Better buttercream frosting recipe?

Posted on: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 3:31pm
KSLaru's picture
Joined: 03/28/2008 - 10:08

I'm trying my hand at cake decorating for DD's 5th birthday party this weekend. Tonight I made the Wilton's buttercream frosting to try it out. I think it is awful! Does anyone have any other recipies they use? Is there any advantage to Wilton's recipe? Something redeeming since it is yucky?! DD is only PN allergic, but we avoid nuts.

What about canned frosting? Can those be used with the tips for cake decorating? If so, what would the consistancy out of the can be considered? What about whipping it before using...would that mess up the decorating?

One last question. DH picked up Tone's clear imitation vanilla. I looked online to find allergy info, but I couldn't even find the product at their website. Does anyone know much about their labeling or PN contamination?

Posted on: Thu, 05/15/2008 - 10:25pm
Newallergymom's picture
Joined: 03/09/2008 - 15:23

I always use to recipe on the back of the Domino Confectionary sugar box...I have used that my whole life...and have always had good luck with it. Unfortch, I dont have a box near me right now to read the recipe, but its on every box....good luck!

Posted on: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 2:20am
DinaT's picture
Joined: 02/21/2006 - 09:00

Wilton has a recipe for a decorator's buttercream on their website: [url=""]Wilton's buttercream recipe[/url]
You can use all butter and omit the shortening (if the cake won't be in a very hot location) You can use a hi-ratio shortening, like Sweetex, (also nut free)-- for a less waxy/greasy mouthfeel. If the buttercream is too sweet, you can add a pinch of salt, or use a stick of salted butter in place of one of the sticks of unsalted butter. You can also use heavy whipping cream in place of the milk for a richer taste. I've heard of using water and non-dairy powdered creamer in place of the milk. Do you have a stand mixer and scale at your disposal? I have a recipe from my days at culinary school that is very good as well -- uses evaporated milk -- very silky and some can be easily converted into rose icing.
For coloring the icing, I prefer to use airbrush colors, my favorite (and made in a nut free facility) are [url=""]Americolor's[/url] If you get into airbrushing your cakes, then you already have the airbrush colors!!
Check out as well -- they have lengthy discussions about the perfect buttercream icings, I've tried the [url=""]buttercream dream recipe[/url] , and it was pretty good from what I remember.

Posted on: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 2:41am
KSLaru's picture
Joined: 03/28/2008 - 10:08

Thanks DinaT!
I'll check out the other Wilton's recipe. I may try the heavy whipping cream, too - never thought of that! My mixer is just a very basic hand mixer, and I have an old scale that weighs ounces. So to convert to stiffer frosting, do you just add more sugar if it's too thin? I have heard of adding a little salt if it's too sweet.
Some Wilton colors came in my decorating kit, but I found some Cake Kraft locally yesterday. It seems I've read here they were safe. I'm a little intimidated by the idea of airbrushing as of now - still hoping I can made little stars and write steady letters!! :)
I looked at some of the Cake Kraft meringue powder, but it had a warning that seemed to be a "made in a plant" type warning and it listed just about all of the top allergens. I don't think I'll have a chance to do any of the Royal icing stuff this time around anyway.
One other thing, since you seem to be well versed in cake decorating....I was thinking of using a thick colorful ribbon around the side of the cake and some ribbon bows on top. Have you ever done something like that? I'm not sure how the ribbon would hold up against the butter in the frosting. Any suggestions?

Posted on: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 5:25am
DinaT's picture
Joined: 02/21/2006 - 09:00

You can make one batch of buttercream and then remove portions -- some for icing the cake, some to color for piping decorations (some of those food colors will thin your icing out -- that's why I like the airbrush colors) You certianly can add more powedered sugar (or liquid) to achieve desired consistency
If you want a really stiff icing for roses, take xx amount of your buttercream, then add additional powdered sugar (double the weight of the buttercream)+ shortening (half the weight of the buttercream), and an egg white (optional) -- this mixture you do not want aerated, so mix just until combined; it needs to be covered as it will dry out.
I also have a recipe for royal icing that uses powdered sugar, egg whites and cream of tartar (I don't like to post recipes, but can email them privately, as these are from a former chef instrucotr) [url=""]Ateco[/url] makes a meringue powder which is a repackaged Americolor product -- also manufacturered in PN/TN free facility.
You can get really creative with royal icing decorations: butterflies, lillies, etc. and "paste" them to your cake with buttercream.
For a ribbon -- I've seen many real ribbons on cakes covered in fondant, but I'm not sure how they would behave on a buttercream surface. Perhaps color some buttercream and pipe a ribbon or similar border on the cake? Practice on a metal cake pan with your tips before piping on the actual cake. Those wilton classes are great for just starting to learn decorating techniques (the books, too).

Posted on: Fri, 05/16/2008 - 11:04pm
KSLaru's picture
Joined: 03/28/2008 - 10:08

I hadn't even thought about this before, but I have an icing recipe that just has butter, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, and milk. If I make that thick enough, do you think it would work for decorating? I've only used it for sugar cookies. It seems to me it's the whole crisco aspect to the icing that makes it yucky! :) Is there a reason for the crisco? I looked at the Wilton website and found the other buttercream recipe, but it still seems to have a good amount of crisco.
I will try to PM you for the royal icing recipe.
I think I will cut some ribbon and stick it on some icing to see what happens. Good idea to try the side of a cake pan to practice. I plan to practice a bit before I start later today anyway. I also thought about using gift wrapping curly ribbon - that would eliminate the oil soaking into the ribbon.
The Wilton kit I bought had a book that seems to cover all the basics. I'm usually pretty good at self-teaching, but I think I may still want to take a class. I like the idea of butterflies and other fun stuff.

Posted on: Sat, 05/17/2008 - 1:15am
DinaT's picture
Joined: 02/21/2006 - 09:00

You certainly could make a buttercream with only butter -- the shortening helps with stability and makes piping easier. The heat from your hand can warm the buttercream in the piping bag, and you won't get your desired decoration. I know in the Wilton's class, they teach you to pipe with 100% shortening icing. If you use a high ratio shortening, you can scale back on the butter:shortening ratio, and it tastes (to me) better than crisco. I'm not a big fan of eating buttercream frosting -- just like fondant -- it looks pretty, but gets pushed to the side of the plate because it's too sweet. Unfortunately, when it comes to celebration cakes - it works best. When you get time to experiment, try out French, Swiss or Italian buttercreams -- takes a little more skill to make, but it may be another option for you.
When you're filling the cake layers -- you can also mix some preserves or jam, pastry cream, or whatever, with the buttercream to lighten it up and create a different flavor/texture.

Posted on: Tue, 05/20/2008 - 1:55pm
KSLaru's picture
Joined: 03/28/2008 - 10:08

So now that the big party is over, I have time to share what I used. I combined a couple recipies and ideas and hoped it would work out! I used the Wilton's recipe but changed from 1/2 cup shortening and butter to 1/4 cup shortening and 3/4 cup butter. There was also a "high humidity" icing recipe Wilton had online, which added 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 2 tablespoons milk (subbed in heavy whipping cream instead but needed to add a little more milk to thin it out). I was hoping the cornstarch would help to thicken and maybe not melt as easily with the extra butter. I have no idea what the consistencies should really feel like, but this turned out pretty stiff. The recipe was tripled due to the size of the cake, and then I added some of my original trial of the buttercream since I didn't know for sure how much I would really need.
I ended up with a lot of extra icing, but I didn't want to try to mix colors again to match. As it turns out, I needed a LOT of the red coloring to get a good red.
DD's only request was for an orange cake with yellow, orange, and red icing. I think it turned out great and she was very excited. I felt the hardest part was making the icing and mixing the colors. The actual piping was kinda fun and I practiced on wax paper before the actual cake. I found a great 2 inch wire edged ribbon in a translucent orange/yellow pattern that was perfect for around the side of the 2 layer cake. I used frosting to stick to the cake and it was a little greasy, but you couldn't really tell due to the type of ribbon.
For my first time, I was pretty happy with the cake, and if anyone is interested, I can try to figure out how to download a picture. :)

Posted on: Wed, 05/21/2008 - 11:55pm
cristym's picture
Joined: 11/19/2007 - 17:26

It sounds great! I am getting ready to try to whip up some frosting and cupcakes. There is a birthday in my sons class tomorow and I am sending in a cupcake for my son to eat while the other kids have birthday cake.
When I want to post a picture on a forum like this I use there are other sites that will up load them for you too, that is just the one I used I always use it.

Posted on: Thu, 05/22/2008 - 4:20am
DinaT's picture
Joined: 02/21/2006 - 09:00

Glad it went well -- feels very liberating, doesn't it?? And your cake probably tasted better than any store bought one. Would love to see the pics!!

Peanut Free Store

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