Sweet Recipe: Better-Than-Buttercream Cake Frosting

23 Mar

This recipe is second nature to some folks and a completely foreign concept to others. For me, it represents dozens upon dozens of afternoons spent standing on a milk stool beside my mother, watching her pipe the perfectly whipped icing from masking-tape-covered parchment bags…waiting, longing, PRAYING for that highly coveted phrase to pass her lips: “Okay…stick your finger out.”

The best thing about this recipe is that unlike buttercream, which becomes too sweet and rich almost from the first bite, this frosting has just exactly the perfect balance of sweetness, saltiness, “shortness”, and flavor. (Which means you can eat like a pint of it without blinking. Gluttons rejoice!)

Vegetable shortening makes the best frosting EVER.

Based on vegetable shortening, this simple creamy icing is a breeze to whip up, spreads beautifully as a crumb coat, and pipes beautifully from decorators’ tips. It can also stop bullets, cure cancer, and even come between Brooke Shields and her Calvins. (Probably. I’m not sure.)

Better taste it. For quality control.

Here’s what you need:

  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons water

In a mixing bowl, combine shortening, milk, vanilla and salt. Beat until creamy.

A wee bit of food coloring gel goes a long way.

Gradually add confectioners’ sugar (about 2 cups at a time), beating well between additions. Once all of the powdered sugar is in corporated, you may need a small amount (1-3 tablespoons) of water beat in to reach a perfect consistency, depending on your needs.

Add any desired food coloring or extract flavoring and beat until well mixed. Refrigerate unused frosting with plastic wrap plastered down right on the top layer of the frosting in the bowl, or cover piping tip and store chilled in parchment bag for up to a week or so.

You might want to make some extra. Just because.

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