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Light and fluffy crusting vanilla buttercream frosting that forms a “crust” to help withstand heat.
When I was little my dad used to say, “I’m just going to buy you a tub of icing and stick a candle in it.” As a kid, that would have been my ultimate dream. And even to this day, I’m more in love with icing than the cake, but that’s what makes the cake so good right? And, this crusting vanilla buttercream frosting definitely makes any cake delicious.
When I met my husband, I noticed he would only eat the cake and scrape off the icing. At first, I was in horror. How could you scrape off all that goodness? Then I figured it could work out in my favor. So now I get extra icing with every piece of cake.
Crusting Buttercream Frosting
The term “crusting” buttercream is referring to the crust that it makes after it sets up. The crusting vanilla buttercream frosting will form a “crust” and while it is light, soft and fluffy to eat, it is much easier to decorate. It pairs perfectly with my white cake from scratch.
Also, if you live in let’s say Louisiana, you know heat. This vanilla crusting buttercream frosting has a bit of shortening that helps it stand up against heat. I’ll never forget making my son’s first birthday cake for his party, which happens to be in August. Unfortunately, it was not a crusting buttercream and the icing slid off the cake. I was running around like a mad woman back and forth to the refrigerator to check on the cake. From then on, I’ve used this vanilla crusting buttercream frosting when decorating cakes, especially when it needs to withstand heat. If you want a buttercream without shortening, you can use my vanilla buttercream frosting that I’ve used to make sugar cookie bars.
Piping & Smoothing
This icing is really easy to pipe. I place a large disposable icing bag into a tall cup. Drop a icing tip down into the bag and then fill up the bag with icing. Then I simply cut the bottom of the bag to allow the tip to drop into place. After you twist the top of the bag, you are ready to go. If you need practice piping, you can always pipe directly onto a sheet of parchment paper before piping onto the cake.
Smoothing cakes takes time and practice. I intentionally left the cake below a bit rustic and unfinished. I’m sure you have seen all the Pinterest perfect cakes that are so smooth that you can’t even tell it’s buttercream frosting. Guess what? Life has bumps in the road and sometimes frosting has some bumps. I bet the frosting still tastes amazing, right?
Hot Knife Technique
If I want a more smooth finish, I use the hot knife technique below. This takes time so be patient.
- First, fill a cup with really hot tap water. You can also use water that has come to a boil. I use an insulated cup so that it stays hot.
- Then dip your offset spatula in the hot water and wipe off the excess with a paper towel.
- Gently smooth out any bumps with your offset spatula making sure to clean your spatula between each swipe.
- Repeat until you are satisfied with your results.
Here are a few supplies I used to make the frosting:
Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer
Offset Spatula (for smoothing)
Disposable Piping Bags (for piping)
- 1 1/2 sticks of butter 169g
- 1/2 cup of shortening 102g
- 2 lb of powdered sugar 907g
- 1/2 cup of milk 115g
- 1 tbsp of vanilla
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and shortening on medium speed until smooth and creamy (2-3 minutes).
- Add half of the powdered sugar and beat of low speed for 30 seconds.
- Add a 1/4 cup of the milk and mix on low.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar and milk.
- Add vanilla.
- Mix on low for 30 seconds and gradually increase the speed to high and beat for 2 minutes.
- If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If is it too thick, add more milk.
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