Buttercream icing is one of the most common icings for decorating cakes. You can use it to fill or spread over a cake, as well as to pipe decorations. Depending on how you are using the icing, you may need to adjust the thickness. For spreading on a cake, a slightly thinner consistency is easier to work with; if it is too thick, it won’t spread well. Piping decorations, on the other hand requires a thicker consistency. You can adjust the consistency by using more or less milk or adding more icing sugar.
Some buttercream recipes use all butter and no shortening. The reason for using shortening is that is has a higher melting point than butter. Buttercream made with shortening can withstand heat much better than buttercream made with all butter. If only butter is used, care must be taken to ensure the cake stays cool, otherwise the icing will most likely melt and ruin the cake decorations. Often people find that using all butter makes the icing melt too quickly in the mouth. It is all personal preference so if you prefer omitting the shortening and going all butter, go for it! Butter has a much better flavour than shortening, which is why you wouldn’t ever want to only use shortening in an icing recipe.
1/2 cup butter (113 g)
1/2 cup shortening (113 g)
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 cups icing sugar (420 g – 560 g)
2 tbsp. milk
Cream shortening and butter.
Slowly add sugar while continuing to beat.
Add milk and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.