Easy buttercream frosting is perfect for decorating cookies, cupcakes or cakes. It’s fluffy, delicious and not too sweet.
Making a buttercream frosting recipe is probably one of the easiest things you will ever do. This is a recipe I got from my Mom which she adapted from Wilton after she took the cake decorating class way back in the 1970’s.
This is my go-to buttercream for a couple of reasons. First, I always have the ingredients on hand. Second, it’s a stiffer frosting meaning it’s great to decorate cakes and cupcakes with. Even cookies. You can easily thin it out if necessary, but I don’t.
You may be wondering why a buttercream has vegetable shortening in it. Well, it’s to stabilize it and by that I mean give it some substance. My husband loves to cook and bake and one time he makes a cake and buttercream. He used only butter. The frosting slid off the cake. Could that have been averted by putting the cake in the refrigerator, probably, but it also tasted like you were eating a stick of butter. It was just too much.
Butter can sit out at room temperature, though it softens. The shortening, when combined with the butter, brings some of the stiffness to the frosting. The more you whip this frosting, the fluffier it gets but you can over whip it so be very careful. As you whip air into it, it becomes a bit lighter but it still holds shapes when you pipe it.
To get perfectly white frosting, use clear vanilla extract. Some will say, if you’re coloring the buttercream, you want it perfectly white. It’s hard to find a pure clear vanilla extract versus an imitation one so I use pure vanilla. I don’t have trouble getting the colors I want, especially when I use the Americolor dyes.
Want another frosting recipe? Try the vanilla bean buttercream on these pumpkin spice cupcakes.
- 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
- 1 stick butter
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
- 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- In large bowl, beat shortening and butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
- Gradually add sugar, about 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.
- Gradually add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
This recipe is for stiff consistency buttercream, which is excellent for piping decorations like flowers. However, it will need to be thinned for icing cakes and borders. Add milk in small quantities until desired consistency is achieved.
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