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Discussion Forum

Topic: store bought icing? and crisco question
amyaks 05/13/2008 3:32 PM
I'm doing my first cake on friday for my daughter's first birthday party on saturday.
I'm wondering if anyone has used store bought icing for decorating--not the wilton tubs, but pillsbury or betty crocker etc. I have 4 containers of white frosting at home and though I could just color that and add in some extra powdered sugar as needed. has anyone done this? will it work?

If that won't work, I will be making the buttercream frosting using crisco, non-dairy margarine, and water. if i do the cake the day before, can i leave the cake out of the refrigerator overnight?

Lastly, are the butter flavor crisco sticks yellow or white? i don't want to end up with yellow icing, but the market has been out of the regular crisco for 2 weeks.

thanks so much in advance.
chickenhawk 05/14/2008 8:30 AM
I used the Betty Crocker tubs of frosting all the time before I started the Wilton courses. As far as decorating goes ~ they are really to thin for decorating with icing tubes. Maybe a shell border & writing but not much more than that. If you are doing a character cake I think the stars would be ok. I have never tried to add powdered sugar to stiffen the ready made tubs of frosting but the white frosting colors really well.
Yes, the butter flavor crisco sticks are yellow.
Non-dairy margarine? I have no idea if it can be left out overnight.
Hope I was able to help some ~ Good luck!
MsPJ 05/14/2008 8:36 AM
I've never tried adding powered sugar to ready made frosting, please let us know if you try this and it works.

As for the butter flavor crisco it is yellow and your icing will have a yellow tint if you use it. I don't have good luck with my icing using crisco since they went to 0 trans fats so I just use the store brand and have had no complaints and I think it works great. As for leaving the cake un-refrigerated overnight as long as there are no ingredients in the icing that require refrigeration it will be fine.

Good luck with your cake,
mish2brivero 05/14/2008 8:36 AM
Hi, Sorry I can't help with your first question -- I'd like to know the answer to your question about the store bought icing too. I have some tubs that I'd like to use up if I can.

As for the butter flavored crisco, I've heard it will turn your icing yellow. Have you considered buying a generic/store brand shortening instead of crisco? I use it and have good results.

Good luck with the birthday party!

donnaes 05/14/2008 8:36 AM
The store bought icing will be fine for icing the cake and making vines and writing. It's iffy for anything that requires medium consistency and is definitely not stiff enough for roses, unless you happen to get lucky and get a container of stiff icing off the shelf. You can always add confectioners' sugar to the icing to make it stiff enough for decorating.

I use crisco and water in my icing and leave both the iced cake and any leftover icing out of the refrigerator. Your cake will be fine, unless you store it someplace so hot the icing melts.

Butter flavor crisco is slightly yellow, it also has a slightly different moisture content than regular crisco, so, if you use butter flavor crisco, you'll have to adjust the water/flavoring content of your icing.
amyaks 05/14/2008 3:52 PM
thanks so much for your help everyone. i will try using the store bought icing with added powdered sugar tonight as a trial and see how it goes.

if I use non-dairy margarine sticks, I wonder if it needs refrigeration. does the butter/crisco buttercream need to be refrigerated once decorated?

i am doing a character cake. I've seen some people suggest letting the cake sit in the pan overnight before unmolding. is this helpful? if i do this, should i cover the cake with plastic wrap in the pan?

has anyone put the cake in the freezer in the pan overnight before unmolding? i thought it might help with leveling it, but not sure if unmolding it would be more difficult.

can you tell i'm nervous?

Jeanne G 05/14/2008 3:52 PM
Here is a cake I decorated entirely with grocery-store canned icing, as an experiment. It has limitations and it isn't as easy to work with as a good decorating frosting, but it can work.

Personally, I recommend either all shortening (with butter flavor if you like) or a combination of shortening and butter. I wouldn't use margarine or butter-flavored shortening. You can definitely leave the frosted cake out overnight, unless you are using a perishable filling.

If you can't get regular Crisco and you want something a little easier to work with than canned frosting, the Wilton pre-made frosting is a good option. Do you live close to a store that carries it?

Jeanne G 05/15/2008 8:47 AM
I forgot to attach the picture of my all-canned-frosting experiment.

Your cake can sit out a few days whether the buttercream has margarine, butter, or only shortening. The all-shortening version will hold up to heat best, but assuming reasonable room temperatures they will all work.

Character cakes (or shaped novelty cakes) are my passion. I've done hundreds over the years. (I own over 500 pans. Yeah, I know, get a life, Lady )

Here is how I unmold them: Remove from oven unto cooling rack.
1. Gently pull sides away from pan with fingers. If there is a slight dome, cover with paper towel and a pot holder. Gently press down to level the dome.
2. Set timer for 10 minutes. Really. Set the timer. Time slips away too easily otherwise.
3. When the timer goes off, place a cooling rack on top of the cake, feet sticking up. Turn pan and rack together and place on counter. (Now the feet are down. That is why it matters.) Remove pan.
4. If there is a small area where the cake stuck a bit, relax. Frosting will hide all.
5. Allow cake to cool completely on rack, which generally takes about 2 hours.
6. I always split my cake horizontally and add a filling (called torting) for a two-layer cake, but that is optional.
7. Crumb coat. For novelty pans the coat must be very thin -- I kind of scrape with the side of the spatula as I go. This makes the details show up better than without a coating. If the crumbcoat hides the details you've put it on too thick.

I would never leave a cake in a pan overnight before removing it.

Remember, this is supposed to be fun! ) And it will be. Relax a little. This is going to be very special, even if every detail doesn't go absolutely perfectly!
amyaks 05/15/2008 4:09 PM
jeanne G--thanks so much. I think that cake looks great!

after reading your last post, i decided to just do crisco icing, but now i'm wondering if i should do the canned icing after all. oh, decisions. i think i'll stick with the crisco though. does it taste okay with just crisco, water, sugar, vanilla and butter flavoring? hope so. do you do the wilton crisco recipe?

so, you don't level your character cakes? you just press the dome down? interesting.

too bad i guess i won't see a response for 24 hours. i don't understand why the posts have to be moderated so closely. oh, well.

thanks again!
casualcakemom 05/15/2008 4:09 PM
I actually used store bought (Betty Crocker) icing for my daughter's birthday cake. No one here likes the taste of the crisco buttercream, and while the canned Wilton is better accepted it's still not loved, so I figured I'd go with what they like to eat. I used my hand mixer to mix in enough confectioner's sugar to thicken it up so that I could do some decorating with it, and it worked fine. I didn't attempt roses with it, but it worked fine for borders, drop flowers, small/flatter flowers. The taste was definitely a bit sweeter than normal, but that wasn't a problem with the kids! And it took the WIlton gel colors beautifully. Next time I think I may try mixing a tub of the Wilton with a tub or so of the Betty Crocker and see how that works. Good luck!
Nimoway 05/30/2008 7:50 AM
I don't own a stand mixer so making my own frosting is kind of difficult. I do everything with the store bought stuff. With a small fridge, practically zero counter space and 3 small kids...the cans are just easier. A friend of mine decorates too and she recommends the cream cheese frosting. It colors well and the taste is just a little bit more interesting.

If you need it stiffer, just put it in the fridge. Sometimes, you have to put it back in a few times during the decorating process. I've done drop strings, built castles and made buttercream transfers this way. Leave it some place cool untill you need it, by then the icing will have crusted and it will be stiffer anyway.

Best of luck.
donnaes 06/03/2008 7:49 AM
Definitely follow Jeanne G's recommendation to remove the cake from the character pan after 10 minutes. One of my students didn't have time to let her cake cool for 10 minutes before taking it out of the pan (she had to leave for class), so she brought it to class in the pan. We couldn't get the cake out of the pan without digging it out in chunks - so much for the character cake.

When I make buttercream with crisco, instead of using, say, 2 tablespoons of water and 2 teaspoons of flavoring, I swap the two and use 2 tablespoons of flavoring and 2 teaspoons of water. The liquid content is still the same, but the flavor is much better.

If you want to use the Wilton ready-made frosting and don't care for the taste, you can always add flavoring to it.

tazmoma 06/05/2008 8:09 AM
Has anyone got the old recipe for the icing that you just use powdered sugar, crisco and water, when i took my class a long time ago this is the icing that the instructor used. I really like the way it works but can not remember just how much crisco and how much water you use. I always used butter flavoring in mine to give it a better taste. It was either 1 cup crisco and half cup of water or half cup crisco and 1 cup of water, i hope some one can help me

my email is

I want to use it on a wedding cake I am doing for next weekend
I don't like the frostings made with meringue as they tend to melt if it gets the least bit warm

adulce0904 09/22/2009 2:58 PM
Does anyone have the recipe for the crisco icing that you only use powered sugar, water and crisco? If so please e-mail it to me at
allardja 09/22/2009 3:15 PM
I will frequently use store bought icing for the filling and crumb coat. I used to then use the tub of Wilton icing so the consistancy would be right (when I was a beginner I needed every advantage). Now that I'm a little more experienced I've started to make my own icings with the recipes found on this site.