry clear vanilla extract.

7. If your icing melts while you pipe, you may have "hot hands", store your icing in the refrigerator until the moment you need it, you may need to take breaks so the icing doesn't warm up too much while piping it.

Wilton's Buttercream Icing

Recipes for Buttercream

Wilton's Buttercream Icings

Now, if you have done any cake decorating, chances are you have come across the fine product family of Wilton. They make wonderful cake pans, cake and candy decorating supplies. These folks are the first decorating company I ever ran into, and they have guided me well over the years. They have two basic icings, and they each have their place. Their original recipe is made with shortening, and their updated recipe is made with butter. Now, if your climate is hotter, or it is the summer, you may want to consider making their original recipe, but if your climate is cooler, and you prefer taste over function try the recipe that contains the butter.

Wilton's Original Style Buttercream Icing

  • 1 cup solid white shortening (or half unsalted butter)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cream or half and half

Beat shortening, or shortening and butter, until light and fluffy. Add the extract and beat well.

Beat in the confectioners sugar. Add cream as needed to make the product smooth.

Wilton's Updated Buttercream Icing


  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Makes: About 3 cups of icing.

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

For Pure White Icing (stiff consistency), omit butter; substitute an additional 1/2 cup shortening for butter and add 1/2 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor. Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes.

Publix Style Buttercream Icing

Now while both of these are delicious many people seek out a the Buttercream for Publix bakeries. Here is a recipe that was adapted from one posted on the Wilton's Forum.The difference here is the meringue powder. This icing will stay fluffy and not form a stiff crust on the outside, it also has a delicious almond flavor that really makes it tasty.

Publix Buttercream lcing

  • 1/2 pounds butter
  • 2 cups Crisco Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoons butter flavoring
  • 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 pounds confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 1 tablespoon milk if needed

Mix butter, crisco, and salt together on low speed for 5 minutes. Add vanilla, butter flavor, and almond extract, beat until well blended. Turn mixer off and add meringue powder and 1/2 confectioners sugar. Turn mixer on the slowest speed the mixer has, add remaining confectioners sugar 1/2 cup at a time until the sugar is mixed in. Turn mixer up to medium and beat until smooth and creamy, this should take about 5 minutes.

How to make Swiss Buttercream Icing


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    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great looking recipes for buttercream frostin. This is my husbands faavorite. I will definitely be trying it. Bookmarkide, up, useful, and awesome.

    • Sunshine Uy profile image

      Sunshine Uy 7 years ago

      I'm excited to try Wilton's original buttercream icing! Thanks for posting it!

    • smanley01 profile image

      smanley01 7 years ago from Houston, TX

      Well many people do a crumb layer of icing, and let this dry. Some people do this so crumbs don't float up into the icing and make it look filled with crumbs. The way I have used this has been thining down icing for the initial layer, and thicker for the final layer.

    • profile image

      Ted Baida 7 years ago

      Re: Wilton's Updated Buttercream Icing

      You state: "For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk."

      You also state: "Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes."

      What other reason would this icing be used except for spreading onto cakes or cupcakes? I can't think why the recipe is initially created for a thicker use (other than spreading).

    • profile image

      twinsmom102 7 years ago

      I think you may have meant sift the powder sugar, not shift.. I've never actually piped frosting onto a cupcake I usually spread it, but I really like the way it looks from the bag so I may try it next time. I love buttercream frosting.

    • smanley01 profile image

      smanley01 7 years ago from Houston, TX

      My apologies, formatting error!

    • profile image

      Jennifer 7 years ago

      On your recipe for Publix buttercream, you didn't say how much confectioners sugar to add, it just says

      •pounds confectioners sugar. Can you update with how much sugar is needed? Thanks!