Recipe by Sarah Phillips and Tami Smith, Premium Member; Food styling and photos by Kelly Hong © 2000 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Variations: Almond or Citrus Tami's or Perfect Buttercream; Chocolate Tami's or Perfect Buttercream ; Coffee and Mocha Swirled Perfect Buttercream; Tami’s or Perfect Buttercream - Not as Sweet Version
We use this recipe with the Shabby Chic Rose Cake
This recipe is one of CraftyBaking.com's most popular recipes. Tami Smith, who used to contribute to this site, developed the recipe for the perfect buttercream for cakes. I tried it and I am thrilled to be able to share it with you. This can be used in warm weather if you use all shortening or part shortening instead of butter. The buttercream does NOT need refrigeration because of the sugar in the recipe; it acts as a preservative. NOTE: This icing doesn't crust, unless you add some meringue powder and/or use milk instead of heavy cream, it it won't taste as good because heavy cream cuts the sweetness. Goes great with the Ultimate Butter Cake or UBC Recipe. Try Tami’s or Perfect Buttercream - Not as Sweet Version!
FROSTING, ICING, ETC RECIPE HELP
While mixing frosting with powdered sugar, it is helpful to drape the mixer with a clean dishtowel, to prevent powdered sugar from flying out of the bowl and all over the counter and up your nose.
> Makes enough for 1, 9-inch 4 layer cake plus decoration or enough icing for a 18- x 13- inch pan with decorations. (Makes 8 cups)
For larger cakes you will need to double the batch (only if you have a 7 qt or 12 qt mixer) or make several batches.
2 cups Crisco Shortening (can use hi-ratio shortening, if desired) or butter
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup) butter, slightly soft but not mushy or shortening
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 pounds (8 cups) powdered sugar, sifted (measure, then sift)
2 tablespoons meringue powder, optional - add only if you want the buttercream to crust
> For 2 layers or 24 cupcake (Makes 4 cups):
1 cup Crisco Shortening (can use hi-ratio shortening, if desired) or butter
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter, slightly soft not mushy or shortening
2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) to 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted (measure than sift)
1 tablespoon meringue powder, optional - add only if you want the buttercream to crust
> For 1 layer or 12 cupcakes (makes 2 cups):
1/2 cup Crisco Shortening (can use hi-ratio shortening, if desired) or butter
1/4 stick butter (2 tablespoons), slightly soft not mushy or shortening
1 tablespoon to 2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 pound (2 cups) powdered sugar, sifted (measure than sift)
2 teaspoons meringue powder, optional - add only if you want the buttercream to crust
We used all-butter for this tutorial. This is the 6-cup recipe.
1. In your mixer bowl, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the shortening until it's smooth. Add the butter and beat together until smooth and light and fluffy.
2. Add smaller amount of the heavy cream indicated in the recipe and the vanilla and mix well.
3. Add half the powdered sugar and mix for 5 minutes on low-medium speed.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
4. Add the remaining sugar and mix well. Add more cream or powdered sugar if necessary to adjust the consistency.
5. Beat accordingly. For a super smooth (not fluffy) buttercream, beat on low to medium-low for about 2 to 3 minutes.
For a fluffier buttercream, beat the buttercream on a low - medium speed for another 5 to 10 minutes. This buttercream will be more white when it's beaten longer.
6. Use immediately; it's easiest to smooth out when it's fresh. I'm asked all the time about this icing crusting and how long it can be left out. So, it doesn't really crust, it will need smoothed with a hot knife if you want a super smooth surface. This is great because a cake can be done one night and the icing will still be creamy the next day for serving.
As for sitting out, I have left this buttercream in a tight tupperware for several days at room temperature, a week in the refrigerator or several months (3+) in the freezer without problems.
No matter how you store the buttercream, be sure to beat it vigorously with a heavy spoon before using to take away the spongy texture.
For a buttery buttercream: I wanted a good all-purpose frosting that was good enough for cupcakes, yet would hold up to a wedding cake in June and my buttercream icing isn't written into stone. I add enough butter to flavor the buttercream, but not enough so that it breaks down easily, perfect for a warm day. Adjust the shortening accordingly.
For a more "buttery" buttercream, use more butter in proportion to shortening, or even all butter. I like to use European butter and a smaller amount of powdered sugar when I make icing for cupcakes or for a simple after school "snack" cake, the kind you make in a square pan and just frost in the pan. That is my family's favorite snack and it always goes quickly.
Just use about 2 sticks of firm cold butter and beat in 1 pound of powdered sugar and add a pinch of salt, 1 tsp of vanilla and a little cream or milk to make a smooth consistency for a very buttery buttercream. It will be fine for a family cake, but it won't hold up for a large wedding type cake! And with too much decorating it will start to melt in the piping bag, especially if you have hot hand like I do!!
For warm weather: As a general rule, buttercream does not hold-up well in warm, humid weather. Tami's Buttercream will hold up better if you use all shortening instead of butter. (Substitute the butter in the recipe with shortening and in addition, add in the shortening called for in the recipe). Also, at most, substitute 1 tablespoon powdered sugar with meringue powder for every 1 cup powdered sugar used.
You control the consistency with the heavy cream, hold back 2 Tablespoons for more stiff, add 2 extra for a medium. I really don't like thin icing for anything and I rarely make it. In a beginner class it is easy to teach the three consistency rule, but in the real world cake decorators work with one....maybe two consistencies of icing. Over time you will develop a like for a certain icing. It will feel good in your hand, smooth nicely on the cake, and you will be comfortable decorating with it. Yes, perfect leaves are made with a thinner icing, and perfect roses are made with very stiff icing. But when you are making a cake and piping 200+ roses your arm will begin to SCREAM and your hand will want to fall off from the stiff icing. And if you make a big batch of thin icing, you won't be able to do much of anything with it. In the beginning-----learning how to tell the perfect consistency----you can make a stiff version of icing and pull about 2 cups out, then thin the rest to a more medium/stiff. That way you have the stiffer for roses, and the rest for the rest of your decorating. All in all.....it comes down to practice. My icing recipe is great, it ices over the cake nicely, it tastes great, it smooths evenly, and it does just about all decorating (except strings) without messing with it. Try the recipe as is and you should be fine!! Good Luck!! Tami
SKEEDADDLER, Premium Member, SAYS: "I have one little thing to add to this great recipe ! For really hot weather use pure white lard instead of Crisco! It is way more firm and doesn't melt very fast at all! I actually use the Walmart brand of shortening as it is about half lard! Works perfect in making a heat proof (well - more so!) buttercream frosting! I add some butter flavoring to help make up for the adulteration of the buttercream!! Not a secret I share with local bakers but you all are special and your site has saved me in the past!!
Almond or Citrus Flavors: Use 1 teaspoon of regular vanilla extract (beat longer so the color of the buttercream turns white)
PLUS 1/2 teaspoon of almond, lemon or orange extracts
PLUS 1 or more teaspoon orange, lemon or lime peel to match the extracts
Cupcakes and photo by odette © Sarah Phillips
For the 6 cup recipe: Melt 4 squares (ounces) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate. (3 cup recipe: Melt 2 squares. For the 1 1/2 cup recipe, melt 1 square.) Set aside to cool.
For the 6 cup recipe: Replace in 3 tablespoons powdered sugar with 3 tablespoons Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder for a dark buttercream color or cocoa powder, natural or Dutch-process for a lighter buttercream color. (3 cup recipe: Use 4 1/2 teaspoons. For the 2 1/4 cup recipe, use 3 teaspoons.) (Sift the cocoa powder after measuring and blend in with the first cup of powdered sugar).
In your mixer bowl, beat the shortening until it's smooth, add the butter and beat together until smooth and light and fluffy. Add smaller amount of the heavy cream indicated in the recipe and the vanilla and mix well.
Add half the powdered sugar and mix for 5 minutes on low-med. speed. Add remaining sugar and mix well. Add in the melted and cooled chocolate squares and beat until combined. If not chocolaty enough, add in 1 more melted chocolate square for the 6 cup recipe (or partial amounts for the 3 or 1 1/2 cup recipe.). Adjust consistency with more cream or powdered sugar.
Coffee and Mocha Swirled Perfect Buttercream
I made a coffee flavor variation, and added in chocolate to half of the recipe. Then, I swirled the two flavors together!
Tami's or Perfect Buttercream - Not as Sweet Version