How to make professional cake decorator buttercream icing

Written by cedar sanderson
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How to make professional cake decorator buttercream icing
Buttercream frosting tastes as good as it looks. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Buttercream frosting is rich, sweet and well-suited for decorating cakes and pastries. Decorator's frosting must be able to keep its shape as it dries slightly to prevent heat or humidity from ruining it. Buttercream for decorators must be very stiff, and although it can be made by hand, a mixer will make the job easier. Buttercream will naturally be an ivory colour unless clear vanilla is used, and that can be found in most speciality kitchen shops.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 0.454kg. confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 to 3 tbsp cream

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  1. 1

    Cream the butter and shortening together in the mixer bowl at low speed. Add the vanilla.

    How to make professional cake decorator buttercream icing
    Vanilla adds a subtle flavour. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Add the sugar slowly into the bowl while the mixer is running, allowing the sugar to thoroughly incorporate into the butter. Scrape the sides as needed. This mixture should be very stiff.

    How to make professional cake decorator buttercream icing
    An electric mixer makes it easier. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)
  3. 3

    Add cream 1 tbsp at a time to soften the mixture slightly. The mixture should still be stiff. If it gets too thin, add more confectioners' sugar.

  4. 4

    Remove frosting from bowl. Cover tightly in storage container and refrigerate. Frosting will keep up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Tips and warnings

  • Add food colouring to small quantities of icing if you want to accent the white frosting with coloured decorations.

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