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Better buttercream frosting recipe?

Hi,
I always use to recipe on the back of the Domino Confectionary sugar box...I have used that my whole life...and have always had good luck with it. Unfortch, I dont have a box near me right now to read the recipe, but its on every box....good luck!

Wilton has a recipe for a decorators buttercream on their website: [url=""http://www.wilton.com/recipes/recipesandprojects/icing/bcream.cfm""]Wiltons buttercream recipe[/url]
You can use all butter and omit the shortening (if the cake wont be in a very hot location) You can use a hi-ratio shortening, like Sweetex, (also nut free)-- for a less waxy/greasy mouthfeel. If the buttercream is too sweet, you can add a pinch of salt, or use a stick of salted butter in place of one of the sticks of unsalted butter. You can also use heavy whipping cream in place of the milk for a richer taste. Ive heard of using water and non-dairy powdered creamer in place of the milk. Do you have a stand mixer and scale at your disposal? I have a recipe from my days at culinary school that is very good as well -- uses evaporated milk -- very silky and some can be easily converted into rose icing.

For coloring the icing, I prefer to use airbrush colors, my favorite (and made in a nut free facility) are [url=""http://www.americolorcorp.com/""]Americolors[/url] If you get into airbrushing your cakes, then you already have the airbrush colors!!

Check out cakecentral.com as well -- they have lengthy discussions about the perfect buttercream icings, Ive tried the [url=""http://www.cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-2123-0-Buttercream-Dream.html""]buttercream dream recipe[/url] , and it was pretty good from what I remember.

Thanks DinaT!
Ill check out the other Wiltons recipe. I may try the heavy whipping cream, too - never thought of that! My mixer is just a very basic hand mixer, and I have an old scale that weighs ounces. So to convert to stiffer frosting, do you just add more sugar if its too thin? I have heard of adding a little salt if its too sweet.

Some Wilton colors came in my decorating kit, but I found some Cake Kraft locally yesterday. It seems Ive read here they were safe. Im a little intimidated by the idea of airbrushing as of now - still hoping I can made little stars and write steady letters!! 🙂

I looked at some of the Cake Kraft meringue powder, but it had a warning that seemed to be a ""made in a plant"" type warning and it listed just about all of the top allergens. I dont think Ill have a chance to do any of the Royal icing stuff this time around anyway.

One other thing, since you seem to be well versed in cake decorating....I was thinking of using a thick colorful ribbon around the side of the cake and some ribbon bows on top. Have you ever done something like that? Im not sure how the ribbon would hold up against the butter in the frosting. Any suggestions?

You can make one batch of buttercream and then remove portions -- some for icing the cake, some to color for piping decorations (some of those food colors will thin your icing out -- thats why I like the airbrush colors) You certianly can add more powedered sugar (or liquid) to achieve desired consistency

If you want a really stiff icing for roses, take xx amount of your buttercream, then add additional powdered sugar (double the weight of the buttercream)+ shortening (half the weight of the buttercream), and an egg white (optional) -- this mixture you do not want aerated, so mix just until combined; it needs to be covered as it will dry out.

I also have a recipe for royal icing that uses powdered sugar, egg whites and cream of tartar (I dont like to post recipes, but can email them privately, as these are from a former chef instrucotr) [url=""http://www.amazon.com/Ateco-475-Meringue-Powder-oz/dp/B000KEWQDU""]Ateco[/url] makes a meringue powder which is a repackaged Americolor product -- also manufacturered in PN/TN free facility.

You can get really creative with royal icing decorations: butterflies, lillies, etc. and ""paste"" them to your cake with buttercream.

For a ribbon -- Ive seen many real ribbons on cakes covered in fondant, but Im not sure how they would behave on a buttercream surface. Perhaps color some buttercream and pipe a ribbon or similar border on the cake? Practice on a metal cake pan with your tips before piping on the actual cake. Those wilton classes are great for just starting to learn decorating techniques (the books, too).

I hadnt even thought about this before, but I have an icing recipe that just has butter, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, and milk. If I make that thick enough, do you think it would work for decorating? Ive only used it for sugar cookies. It seems to me its the whole crisco aspect to the icing that makes it yucky! 🙂 Is there a reason for the crisco? I looked at the Wilton website and found the other buttercream recipe, but it still seems to have a good amount of crisco.

I will try to PM you for the royal icing recipe.

I think I will cut some ribbon and stick it on some icing to see what happens. Good idea to try the side of a cake pan to practice. I plan to practice a bit before I start later today anyway. I also thought about using gift wrapping curly ribbon - that would eliminate the oil soaking into the ribbon.

The Wilton kit I bought had a book that seems to cover all the basics. Im usually pretty good at self-teaching, but I think I may still want to take a class. I like the idea of butterflies and other fun stuff.

You certainly could make a buttercream with only butter -- the shortening helps with stability and makes piping easier. The heat from your hand can warm the buttercream in the piping bag, and you wont get your desired decoration. I know in the Wiltons class, they teach you to pipe with 100% shortening icing. If you use a high ratio shortening, you can scale back on the butter:shortening ratio, and it tastes (to me) better than crisco. Im not a big fan of eating buttercream frosting -- just like fondant -- it looks pretty, but gets pushed to the side of the plate because its too sweet. Unfortunately, when it comes to celebration cakes - it works best. When you get time to experiment, try out French, Swiss or Italian buttercreams -- takes a little more skill to make, but it may be another option for you.

When youre filling the cake layers -- you can also mix some preserves or jam, pastry cream, or whatever, with the buttercream to lighten it up and create a different flavor/texture.

So now that the big party is over, I have time to share what I used. I combined a couple recipies and ideas and hoped it would work out! I used the Wiltons recipe but changed from 1/2 cup shortening and butter to 1/4 cup shortening and 3/4 cup butter. There was also a ""high humidity"" icing recipe Wilton had online, which added 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 2 tablespoons milk (subbed in heavy whipping cream instead but needed to add a little more milk to thin it out). I was hoping the cornstarch would help to thicken and maybe not melt as easily with the extra butter. I have no idea what the consistencies should really feel like, but this turned out pretty stiff. The recipe was tripled due to the size of the cake, and then I added some of my original trial of the buttercream since I didnt know for sure how much I would really need.

I ended up with a lot of extra icing, but I didnt want to try to mix colors again to match. As it turns out, I needed a LOT of the red coloring to get a good red.

DDs only request was for an orange cake with yellow, orange, and red icing. I think it turned out great and she was very excited. I felt the hardest part was making the icing and mixing the colors. The actual piping was kinda fun and I practiced on wax paper before the actual cake. I found a great 2 inch wire edged ribbon in a translucent orange/yellow pattern that was perfect for around the side of the 2 layer cake. I used frosting to stick to the cake and it was a little greasy, but you couldnt really tell due to the type of ribbon.

For my first time, I was pretty happy with the cake, and if anyone is interested, I can try to figure out how to download a picture. 🙂

It sounds great! I am getting ready to try to whip up some frosting and cupcakes. There is a birthday in my sons class tomorow and I am sending in a cupcake for my son to eat while the other kids have birthday cake.

ETA
When I want to post a picture on a forum like this I use tinypic.com there are other sites that will up load them for you too, that is just the one I used first...so I always use it.

Glad it went well -- feels very liberating, doesnt it?? And your cake probably tasted better than any store bought one. Would love to see the pics!!