The Perfect Crusting Buttercream


I use this recipe when making my rose cake,


my hydrangea cake,

or any cake that I want the frosting to be able to hold its shape!

This makes quite a bit, but can be refrigerated quite easily.

The Perfect Crusting Buttercream


  • Crusting Buttercream
  • 1 bag powder sugar (two pounds or about eight cups)
  • 1 cup shortening (I used original Crisco)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (use clear if want white frosting)
  • 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup milk


  1. Cream shortening and vanilla in mixer for 2-4 minutes. Add in powder sugar, one cup at a time. If you find your mixer struggling, slowing add in milk. Use more milk for a creamy consistency, use less milk for a stiff consistency.
  2. Alternate Method:
  3. Use 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening. Place room temp. butter and shortening in mixer. Put entire bag of powder sugar on top, then add vanilla and 1/2 cup milk. Turn mixer on low and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Turn mixer up to med-high and mix for 2-4 minutes. Can add more milk to reach desired consistency.

And yes, I sometimes use half crisco/half butter.  This recipe is SWEET.  Super sweet.  If you dont like sweet, simply use less sugar.



*Some people seem to get very upset that I call this frosting a buttercream. 

I’m sorry.  I dont have a much better answer.  You are welcome to yell at me all you want in the comments. (Some already have!)


See more examples of how I use this frosting on my Rose Birthday Cake and Royal Wedding Cake.

I also share this decorating technique and many others in my new book, Surprise-Inside Cakes!  I am so honored and touched at the world wide support!  Be sure to let me know if you are baking from Surprise-Inside Cakes!




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  1. Mildred says

    My icing recipe is VERY similar… I use just 1/2 cup shortening for 2lbs of sugar… Add almond extract and use water instead of milk. It’s a crowd pleaser and very easy to make… Hardly ever I sift the sugar.

  2. Mary says

    To lessen the sweetness put a dash of popcorn salt into while mixing it will cut down the sugary taste :-)

  3. says

    I have my sister-in-love’s wedding that I would love to use this buttercream recipe on, but I was unsure how it will hold up in Alabama in August. (wedding and reception on the farm outside).

    I am a home baker with no formal experience, any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    • Mimi says

      I’ve made many wedding cakes and cupcakes with this exact recipe. It holds up very well in heat as long as it doesn’t get in direct sunlight. Perfect wedding cake frosting.

    • says

      I’m a pro pastry chef who started out as a cake decorator.

      The trick to making a buttercream iced cake in summer heat…is to go butter-free!

      I usually use a cooked french buttercream. BUT that uses real butter, which doesn’t hold up to summer heat at all! So, when making cakes for outdoor weddings, I always use butter flavored Crisco and a no-cook recipe like this one. Because the Crisco is made with stabilized oils, it’ll stand up to the heat no problem & hold it’s shape. Using the butter flavored Crisco helps ensure a closer flavor to fancy French buttercream (as opposed to this American-style frosting recipe) without the risk of a cake collapse!

  4. Samantha says

    Hi! I’m wanting to make lemon buttercream for a cake. can I use lemon extract instead of vanilla? should I put the same amount in? should I put any vanilla in it?

  5. says

    Hi! I am looking forward to trying this recipe, but if there a reason. You don’t use pure butter? The 2 buttercream w recipes I’ve tried call for 1c butter (one had heavy cream and the other milk, with the milk recipe achieving a nice crusty frosting) anywho…just curious how the crisco changes the frosting? Thanks!

    • Mimi says

      The reason for using crisco instead of butter is to give it the pure white color for wedding cakes. If you use butter your frosting will have a yellow tint.

  6. says

    Every cake decorating book I own or have read uses shortening in the buttercream frosting recipe. I had no idea there was such controversy! Personally I would stay away from Crisco and use a high ratio shortening . Baker’s quality shortening gives the icing a fine, smooth and creamy texture without a greasy aftertaste.

    • julie says

      I am NOT a baker, but I’ve always wondered how to get a buttercream that crusts over. I love that consistency, so I’m going to give it a try myself. I do not like that greasy feeling Crisco leaves on the roof of my mouth. Where do I purchase a higher quality shortening for home use? Any suggested brands?

  7. Ryan says

    I am wanting to use this for a hello kitty cake for my daughter’s 5th birthday…I’m nervous to do it in the first place since I am a mid-level baker. My question is how much does this recipe make? I need 4-5 cups of buttercream and I have to dye some red, yellow and black. Do I need to double the recipe or is it fine? Any suggestions on color product to dye the icing?

    • says

      Sorry Joni! It costs a lot (a LOT) of money to bake 4-5 times a week, not to mention photography and web hosting and props. Ads are a way for me to not be losing money by blogging. Unfortunately for those that are offended by them, they are here to stay.

      • Kasey says

        Have you ever made a chocolate version of this icing? Need to make a choc iced cake sat and would love to use this if you have tried it and can help me with what to add or change to still get a great flavor :)

  8. lisa says

    I grew up w this icings but add Vodka not milk. The vodka evaporates no flavor, ad only a tablespoon or so w the white favorings, vanilla, lemon, peppermint, etc.

  9. Cortney Wretberg says

    I am so glad I found your page via pinterest. The frosting came out perfect and the roses are a perfect on top of my grams 91st birthday cupcakes. I will definitely be keeping this in my go to box. Thank you so much.

  10. says

    Watkins sells a chocolate extract that would be great in this frosting. They also sell the clear vanilla and almond extract along with many other flavors. I made a Christmas cake with mint green flavored frosting and Christmas decorations and it was great. The frosting held up all day and everyone loved it.

  11. krisha says

    Hi, I was wondering if you know whether this recipe is enough to cover a 9″ rosette cake or if I will need to double the recipe? This will be my first time making a rosette cake and i’m scared that I might have too much or too little frosting when decorating. Please help!!!
    Thank you.

  12. says

    Hi there!
    I am planning to use this recipe for my decoration on a 20cm round cake. I am going to scatter some flowers on top of the cake to make it pretty :)

    Can I use this frosting and then make the flowers (drop flowers, or I might try your hydrangea flowers) on a baking paper, chill them and then transfer them onto the cake?

    I am a bit scared to pipe them straight onto the cake ^^’


    • says

      Hi! You can most certainly pipe directly onto the cake. If you make a mistake it can easily be wiped away and the frosting re-used. Of course, if you want to practice on baking paper, that is a great option too!

  13. Christina says

    what can I use besides 1 cup shortening (Crisco) ?! I have butter or coconut oil, would either of those work?! :) thank you

  14. Randy Young says

    I have baked cakes and such for years. I even bake and ice cakes for a local restaurant. If you use Crisco or some,Vegtable Oil, you can buy a clear butter flavoring that gives it the taste of using butter. To be honest, I use unsalted butter and get amazing results. If you want to use the recipe above, try the clear butter flavoring. You will get a beautiful white icing.

  15. Lisa says

    As you warned at the bottom of the recipe, it is VERY sweet. How much sugar can I get away with cutting out? I’ll also have to try adding some salt next time.

  16. Sammy says

    People would surely be upset if you call this frosting without using butter, butter cream frosting, I would rather call this frosting BETTER CREAM frosting to silence your critics for not being PC.

  17. Samantha says

    Hi there! I made this frosting recently for my cousin’s sweet 16 cupcake pull apart cake that I made! It turned out awesome, and the frosting crusted nicely. However, I had some left over cupcakes I kept for myself and stored them in a Tupperware container with a lid. The frosting quickly become soft and almost runny while stored in there. Should I keep cupcakes frosted with this loosely covered, or maybe in the fridge? I’m making my other cousins 2nd birthday cake in to few weeks and may have to store it overnight and I’m worried about it getting soft and runny! Thanks!

  18. Candice says

    I followed the directions exactly but it didn’t work out for me :( my flowers came out beautifully, but after about an hour the all dropped and fell off! So I took all the icing off and thickened it up a little. They stayed for a while but then started drooping a bit. The weather is cold here and it’s not hot in the house, temp is at 65f. I used crisco vegetable oil shortening


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