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Discussion Forum

Topic: Buttercream icing
terese37 01/24/2011 8:47 PM
For decorating..Is it best to use half butter and half shortening? or all butter, or all shortening?
Chasey 01/25/2011 7:41 AM
It depends! Is it warm or humid for you right now? If so, go with all shortening. Butter melts around 85 degrees.

A half and half mix of butter and shortening provides a good taste and nice stability for piping in general temperature settings.

All butter is yummy and can be too soft if not thickened with enough powdered sugar, but it will work great if you can keep the cake from getting too warm!
terese37 01/25/2011 10:00 AM
I normally use all butter because of the taste. I am going to try using all shortening and just add the butter flavor..thanks for the insight!
Chasey 01/25/2011 10:51 AM
Here is an all shortening recipe I used when the customer requested "bakery type icing" which means all shortening to me.

Indydebi’s Crisco-Based Buttercream Icing

1-1/3 cups Cricso
1/3 to 1/2 cup milk, depending on consistency needed
3 Tbsp powdered Dream Whip (*)
2-3 Tbsp clear vanilla, depending on your personal taste
2 lbs powdered sugar
(*) A powdered whipped topping mix made by Kraft Foods, usually found in the cake/sugar aisle in the grocery.

There’s no wrong way to mix this. I usually mix all but the powdered sugar for a minute or two, then gradually add the sugar, but the only reason I did this was to avoid the “sugar-splash” factor. The longer the mixer runs, the smoother it gets. Sifting the powdered sugar before blending helps with smoothness but is not necessary.
Here are some tips another forum user provided regarding that recipe:

If you're going to try Indydebi's buttercream I wanted to give you a couple of tips that will make it even better......
Beat your crisco for at least 15 minutes BEFORE adding any other ingredients. It will look like sour cream by the time you've finished "pulverizing' it. SIFT your powdered sugar. Start by adding the least amount of milk (1/2 cup) called for and add only about a tsp. more at a time until you have the right consistency. I have never added the maximum amount listed when making this recipe. After all of the ingredients have been incorporated into your mixing bowl...continue letting you mixer run and walk away. I let mine rip for at least 20 minutes. This makes the best all shortening based buttercream I've ever tasted. It is also very nice to work with and crust within 5 minutes after icing your cake. I was never able to get perfectly smooth buttercream until I tried this recipe.
To make chocolate buttercream add 6 ounces Baker's unsweetened choclate squares (melted and cooled but still pourable) to your (already prepared) icing. You will also have to add more milk when adding chocolate. I add only a teaspoon at a time until I have the perfet consistency. The chocolate version also crust beautifully and is very easy to smooth. Adding the melted unsweetened chocolate makes a much better tasting icing than adding cocoa. I've tried it both ways and it doesn't affect the "crusting" properties of the icing by adding the melted chocolate.


If you want the butter taste with the shortening stability factor, have you tried the famous BW's recipe that is 1/2 and 1/2? Take a look here:

From: Bunnywoman

1 cup Crisco shortening
1 cup butter (can use salted or unsalted)- softened
1/3 cup luke warm water
1 tsp popcorn salt
1 tsp clear vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp butter extract
2 lb. bag of powder sugar

**** I recommend using a stand-up mixer (Kitchen Aid) for this.****

Cream together the butter and Crisco until nice and fluffy. (I use speed 6 for this on my KA.) When it lightens in color (almost white) it is ready for the next step.

Measure out the luke warm water in a standard measuring cup and dissolve the popcorn salt in this water.
I then add the flavorings to the cup. Stir it up well with a spoon.
Turn your mixer speed to the lowest possible setting and add in the powdered sugar slowly. Alternate back and forth
with the water mixture. Keep the mixer on low until all liquid and powdered sugar are combined.
Once combined then turn the mixer up a notch and mix well. Approximately 2-3 minutes.

Heavy cream or milk can be substituted for the water too. This will make for a smoother, creamier frosting. Refrigerate your
cake if you use these.

You can mix and match flavorings in my recipe. I have done all sorts of different combinations. I love Lorann
Flavorings in this too!!!!! They have over 30+ different flavors!!!!!

This will make what I call between thin to medium consistency icing. I can frost my cakes just fine with this
and do simple borders as well.

To make roses: If I have to make a ton of roses (and only roses) I use the same recipe above, BUT I half everything. Meaning, ½ cup of shortening, ½ cup butter
etc. etc. etc. Instead of 1/3 cup water……. I add ¼ cup water. This will give you a stiffer icing, but not so stiff it will make your hand feel like it is gonna fall off!!!!

Everyone’s hand grip is different so if you feel this is still too stiff for you add and additional tsp(s) of water and mix again. It just needs to be stiff enough to hold the petal shape, but yet flow decently out of the tip. Play with it. See what works for your liking.