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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  • 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.

  • Yooza 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 ^^’


    • Amanda 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!

  • Steph says:

    Oh my gosh, HOW do you make those hydrangea petals?!?! That’s frigging adorable.

  • Christina says:

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

  • Angela says:

    Can I refridgerate the cake after decorating or should it be left at room temperature?

    • Amanda says:

      Yes! You can definitely put in fridge.

  • 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.

  • Brenda says:

    I also call this recipe buttercream. It is delcious but oh so sweet.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

    • Amanda says:

      Refrigeration is a great option, or in a cool and dry air tight container.

  • 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

  • Candice says:

    Crisco vegetable oil shortening, imitation clear vanilla, 1 2lb bag powdered sugar, about 1/2 c milk

  • Katerina says:

    How much does this recipe typically make? I need to make 13 cups of icing at the last to ice a cake I am making and then I need a bit more for about 2-3 dozen cupcakes. I wanted to see how much supplies I need to go and buy, I’ve made this recipe before but never measured out how much I got out of it, also two thumbs up, I love it every time.

    • Amanda says:

      I would say you get roughly 8 cups from one recipe. 🙂

  • Francis Sánchez says:

    Hola Amanda!!!…en esta receta para el “Crusting Buttercream” puedo usar agua en vez de leche???
    Me encantan todas tus recetas y quiero practicar con esta .

  • Afifah says:

    Hi Amanda, looovveee your rose cakes. You pipe it prettily, and the tutorial is really help me. Thanks for sharing. Also i do exactly as what you wrote here. My buttercream is a mix of 500gr shortening, 150gr margarine (butter is sooo expensive here in Indonesia), 250gr of sugar boiled with 100cc of water(thick simple syrup), 125cc sweet condensed milk and vanilla paste. Summer all year long here (tropical country). Maybe you can try to whip it up for your summer outdoor cake… It stays good both outdoor and indoor.

  • Peter says:

    Beautiful cake, love the piping skills you have.

  • Alice says:

    Dear Amanda,

    I have a question about your perfect crusting buttercream. You mentioned that it’s very sweet and not as creamy. Do you have a second best recipe for the the rose cake decorating that’s less sweet, more creamy but still let the rose hold its shape?

  • Lisa Preston says:

    Hello, Amanda!

    I came across one of your stunningly beautiful Rosette Cakes yesterday and eventually stumbled upon your site/blog. Very nice work, I am baker!!! 🙂 You rock!

    I adore your gorgeous cake creations, the rosette cakes are exquisitely elegant! I love the beautifully done photographs of your cakes as well. Do you do them yourself? Do you have a food stylist who works with you? Your images are so well done – absolute perfection!

    Thanks to your blog, I have found great inspiration for an Easter Cake. I will make a version of your incredible Spumoni Cake. All your cakes are just so amazing! You do a fantastic job on everything, and I wanted to take a moment to tell you that!! I love your wonderful work and very much enjoy the style in which you write, as well.

    You have accomplished what some of us foodie types can only dream about…

    I would love to meet you some day! 🙂 Where in MN do you live? Where did you go to school? Did you go to any culinary type of school? Business School? I saw you have a book out as well, hope my local library has it. Can’t wait to check it out.

    Love, love, love what you do! 🙂

    With much admiration, appreciation and gratitude,


    … in Apple Valley

  • Darlene says:

    since the icing is made with milk would I need to refrigerate the cake after icing it?

  • Nora says:


    I’ve tried this recipe and it’s so delicious! But may i asked, if I’m able refrigerate it? I’ve kept the cake with the frosting outside in room temperature but never in the refrigerator. Will condensation affect the buttercream once taken out of the fridge?

    Hope to hear from you soon!

  • Julia Conrady says:

    I dislike the “raw” taste of confectioners sugar in icings such as this one although it seems a great option to cooked buttercream. Does anyone have a trick to rid the sugar of that raw taste? I think it comes from the cornstarch in confectioners sugar but it is so yucky to me!

  • Mary says:

    I have a recipe for a wonderful white frosted wedding cake from a caterer. It almost matches your wedding cake recipe and this frosting. It uses the almond flavoring in the frosting and the cake. It almost exactly matches your recipe and it is called a buttercream frosting. It is the best cake and frosting ever. I think buttercream is more about texture than butter. Depends on what you prefer. Can’t please everyone, so just delete anything negative and keep on making the rest of us happy.

  • Belinda says:

    Thanks for the recipe! Have you ever experimented with Coconut oil as the shortening? I tried a similar recipe with half coconut oil/half margarine and rice milk instead of cow’s milk(my daughter is sensitive to dairy and soy). Not only did it slide off the sides of the cake in an air conditioned room, the remaining icing (on top of the cake) turned rock hard once refrigerated. I’m trying to determine which substitution caused the most harm. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Ronda says:

      I am not a baker, so I am just learning, myself. However, I do know that the melting temperature of coconut oil is very low- like in the seventies. I imagine that any frosting made with it would slide right off at even air-conditioned room temperature, unless it’s meat-hanging cold.

  • kimberly garcia says:

    Do you have a recipe for a cream cheese buttercream that you would recommend for the rose cake? I’m making a red velvet cake and would like a cream cheese frosting?

  • Angel says:

    I want to make a chocolate and cream cheese version of this. Is it possible? If yes, how much cocoa powder and cream cheese can I put in?

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