The Perfect Crusting Buttercream

filed under: Miscellaneous on February 21, 2011


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.



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!)



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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Arminda says:

    I have been saving youvrecipes that i know i can try it soon ! No 1 fan here …

  • Jessica Kennedy says:

    Does this frosting crust?

    • Cassie says:

      Yes. Same recipe I use for my cakes.

  • Kathie says:

    If you want butter flavor, add some butter extract. 1 teaspoon is good. You can do this whether you use butter or not.

  • Sandhya says:

    Why shortening is used instead of butter?

    • Sandie says:

      Butter will give it an off white color. Shortening gives a white color.

      • Bonnie says:

        Buy butter that doesn’t have yellow coloring in it. Many European butters don’t!

    • Susan says:

      Shortening also has a higher melting point so it will hold up better in hot and humid weather!

    • ruby says:

      to ensure that it can crust and dry out as shortening has less water in it than butter

  • George says:

    How is the mouth feel of this “buttercream”? Is it going to coat the inside of your mouth with a thick oily layer that won’t go away because the shortening doesn’t melt at body temperature? Or does the milk help to prevent that? I feel that the overall taste and eating experience would trump ease of decorating.

    • Samantha says:

      I’ve been using this recipe forever and don’t have any problem with it costing your mouth. It’s not as much shortening as grocery store frosting uses.

    • Aimi says:

      Crisco changed its recipe since the trans fats were banned and now you have to buy high ratio shortening if you want to prevent that greasy layer left in your mouth.

    • Sandie says:

      Most likely the largest variety of cakes you have eaten in your life are basically the same as this.

    • Mae says:

      I use a high ratio shortening…and I use creme bouquet for flavor. I always use shortening in my icing for cakes and most cupcakes. I have some special recipes (like praline cupcakes) that call for using butter…but you have to be very careful because they cannot tolerate heat. Shortening hold up much better. NO it does not taste greasy…but you must use a good shortening.

      • Rebecca Nossaman says:

        What is an example of high ratio shortening?

  • Amanda says:

    Should I sift the powder sugar?

    • Cassie says:

      I don’t sift mine and it turns out fine. The mixer helps it to get all in there.

  • Deb says:

    Crisco is Hydrogenated cotton seed oil. Extremely unhealthy.

    • Nancy says:

      Don’t eat it every day!

    • Stacy says:

      Ummm…we are talking about CAKE here, aren’t we?

  • Patti Adzima says:

    Can anyone tell me how long this buttercream takes to form a crust? I’m using it on cookies that I need tomorrow for a party. Thank you for any information you can give me!

  • Terah Webster says:

    I have a decorator icing that doesn’t call for milk Have always been hesitant to use a recipe w/milk. Just say’n.

  • Terry K. says:

    I have been using this recipe to decorate cakes and cookies for about 40 years and my customers rave about it. I picked up the recipe in a Wilton class, where they called it buttercreme. I too thought it was ironic, since it contained neither butter nor cream, but go to a sweet shop in New York and order an eggcream. Go figure. I personally

    don’t care what they call it, it has been making me a good livong most of my life.

    • cinthya says:

      hi terry, I habe a question… when do you add coloring or anh flavoring.. do you replace de vanilla?

  • Cat says:

    just tried this recipe & your rose cake tutorial and it turned out amazing I love this thank you!

  • April says:

    Concerned about milk being in the recipe, won’t the milk spoil the frosting sitting out for long periods with-out refrigeration?

    • Christie says:

      Sugar acts as a preservative towards the milk. All that sugar will allow the icing not to spoil

    • Tracy says:

      I use to worry about that too. The sugar keeps it from going bad.

  • Cheryl says:


    Just wondering if it will taste super sweet? 8 cups of powdered sugar seems alot

  • Sky says:

    Can I make this in advance and if so how long will it stay good for in the fridge? Or left out?

  • Debra Rushton says:

    I just used this recipe for wedding shower cupcake icing and it was PERFECT! It stood up well on a very warm day, beautiful bright white. Thank you 🙂

  • Hannah says:

    Hello! Thanks for the brilliant recipe! I have a question: because milk is used in the recipe, does this mean the final cake will need to be chilled? I am worried that if the cake was kept out of the fridge for a couple of days the milk would ‘turn’? Or does the sugar preserve it? Thanks so much for your help! x

  • Corryn smith says:

    Can I use butter instead of shortening ? If so, how much butter. Would it still be 1 cup?

  • Lecia says:

    You had me at crusting. Thanks, I’m making it now.

  • Aleisha says:

    Is it alright to leave a completed cake in a cold garage when the temp is below freezing outside?

    • Aleisha says:

      As in iced and decorated. It’s for a wedding.

    • Amanda says:

      I do that often! 🙂

  • Kimberly says:

    Is this a good frosting to use under fondant? I’m having trouble finding one that will hold up the fondant and also taste good.

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, it will work!

  • Meneca says:

    I agree that buttercream means some butter. Thanks for sharing, I’m looking for a buttercream that is less sweet and taste like butter.

  • Marti says:

    Anyone used it to flood cookies like royal icing?

  • Karina Storgaard says:

    Is powder sugar the same as powdered sugar?
    I am from Denmark😏

    • Kim says:

      Yes, same thing. Different spelling. (Also called icing sugar in some places.)

  • Audra says:

    Buttercream/not buttercream I don’t care what you call this frosting I call it DELICIOUS! Made some today to try out and decided this will be the recipe I use to frost 125 cupcakes for my son’s Eagle Court of Honor next month!

  • Dale Rogers says:

    HI. I have been searching for a crusted Decorating icing like this for over 30 years now. You have a gold mine recipe here! So simple, but with such great flavor and crusty texture. Your recipe turned my Birthday cupcakes for my twin sons birthday into a non stop raving review of them. I want to thank you so very much, Dale

  • Don't Pass on Dessert!