The Perfect Crusting Buttercream

filed under: Miscellaneous on February 21, 2011

The Perfect Crusting Buttercream is just that…perfect!


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.

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!)

5 from 14 votes
Lemon Frosting Hydrangea
The Perfect Crusting Buttercream
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins

The Perfect Crusting Buttercream

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buttercream
Servings: 12
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 2 pounds confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup shortening, check alternate method for butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract, use clear if want white frosting
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup whole milk
  • pinch salt
  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.

Alternate Method:
  1. 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.


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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  • Ruth Gleason says:

    Your frosting is the same one Wilton Cake decorating classes had us use. Yes, it is a Butter cream frosting, because of the consistency not because it contained butter. Using butter you can not achieve the consistency and make the roses or have your piping turn out looking as nice as a bakery. Try adding Butter flavor instead of Vanilla extract if you want the flavor.

  • Ana says:

    I’ve adopted this recipe as my go-to for buttercream. Both vanilla and chocolate. And even a chai buttercream. But I’m stumped. I want to make a peanut butter buttercream and am wondering how I can use this recipe but incorporate peanut butter into it?

  • Marie says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I use it all the time.

  • Liset says:

    Hi Amanda, i want to pipe rosettes, 8″ cake, 3 layers, should i double or triple this recipe
    Thank you

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Doubling would be plenty. 🙂

  • Liset says:

    I forgot to ask you about the shortening, is this hi ratio or i can use regular shortening crisco, the new crisco doesn,t have hi ratio
    Thank you

  • Sydlowsouth says:

    It’s your frosting and you can call it whatever you want. Thanks for sharing!

  • Lisa says:

    Just made this buttercream and it’s amazing paired with sugar cookies. Question: do u keep this buttercream on the counter or in the fridge? How long is it fresh for?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Hi Lisa! I keep it at room temperature for a couple of days or refrigerate for about 2-3 weeks. Just make sure it is being stored air-tight.

  • Amy Pattenden says:

    Can I leave at room temp? Or will it go bad ?

  • Veronica D Cantor says:

    I want to know more about cake decorating

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Veronica! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Check out the Decorating page with lots of ideas. Have a great day!

  • Yossu says:

    How well does this buttercream freeze?

  • Jan says:

    Is there any concern with using milk in recipe and safely leaving frosting out for length of time at room temperature? Your recipe looks great!

  • Cheri Hawley says:

    I was given this recipe in a cake decorating class 40 years ago and they called it a buttercream. Over the years I have modified it to make it less sweet by substituting 4 oz cream cheese for 1/2 of the butter.I I don’t know what to call this…it is not a “real” butter cream for the purest and diffidently not cream cheese frosting. Everyone loves it. They don’t care what it’s called.

  • D. Morgan says:

    I use a similar recipe. I also add 1 teaspoon of butter flavoring, 1/8 teaspoon of almond flavoring, and a heaping tablespoon of meringue powder.

  • Linda P Franklin says:

    I love this site…Thank You so much for all the wonderful information…keep up the great work…❤️❤️❤️❤️You are awesome ❤️👍

  • Joanne L Smith says:

    This recipe is AMAZING ❤
    Wish I had found it years ago.
    I only have a mid priced hand beater which unfortunately gathered the shortening in the centre of the beaters and held it there. I scraped it out and by-passed the creaming stage. I added a few spoonfuls of sugar at a time mashing it into the shortening with the back of a spoon.
    After adding all of the sugar and a dash of milk I used the dough hooks and mixed for quite a few minutes adding a little more milk as needed then finished it off using a spoon.
    I was making a smash cake that nobody would be eating anyway.
    I loved the way I could take a small amount, colour it and then add more milk to change the consistency I needed for any particular purpose.
    I didn’t use any vanilla or salt and even though I never creamed it, it was lump free and delicious.
    This spreads and pipes so easily and crusts quickly and allowed me to smooth the work with baking paper and a light rub.
    I was worried it would harden but the crust is so thin and the biggest bonus was that I didn’t have to refrigerate the cake at any time and had no separation of the icing.
    Made the cake the night before the party and left it at room temperature before serving at 2pm following day .. just perfect.
    Many, many thanks to you Amanda

  • Briannon Hutcheson says:

    Do you know why this would not set up? I did all shortening and had 2 cakes fall over the weekend even when I made the frosting super thick. They were melting at room temp.