Decorator's Buttercream Frosting

If you want the perfect decorating icing, with a nice texture, and great flavor, this is the best buttercream recipe I have found yet. I have tried many versions of decorating frosting, and I really do like this easy recipe. Many people who try it think that it is mousse rather than a shortening-based icing. There is also a chocolate version of this frosting posted here.

Decorator’s Buttercream Frosting
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature [1 cup]
1 cup vegetable shortening [1/2 cup]
1 tsp. salt [1/2 tsp]
1½-2 tsp. almond extract or pure vanilla extract [3/4-1 tsp]
3 lbs. (10-1/2 c.) powdered sugar [5-1/4 cups]
½ cup milk or water [1/4 cup]
3 Tb. meringue powder* [1-1/2 Tb]
Makes about 10 cups of frosting. [Amount in brackets makes about 4-1/2 cups, which will frost and decorate a 9-inch layer cake or 24 cupcakes.]

Cream butter and shortening together in a mixer using the cookie paddles. Add extract and blend well. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time. Add meringue powder and mix. The icing will look pretty dry at this point. Add the liquid and beat until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Add just a little more liquid one Tb. at a time until you get the right consistency for decorating. If it's too thin, add a little more powdered sugar instead.

This is a nice, stable frosting with the consistency of mousse, and the advantage is that it can stand at room temperature for several hours without spoiling or melting. If you are going to use it within a couple of hours, just put it in an airtight container on the counter, or in a cool location. You can refrigerate leftover frosting, but you should allow the frosting to sit out for a while and then rewhip the frosting before using it, in order to get the right consistency back.

Melinda's Notes: If you don't have meringue powder, the recipe still works, but not as well. The meringue gives the frosting a nice fluffy texture, and helps to stabilize it. If you make a lot of cakes, you should buy a can of meringue powder so you can make this frosting! You can find the powder online, or at any store that sells cake decorating supplies (even usually at Wal-Mart, though I hate to advertise for them).


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