The Perfect Crusting Buttercream

filed under: Miscellaneous on February 21, 2011


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.

5 from 7 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.


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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  • Debbie Derby Pickens says:

    Been making it this way for close to 30 years. Always my favorite and everyone has always loved everything I frosted with this.
    Thanks for sharing because I wish everyone would make it this way 🙂

  • Britt says:

    Absolutely nothing against this recipe it was on point and delicious. I should have known better than to use a buttercream in 80° weather anyway, but i did everything i knew to do. The cakes cooled overnight, then i froze it with a crumb coat on, changed my pastry bags twice so i didnt warm the frosting with my hands, then i added the rosettes and kept it in the freezer til the party. Unfortunately the once thick beautiful delicious tasting frosting slid completely off. Wish i could post pic for you to see. So sad 🙁 ;( so while i will definitely be making this again i will wAit for cool weather. 🙂

  • Mary Ann Lau says:

    I too have used this half butter half shortning for 30 or more years and it has never failed me. I am so in love with cake decorating and being able to use my skill to bring smiles and swoons…pure unadulterated joy! I would love to show you my latest creation ..just to zee what you think. I’m 71 and still a giddie little girl over this fun artwork!

  • Teresa Soares says:

    Every recipe your post I make comes out so good thank you so much for your show you are amazing

  • Iffi says:

    It’s amazing. I have one question. How is your icing so white? My buttercream frosting is always yellowish because of the butter.

    • Tania says:

      I also Hv this same question..

    • Natasha says:

      Beat the butter and crisco alone until it turns white. Takes about 2-5 mins!!

    • Diana says:

      Whip your butter longer. The longer you whip the butter the whiter it gets. I believe 5-7 min.

    • Kate Taggart says:

      Best kept secret…use no-salt butter! If you compare, the butter with salt is much more yellow!

  • Wendy Todd says:

    I do like so many of your recipes and ideas. Thank you.

  • Carol says:

    Should tapioca powder be used in the frosting. I was taught to use it for icing that doesn’t move!

  • Debbie Caraballo says:

    Do you think the perfect crusting buttercream would be good for a unicorn cake? I loved it on my rose cakes!

  • Christine Fisher says:

    Amanda…thank you so much for posting all the wonderful recipes that you share with us. I just made cupcakes for the July 4th holiday. I have never had so many people rave about my baking. I will use this recipe and others that you have shared from now on. I think you are a great baker and a warm and funny person too. I love watching your live episodes too. Thank again and ignore the mean folks! Some people just can’t be nice!😊❤️🎊🎂🍰

  • Shannon says:

    I have been using this recipe for almost thirty years. I don’t do this professionally, but I do cakes for friends and family’s birthdays and weddings!!! It can’t be that bad when I was asked to do three different weddings in four months. 😉 Everyone raves about this BUTTERCREAM. I will also add almond for that extra touch. Everyone loves it, but can never guess what that extra something is!!! Thx for sharing!!! I love and have tried many things from your blog, and just ordered your book!!you are Amanda the Amazing!!!

  • Mama Schick says:

    This came together very easily for me. I made this with butter flavored Crisco (giving it a slightly off white color) and only needed 1/2 cup of whole milk. I was able to pipe 34 cupcakes using a Wilton 4B tip.
    Shortening is the only way to go here in Phoenix in the middle of July. It’s 116 here today and butter melts in the counter after sitting out for 30 minutes. These held up, looked great, and tasted good (yes it’s sweet – but my dark chocolate cupcake needed it).
    Thanks for another dependable recipe! I can always count on you!

  • Kayla says:

    Does this need to be refridgerated?

  • Priscilla says:

    How does this recipe hold up in the heat? I need to transport my wedding cake about an hour away, it’s a 4 tier. The wether here is about 85 degrees. Any tips on how to not melt my wedding cake? Lol

    I’ve been looking at forums and I’ve seen a lot of people say this recipe is the best!

    • Amanda says:

      Drive in a COLD car! (wear sweaters and extra socks if needed!) Make sure you have your cake very stable and chilled!

  • BETH says:

    Do not freeze your cake with icing on it,that is why it fell off

  • Wendy Plaisance says:

    Can liquid creamer be used instead of whole milk?

  • Bridgette says:

    this is definitely what I would call buttercream. My grandmother always made it this way. 🙂

  • Drema says:

    I love your site and everything you make. I love the videos and how you present each. Keep up good work..💘

  • Amanda says:

    First time making frosting today and I’m under a time crunch. I made it and panicked because of how dark the vanilla made it but something told me to crank the mixer up and let it go for a couple of minutes…worked out perfectly. Added some multi colored sprinkles and viola, I made rainbow frosting!!! Thank you.

  • Andrea Denny says:

    How many cupcakes would this pipe onto? I want to see if I have to double or triple the recipe.

  • Shyma says:

    Love all of your recipes would love to learn more you are amazing..thank you for sharing

  • BOBBIE says:

    Love that recept

  • Debbie Bowen (Just Desserts by Debbie) says:

    This is a typical American “buttercream” or as Wilton refers to it “decorator white” icing. If you buy cakes at the grocery store (Walmart, Sam’s Club, etc.) this is the most commonly used icing/frosting. This is an excellent recipe for piping and decorations. You can change it up and use all butter, or like I do make it half butter and half shortening. There are many “bakeries” that only use Swiss Merengue buttercream, or Italian Merengue buttercream or even French Merengue buttercream. These all differ in that they use regular sugar and not powdered sugar, and in that they use eggs (either whites or yolks). It is about personal preference and what you are intending to use the frosting for. If you dont like “all shortening”, then just skip this recipe and use something else. People these days are very judgmental and impolite. Just calm down and be nice!!

  • Amanda says:

    How long can this be refrigerated for? I’m practicing today and making the actually cupcakes for the party 6 days from now. Thank you!

    • Amanda says:

      At least 2 weeks. 🙂

  • Carl says:

    Thanks for the lesson. Still a little apprehensive, but will definitely try.

  • MaryB says:

    Do you have a recipe that uses jet puffed marshmallow creme for a buttercream recipe.

  • Don't Pass on Dessert!