Classic American Buttercream

Frosting, my favorite part of the cake, I’m convinced that cake was invented to hold up frosting, am I right?

Were gonna make the real deal here, that frosting that is on bake sale cupcakes, birthday cakes etc..  If you are skittish about sweet icing than stop reading here, this is old school icing!

Here’s what your gonna need.

Pretty simple yeah!  And you don’t need that fancy schmancy organic shortening, I like it because it is non-hydrogenated, but any brand of unflavored shortening will do.

Again I am using a stand mixer, but a hand mixer will work just fine.

Now just place the shortening and butter in a bowl and beat them together until light and fluffy.

Hey look an action shot, I’m all about keeping it exciting!

Next add the powdered sugar all at once along with the vanilla.

With the mixer on low, beat gently to combine.  At this point it will be very thick, but that’s OK we’ll thin it down with a little water, milk, or cream. Scrape down bowl as needed

With the mixer still on low, add the liquid of choice one tablespoon at a time until it is creamy looking and spreadable, you will need just 1-4 tablespoons.  There is no exact amount here, it will depend on humidity, brand of confectioner’s sugar, phases of the moon, etc….

As you can see it is very creamy looking without any air beaten in.  At this point it is great for decorating/piping, making roses etc..

Now if you want it more fluffy, as just an icing for a casual layer cake, you can now turn up the speed and whip some air into it, beat for about 5 minutes on high and you’ll get a nice fluffy frosting. Like this

At this point it is ready to frost a cake with, or just eat it out of the bowl, it’s up to you, nobody’s lookin’

And yes I just happened to have a cake layer hangin’ out in the freezer yearning for frosting.

Now wasn’t that easy?  This is so much better than icing in a can, and so much more versatile, not to mention having a few hundred less ingredients…

You can flavor it any way that you please.  Instead of vanilla or in addition to, you can add any extract that you like, I like almond extract (careful with this one, it’s strong, a little goes a long way), lemon, peppermint, the sky’s the limit!  You can even add a 1/2 cup of cocoa powder with the powdered sugar for a chocolate buttercream.

You can even switch up the fats a little.  If you want a pure white icing you can go with all shortening and no butter, and use a clear vanilla extract (you can find Wilton brand in craft stores) you can use all butter for more flavor, but the icing will be a little softer and a little harder to work with for icing roses, but is a tasty choice.

Printable recipe click here

  • 1/2 cup shortening (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) room temperature butter
  • 1 pound, about 4 cups powdered confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-4 tablespoons water, milk, or cream



Frostings, Fillings, and GlazesPermalink

One Response to Classic American Buttercream

  1. Wendy McLaren says:

    Shhh, don’t tell my son but this is the frosting for his birthday cake! Except green and in the shape of a dinosaur.

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