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 12 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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  • Pam says:

    Hi, I am looking for a sturdy enough to pipe cream cheese frosting for my red velvet cake. Have you tried substituting the butter or Crisco for cream cheese before? Or do you have a different recipe that I could try?

  • Becky Hoover says:

    Hey Amanda. I’m making My Daughter a Birthday cake. Your crusting buttercream sounds Wonderful.Is it okay if I add some fresh or frozen strawberries to the mix? Or maybe some strawberry jello? I’m making a strawberry cake. Thanks

  • Veronica says:

    I have used this recipe a few times for my birthday cup cakes love it

  • Sharla says:

    OMG. I love your sass. My spirit sister!

  • Diane says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! It is light, fluffy & delicious. I don’t care what it’s called it’s a great icing. Thanks again.

  • Ellen says:

    I love that you called this buttercream. It’s how I found it through searching. I used it this weekend for confirmation cupcakes that needed to be milk-free & butter-free. I used unsweetened almond milk to sub for the regular milk and it worked great!

    If someone is looking for a vegan frosting – this works well.

  • Catherine Azmi says:

    Cookie Gift Can Queen sells Sweetex Hi-Ratio shorting on Etsy for home bakers in small quantities for professional tasting icing. Just wanted to share with my fellow bakers a great find

  • Amy says:

    Will this crust enough to pipe on sugar cookies and then stack them after it is crusted? I usually do 1/2 butter 1/2 shortening combo…wondering if this crusts better.

  • Camille iannacco says:

    I am making unicorn cake pops. My question is, will this buttercream recipe stiffen up enough to put in cane pop bags

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Yes, it will. You can always try using less liquid to achieve the consistency you want!

  • Mary says:

    Can I put cocoa in this recipe to make it chocolate ? If so how much? I e made this before but wanted it plain this is The Best recipe I’ve tried thus far !!!!!

  • Shannon says:

    I am trying this recipe for the first time. If I am making a 4 layer cake should I double this recipe . The layers are thin and 9” circle in size .

  • Mariadelpilar says:

    Finally I fun You . I was looking since 2013 and I lost contact .

  • ElizaW says:

    You litterally saved me, and not a moment to soon! Day before Thanksgiving and I am making a mini cake for my Niece to give her tomorrow. I was using another recipe from another website tbat is in no way connected with you. Long story short, an epic failure from taste to broken icing! If that wasn’t enough, I didn’t have enough ingredients for another batch.

    Frantically, I searched for another recipe and remembered reading your website before. Clicked on your recipe. What a saver. Even though I didn’t use your recipe, I was able to compare methods and ingredients, which ended up saving the icing! I cannot thank you enough. Creamy, holds together, and is a dream to work with!

  • Naomi Fluharty says:

    I really think I will learn a lot about cooking cookies and icing . Thank you very much for accept
    ing me.

  • Carmela Mastrorilli says:

    I’m trying make Abby Cadabby cupcakes from Sesame Street. Can you please help, this is the only character I’m having a problem with. Thank you

  • 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 ?

  • Don't Pass on Dessert!