Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Thing or Two about Buttercream

There are a lot of buttercream recipes, some call for just shortening, some are all butter, some are a mixture of butter and shortening.  I prefer the all butter version, but there are times when butter buttercream can fail you.
If you are icing your cake in humid, warm or hot temperatures, pure butter buttercream can definitely give you problems.  Even if you manage to get your cake decorated in the perfect temperature, transporting it can be a problem as well.  This is why most bakers put shortening in their buttercreams. The melting point of shortening is roughly 10 – 20 degrees higher than butter.  Much more stable.

For this roses cake, I followed the basic Butter recipe but added a few more tablespoons of icing sugar to make it stiffer and since I didn’t have to transport this cake, simply refrigerating it was good enough. For roses, use a 1M tip.

buttercream roses cake 010a
The Basic Butter Buttercream
1 cup salted butter, softened
4 cups fresh confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
4 teaspoons vanilla (clear if you want very white icing)
6 tablespoons milk or cream
(makes about 5 cups of frosting)

Roses Cake 084a
Butter and Shortening Buttercream
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
4 cups fresh confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (clear if you prefer)
2 tablespoons milk
(makes about 3 cups of frosting)
buttercream roses cake 002a

Citrus Buttercream
(follow either of the above recipes)
substitute lemon or orange juice for the milk
omit vanilla
Stir in 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel or 2 teaspoons grated orange peel

Shortening Buttercream
2 cups shortening
8 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons clear imitation vanilla extract
6 fluid ounces heavy cream
(makes about 5-1/2 cups of frosting)

In large bowl, cream shortening and/or 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.

buttercream roses cake 006a
Enjoy !



  1. Oh THANK YOU! I have been wanting to get a pure butter recipe - i do not know but something about shortening just freaks me out so i never use it in cooking. Next time this is the frosting i am using :) Great post!

  2. This cake is stunning with the three different colors.

  3. Beautiful, I absolutely love all the colors together. Just gorgeous. And I love all the different frosting recipes. I like feeling like I have choices. : )

  4. That is a beautiful cake!
    You make cake art!! Love it!

  5. Wow Lisa you are a Rock star! I didn't know you had this cooking blog too! I am just blown away with all your beautiful cakes and dishes!

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