Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial}

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Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.Improving American Buttercream:
Best Ever American Buttercream

Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

My dear friends, today I am picking up right where I left off last spring by sharing yet another buttercream recipe as a part of Wicked Good Kitchen’s popular buttercream series, Best Ever American Buttercream.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

Originally, this recipe was planned last year for the month of May for my patriotic layer cake for both Memorial Day and Independence Day or 4th of July. However, soon I will be showing you how to make a unique buttercream, based on this buttercream, for an upcoming special occasion layer cake to be featured on the blog.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

First, before we get started with the actual tutorial, let’s discuss the problems with Classic American Buttercream, also known as Simple or Basic American Buttercream, for those who have complaints. For all others, enjoy your favorite recipe!

Most who do not care for American Buttercream will readily tell you the following:

  • It’s way too sweet.
  • It’s just too gritty.
  • It’s too heavy.

Frank and honest, these folks know what they are talking about. They much prefer European buttercreams because they are rich and silky without being greasy or too cloyingly sweet and melt ethereally on the tongue. European buttercreams are indeed sublime.

Having aired the dirty laundry of American Buttercream when standard recipes call to cream the butter and/or shortening with confectioners’ sugar, also known as powdered sugar (for my international readers), I am here to tell you that making a true American Buttercream that is rich and silky without being greasy, is definitely not too sweet and melts on the tongue, is entirely possible. And, it can be made in record time…like within 25 minutes! No, you are not dreaming.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

Secondly, let’s discuss what a “true” American Buttercream is or should be.

What is American Buttercream, exactly?

As mentioned above, the two main complaints with American Buttercream are that the classic version is often found to be both too gritty and too sweet. Other complaints are that American Buttercream is too heavy and not creamy and light like European Buttercreams. However, many of us adore our American Buttercream and are quite nostalgic about it. So, giving up on it is not a consideration.

Due to the problems mentioned above, American Style Buttercream has never been recognized as an outstanding or sophisticated choice to frost layer cakes by upscale or high-end bakeries. These bakeries as well as serious bakers prefer European Buttercreams with Swiss Meringue Buttercream being the hands down favorite…for good reason. I am a huge fan myself!

Luckily, these problems can easily be remedied by employing a new technique using the same ingredients found in American Buttercream yet remain true to it by keeping it “authentic”.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

Now, let’s outline below the 7 Hallmarks of Classic American Buttercream to include the standard fat to sugar ratio:

  • It must be made with all or part butter.* Butter is a required ingredient in order to be called a buttercream and the ratio of butter to shortening, if used, should be 1:1.
  • The standard ingredients ratio of fat to sugar is: for every 4 ounces (1 stick) of butter, 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar is used.
  • There must be no cooking involved. Boiling water as a standalone ingredient is different.
  • It must not contain whole eggs, egg yolks or egg whites.
  • Furthermore, it must not contain meringue powder or dried egg white powder. If meringue power is used, it should be called Stabilized American Buttercream. (More on this in another post.)
  • It must be made with confectioners’ sugar, also known as powdered sugar, not with granulated sugar.
  • It is acceptable to thin and smooth American Buttercream with milk, half and half or heavy cream. Customarily, up to 4 tablespoons or ¼ cup is recommended per 1 cup of fat. Corn syrup (invert sugar or inverted sugar syrup) is used in Decorator’s Buttercream recipes, usually not in Classic American Buttercream. In this case, we will be using boiling water to make an emulsion in lieu of creaming the fats and sugar or using dairy to thin and smooth the buttercream.

*Note: Whether buttercream with no butter or a butter equivalent can rightly be called buttercream is debated among bakers, pastry chefs and cake decorators.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

Since we have outlined what I call the 7 Hallmarks of Classic American Buttercream, let’s talk about my “secret ingredients” or “secret weapons” when making Best Ever American Buttercream, how they contribute and why I use less sugar—like half the amount.

Secret Ingredient No. 1: Palm Shortening
Secret Ingredient No. 2: Water

Palm Shortening vs. Crisco® or High-Ratio Shortening

Hands down, my choice of shortening when making Classic American Buttercream, for Best Ever American Buttercream, is palm shortening and my favorite brand is Spectrum®. Spectrum® brand Organic Shortening lends a rich and creamy texture just like butter and emulsifies very well. It is never greasy on the tongue like Crisco® can be. Not only that, palm shortening is organic, non-gmo and non-hydrogenated while containing zero trans fats. Furthermore, it contains nutrients and therefore is not just empty calories like other fats that are highly processed. As a bonus, especially for those who are dairy intolerant and therefore must avoid butter, Spectrum® brand Organic Butter Flavor Shortening is available. See the Notes section below the recipe for the variation for Dairy and Soy Free American Buttercream.

Nutrient-Rich Palm Fruit Oil or Shortening is Good For You

Before going into the nutrition of palm fruit oil or shortening, it is first important to differentiate between palm fruit oil and palm kernel oil. Palm fruit oil is pressed from the flesh of the palm fruit. This oil consists of equal parts saturated and unsaturated oils as well as a host of nutrients. When non-hydrogenated, it is free of trans fats.

On the other hand, palm kernel oil is made from the seed or kernel of the palm fruit. The kernels are removed from the fruit and pressed for the rich oil they produce. In stark contrast to palm fruit oil, palm kernel oil consists of 85% saturated fats and can raise cholesterol levels.

As for nutrition, palm fruit oil when made from red palm fruit is an excellent source of beta-carotene and Vitamin E in the forms of tocotrienol and tocopherals. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, beta-carotene and Vitamin E are fat-soluble antioxidants that destroy free radicals. Free radicals are believed to contribute to a number of conditions including heart disease.

By increasing your intake of beta-carotene and Vitamin E, free radicals can be prevented from destroying cells through oxidation and helps heart health. Furthermore, according to Dr. Timothy S. Harlan, M.D., of Ask Dr. Gourmet for Sur la Table, early research shows that palm fruit oil has similar effects on cholesterol profiles (total cholesterol, HDL and LDL cholesterol) as olive oil. Imagine that!

Spectrum® Organic Palm Shortening

My Top 10 Reasons for Using Spectrum® Organic Palm Shortening:

  • It is all-natural
  • It is organic
  • It is non-gmo
  • It is non-hydrogenated
  • It has zero trans fats
  • It has a creaminess and mouth feel like butter
  • It is never greasy tasting
  • It is non-dairy and a butter flavor variety is available
  • It is nutritious
  • It tastes great and performs well in classic recipes

What exactly is high-ratio shortening?

High-ratio shortening is made of partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils with emulsifiers added. The emulsifiers allow baking or buttercream recipes to hold more sugar and liquid. For cakes, high-ratio shortening provides a fine crumb texture and helps keep them moist. For buttercreams, it stabilizes for warmer weather while providing a creamy consistency for a less greasy mouth feel.

High-ratio shortening is used by commercial bakeries and popular brands are Alpine, CK Products and Sweetex. There are even more commercially made shortenings available, however Sweetex Z is made with no hydrogenated oils, has zero trans fats and, I believe, is made from 100% palm oil. High-ratio shortening is sold in small 3-pound tubs for home or small batch use and large 50-pound tubs for commercial use.

Why don’t I recommend high-ratio shortening, you ask?

Well, I have worked with it once and understand why so many bakers and cake decorators swear by it and enjoy working with it. They all appreciate the fact that high-ratio shortening emulsifies and stabilizes their buttercreams while providing a creamy texture and, therefore, wonderful mouth feel.

However, due to high-ratio shortening containing trans fats and usually soy (soybean oil), in addition to the additives mono and diglycerides (made from soybean oil, cottonseed oil or sunflower seed oil) as well as being processed on equipment with several known food allergens such as wheat, milk, eggs, soy, peanuts and tree nuts, and because I am an all-natural baker taking food allergens into account, I no longer work with it or recommend it. In fact, it is also important to note that soy is known to be an endocrine (hormone) disruptor, which can be dangerous to human health.

Please read Dr. Mercola’s article, Soy is an Endorine Disruptor and Can Disrupt Your Child’s Health. As you will read at the bottom of Dr. Mercola’s article, with a link provided, even the U.S. Government recommends against soy products.

Did You Know?

Crisco® Vegetable Shortening is 12% micro hydrogen bubbles giving the shortening an attractive white, creamy, and light appearance that would otherwise be clear, heavy and unappealing to the eye.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

A Note About Water

Finally, water is my second secret ingredient. Boiling water is used in the first step of making Best Ever American Buttercream to help dissolve the sugar and create an emulsion (see “What’s an Emulsion?” below) to stabilize the buttercream. This buttercream is very soft and light and is not a “crusting buttercream” for use in decorating cakes where such a buttercream is desired for the “Viva method” of smoothing it.

A Note About Sugar

As mentioned above, we will be using confectioners’ sugar, also known as powdered sugar. For this recipe for Best Ever American Buttercream, I only recommend 100% pure cane sugar such as by C&H® or Domino® and I use half the standard amount to make it less sweet. If the package does not state “pure cane sugar” then the confectioners’ sugar is made from beets. In my opinion, 100% pure cane sugar dissolves and caramelizes better than beet sugar. Therefore, Classic American Buttercream will be markedly less gritty when using 100% pure cane confectioners’ sugar.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

Anatomy and Types of Buttercreams

Buttercream is a common and popular filling, frosting, icing or topping for butter cakes, cupcakes and sponge cakes. Flavorings and colorings such as extracts or oils are often added. Chocolate, citrus zest, fruit purées, juices and sauces, or liqueurs are often used to flavor buttercream.

At a cool temperature, some buttercream icings can form a thin crust after prolonged time, which prevents sticking. Of course, this is due to the high sugar content. To prevent crusting, invert sugars are generally added. In general, compared to other buttercreams, simple or American Buttercream has a high sugar content making it the sweetest of all buttercreams.

Meringue-based buttercreams are light and creamy in texture and balanced between sweetness and richness. They are also easy to work with when frosting and decorating cakes with piping work.

Not as widely known and used but just as delicious and satisfying is German Buttercream, which is a custard-based buttercream best suited as a filling or icing, but not decorations.

American Buttercream: Classically made by creaming butter and confectioners’ sugar, also known as powdered sugar. Typically, twice as much sugar (by weight) as butter is used making this buttercream especially sweet. This buttercream is often thinned with a small amount of milk, half and half cream, heavy cream or corn syrup. Boiling water can be used to create an emulsion for a creamy, light and silky texture making it similar to European buttercreams but without all the fuss. Also known as Easy Buttercream, Simple Buttercream, Decorator’s Buttercream or Decorator’s Frosting. Although not considered a “true” buttercream by some, I beg to differ.

French Buttercreams: As an uncooked meringue-based buttercream, the meringue is made by whipping egg whites, cream of tartar and caster sugar until stiff, glossy peaks form. When used as a base in making buttercream, the meringue remains uncooked before adding the butter and flavoring (extracts or oils). However, classically, French Buttercream is made the same way as Italian Buttercream except egg yolks are used versus egg whites. Some versions call for whole eggs or a mixture of whole eggs and yolks. Next, hot sugar syrup that has reached soft-ball stage is beaten into the egg yolks which have first been beaten until thick and pale yellow. The syrup and yolk mixture is whipped further until it has cooled and formed a light foam before adding the butter and flavorings (extracts or oils). French Buttercream tends to melt faster than other buttercreams making it best suited as a filling than for decorations. Of course, this is due to its high fat content from the egg yolks and butter. French Buttercream is also referred to as Common Buttercream or Pâte à Bombe based buttercream.

Italian Buttercream: A cooked meringue-based buttercream, where the meringue is made with the addition of sugar syrup heated to soft-ball stage (118ºC, 240ºF) to whipped egg whites at soft peak stage. The sugar syrup cooks the egg whites, heating them well past 60ºC or 140ºF. The meringue must be cooled before adding the butter and flavoring (extracts or oils). Buttercream prepared by using this method is often referred to Mousseline Buttercream.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream: A cooked meringue-based buttercream, where the meringue is prepared by cooking the egg whites and sugar together in a bowl placed on a pot of boiling water. The mixture is whisked while it cooks. Once the temperature of the mix reaches 60ºC or 140º to 160ºF, and the sugar granules are dissolved (they dissolve at 140ºF), it is removed from the heat and whipped at high speed until it forms stiff peaks and has cooled. As with Italian Buttercream, the meringue must be cooled before adding the butter and flavoring (extracts or oils).

German Buttercream: A custard-based buttercream, prepared by beating together prepared pastry cream (a thick custard) and softened butter. It is sweetened with extra confectioners’ sugar. Like French Buttercream, this icing is very rich and smooth. Due to its high fat content, it is best suited as a filling or an icing but not decorations. German Buttercream is also known as Bavarian Buttercream, Crème Mousseline or Light Buttercream.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

Tips For Handling and Storing Buttercreams

Most buttercreams can be left at room temperature without melting. When buttercreams are made with shortening and a high sugar content, they withstand warmer temperatures better than those made with butter alone.

When frosting a cake with buttercream, it is best to work with the buttercream when it is soft and spreadable.

In a warm kitchen or on a hot day, it is best to use chilled hands when handling a pastry bag as warm hands can melt the buttercream.

Cooling or chilling buttercream will cause it to harden. For instance, if a frosted cake is chilled the buttercream may crack and flake.

If not using immediately, buttercream can be refrigerated for up to 1 to 2 weeks in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature before beating smooth again.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

All right. Here’s a little food science for you…

What is an emulsion?

In culinary arts, an emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that normally do not mix well such as oil and vinegar. However, emulsions are part of a more general class of two-phase systems of matter called colloids. Although the terms colloid and emulsion are sometimes used interchangeably, emulsion should be used when both the dispersed and the continuous phase are liquids. In an emulsion, one liquid (the dispersed phase) is dispersed in the other (the continuous phase). The word “emulsion” comes from the Latin word for “to milk”, as milk is an emulsion of fat and water, among other components.

A good example of an emulsion is salad dressing. However, there are stable (permanent) and unstable (temporary) emulsions. Our Best Ever American Buttercream is considered an unstable or temporary emulsion—even though I have found it not to break, separate or weep after frosting a cake and storing it in a cake dome at room temperature for several days. For Stabilized American Buttercream, stay tuned to the blog for a future recipe in the buttercream series.

Here’s a quick Q & A I put together from several sources to quickly answer your questions.

Q: What is an emulsifier or emulsifying agent called when used to stabilize food?
A: Liaison.

Q: What is a surfactant?
A: Surfactant is short for surface active agent.

Q: What’s the deal with “surface” and “surfactants”?
A: Surface tension, that’s what. 😉

Q: What’s surface tension?
A: Surface tension is actually a theory. According to this theory, emulsification takes place by reduction of interfacial tension between two phases.

Q: What is a stable emulsion?
A: An appropriate “surface active agent” or surfactant can increase the kinetic stability of an emulsion so that the size of the droplets does not change significantly over time. It is then said to be stable.

Q: What in an unstable emulsion?
A: Since emulsion stability refers to the ability of an emulsion to resist change in its properties over time, an emulsion is deemed unstable when the ingredients change over time as in breaking apart or separating.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

Now that you know a bit about emulsions and emulsifiers, check out common ingredients used to emulsify European buttercreams.

Emulsifiers and Stabilizers Used in European Buttercreams:
Albumen (egg whites)
Casein (dairy milk, cream, cheeses or nonfat milk powders)
Invert Sugar (cooked sugars, sucrose or glucose, in the form of syrup or corn syrup)
Glycerol (glycerin or glycerine)
Gums (guar, xanthan, etc.)
High-Ratio Shortening (containing mono and diglycerides)
Lecithin (egg yolks or derived from plant sources such as soybean or sunflower)

Good examples of common everyday food emulsions, both water-in-oil (less common in food) and oil-in-water:

Water-in-Oil:
Butter – an emulsion of water in butterfat
Margarine – an emulsion of water in fats

Oil-in-Water:
Homogenized Milk – an emulsion of milk fat in water and milk proteins
Mayonnaise – an emulsion stabilized with egg yolk lecithin
Hollandaise Sauce – an emulsion stabilized with egg yolk lecithin
Vinaigrette – an unstable emulsion of vegetable oil in vinegar

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

Esteemed cookbook author and food chemist extraordinaire, Shirley Corriher, employs both corn syrup (invert sugar) and Crisco® with emulsifiers in her recipe for Basic Confectioners’ Sugar Buttercream, a type of an American Buttercream, in her cookbook, BakeWise, on page 148. Essentially, Shirley was using these ingredients to create an effective emulsion. She goes on to explain quite a bit about emulsions on page 210 in her book as well. I will leave some excerpts from Shirley for my next tutorial on buttercreams because this one is already kind of out of control! 😉

Well, that is a wrap to an impromptu Buttercream 101!

Is it all starting to make sense as you remember making European buttercreams? If you’ve never made a European buttercream, does this information help and make sense as to how they are prepared and emulsified?

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

It was important to include descriptions of all the types of buttercreams in this post so those who are new to them can make a comparison when making our Best Ever American Buttercream and the European buttercreams. For those who are not new to them, you truly will not believe how good this buttercream is and how well it stacks up with European buttercreams!

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

Meanwhile, I cannot wait to share yet another extraordinary buttercream recipe with you soon which was given to me by a close friend of the family when I graduated from high school. Linda was a friend of my Mom’s and my sister and I were lucky enough to have her bake our cakes for our graduation parties. Her family once owned a bakery and it was their signature icing for cakes. When I post this recipe, I will definitely share a photo of me cutting into the graduation cake that Linda baked for me.

Until then, here is a photo of me (scanned) that The Big Lug took when I was decorating a tiered baby shower cake for my best friend who was expecting a baby girl in 1994. The cake was a special chocolate cake and the buttercream recipe was Linda’s recipe.

Decorating Tiered Baby Shower Cake - Spring 1994

Do take note, however. See those burst air bubbles in the buttercream? Let it be a lesson to not overbeat your buttercream and incorporate too much air! Also, notice my slightly bulging tiers? I will show you in a future post how to prevent this.

 

Decorated Tiered Baby Shower Cake - 1994

My friend specified that she wanted a simply decorated cake with no pink flowers, only coral, peach or ballet pink, with ivory satin ribbons streaming down onto the table. I’m not sure where she got the idea from, but I simply asked the florist to make them and fashion them onto the nosegay at the top. If you look closely, you will see the silver barbell-shaped baby rattle I had inscribed and nestled securely into the top.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

What makes our Best Ever American Buttercream wicked good? It just is. Trust us here at Wicked Good Kitchen! Why would we lie? Whip up a batch and find out yourself. You will not regret it. I promise.

This recipe is dedicated to my friend, Terri. She loves American Buttercream and white cake. Admittedly, she craves good frostings made from the very best of ingredients like I do. I just know she’s going to love this recipe!

You will love this recipe, too. Don’t forget to scroll down past the recipe for the tutorial complete with step-by-step photos and directions.

Bon appétit!

xo,

stacysig

 

 

 

Sources: LiveStrong.com, Sur la Table (Ask Dr. Gourmet) and Wikipedia.org.

Below are Pinterest-friendly sized images to pin at Pinterest!

Best Ever American Buttercream by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes. Tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! Tutorial complete with step-by-step photos. | dessert filling frosting recipe

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

Best Ever American Buttercream

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: Makes about 4½ cups buttercream; enough to fill and frost two 9-inch layer cakes or three 8-inch layer cakes.

Best Ever American Buttercream

Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (480 grams) 100% pure cane confectioners’ sugar, such as C&H® or Domino®, spooned into cup and leveled off, sifting not necessary
  • ½ cup (120 ml) boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract, such as Nielsen-Massey®
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure almond extract, such as Nielsen-Massey®
  • ½ cup (1 stick/113 grams) salted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (192 grams) organic palm shortening, such as Spectrum®, at room temperature

Directions

Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, place confectioners’ sugar into work bowl. Carefully pour boiling water over confectioners’ sugar in a steady stream with mixer on low speed (stir). Increase mixer speed to medium and beat, scraping down sides of bowl with rubber spatula, until sugar dissolves, mixture is smooth and cooled to room temperature, about 4 minutes. Add extracts and mix until well blended.

Add butter and shortening and beat on low (stir), scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, until creamy and almost fully incorporated, about 2 minutes. Gradually increase mixer speed to medium and continue beating until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary with rubber spatula, about 10 minutes. (Beating buttercream on low and medium speeds will prevent it from incorporating too much air causing too many air bubbles.) If desired, tint buttercream with food coloring paste as suggested below in the Notes section.

Recipe Notes

All-Natural Variations:

To Make Dairy and Soy Free American Buttercream: Omit butter and use natural butter-flavored palm shortening by Spectrum Organics® by measuring 192 grams or 1 cup to replace the butter. Add a few pinches of salt to water and sugar mixture before adding extracts to compensate for the salt in the omitted salted butter.

To Make Ultra White American Buttercream: Omit butter and use all palm shortening (2 cups or 384 grams) and add a few pinches of salt to water and sugar mixture before adding extracts to compensate for the salt in the omitted salted butter. Add clear butter flavoring and clear vanilla flavoring of your choice. (This, however, will not make an all-natural buttercream.)

To Make Rich Vanilla Bean American Buttercream: Reduce pure vanilla extract to 2 teaspoons and add the pulp of one large, plump, split vanilla bean.

To Make Natural “Crème Bouquet” Flavored American Buttercream: If desired, omit almond extract. Add ¼ teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia ("Flowers of Sicily" vanilla and citrus flavoring extract) by King Arthur Flour. Alternatively, add fine-quality pure lemon and/or orange extracts, about ¼ teaspoon total, or to taste.

To Make Natural Tinted American Buttercream: Use favorite colors of all-natural, organic and kosher food coloring pastes such as ChefMaster®. I purchase mine from The Baker’s Kitchen.

Tips:

If not using immediately, keep bowl covered tightly to keep buttercream from drying before frosting cake or cupcakes.

Buttercream can be refrigerated for up to 1 week in an airtight container. Storing longer than this is not recommended due to the dairy content. Before using, bring to room temperature before beating smooth again.

If using the buttercream to pipe details, be sure to use chilled hands when handling pastry bag as warm hands can easily melt the buttercream.

This buttercream will last for up to 3 days at room temperature when on a frosted cake, covered.

Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com

Copyright © Wicked Good Kitchen. All content and images are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words. Alternatively, link back to this post for the recipe.

http://wickedgoodkitchen.com/best-ever-american-buttercream/

Step-by-Step Tutorial for Best Ever American Buttercream

Including Recommended Brands

Spectrum® Organic Palm Shortening

This shortening is phenomenal. I highly recommend Spectrum® Organic Palm Shortening.

Fiori di Sicilia by King Arthur Flour

Fiori di Sicilia extract by King Arthur Flour, also known as the “flowers of Sicily”, adds a splash of citrus and vanilla to brighten the flavor profile of any buttercream. A little goes a long way so stay within the recommended guidelines in measuring for recipes. It is an all natural way to create the popular flavor of Crème Bouquet favored by cake decorators and their clients. Keep this extract refrigerated after opening to keep the oils from going rancid.

ChefMaster® Natural Food Coloring

ChefMaster® Natural Paste Food Colorings are an excellent way to tint your buttercreams naturally without adding a tremendous amount of liquid. I like to use toothpicks to transfer the coloring to the buttercream in the work bowl. It keeps mess to a minimum.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

The first step is to weigh or measure the confectioners’ sugar and place it into the work bowl. The bonus of this recipe is there is no need to sift the confectioners’ sugar. This really cuts down on the usual *poof* of white sugar creating a layer of dust in the kitchen!

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.This is the magical step…adding boiling water to the confectioners’ sugar. This creates a “sugar slurry” wherein the boiling water helps to dissolve the sugar before adding the fats and extracts to effectively create an emulsion which ensures an especially creamy texture. It’s magic because this step prevents a gritty buttercream for an exceptional mouth feel similar to European buttercreams.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.

In this photo, you get a good glimpse of what the “sugar slurry” looks like.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.Here, I am adding the pure vanilla extract to the “sugar slurry”.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.This photo was included to show you just how runny the “sugar slurry” actually is. But, do not fear! Once the fats are beaten into the buttercream, it magically turns into a creamy, rich and silky frosting. You will love it!

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.This photo shows the weighing of the palm shortening in grams for exacting accuracy. When we were first married, The Big Lug gave me this highly accurate scale used in labs. It came with two weights to calibrate it. I rely on it immensely when developing recipes. Once you get past the initial fear or unfamiliarity in using a scale to weigh ingredients for baking, you will soon learn to rely on your scale, appreciate the ease of use and will be extremely happy with successful baking results.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.As you can see here, our butter is softened to room temperature and cut into cubes. It is important to have the butter at room temperature, but not be too soft, to effectively create an emulsion. Notice that the butter doesn’t look melty at all. On the other hand, if the butter is too cold, your buttercream mixture will stay curdled after beating. Because the fats (both the butter and shortening) are at room temperature, they can liquify and merge in with the water and sugar mixture once mechanically assisted to do so with the mixer. I like to set my butter out the night before by unwrapping the sticks, sitting them on a small plate and covering it. This way, I am ready to make buttercream in the morning without delay.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.Here, I have scooped up the softened, room temperature butter with my spatula.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.Now I am placing the softened butter into the “sugar slurry” in the mixer’s work bowl.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.This photo shows both sticks of softened butter inside the mixer’s work bowl.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.Next, in goes the palm shortening after weighing or measuring as accurately as possible by volume with a dry measuring cup.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.Now we are ready to slowly beat the fats into the “sugar slurry” for a sublime buttercream.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.As you can see here, the buttercream mixture will look a bit rough at the start. It is very important to resist the temptation to hurry the buttercream along by cranking up your mixer’s speed. Don’t do it! If so, you will incorporate too much air creating undesirable air bubbles.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.Be patient and allow the mixer to do its job in creating a nice emulsion over time on low and medium speeds, about 10 minutes.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.Here, I wanted to stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and to show you how curdled the buttercream mixture looks at this stage. Don’t worry…it will all come together!

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.As you can see here, the buttercream mixture is starting to emulsify or come together.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.Now, the mixture is starting to look nice and creamy.

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.Looking creamier…

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.And, creamier…

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.And, creamier…

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.And, creamier still…

Best Ever American Buttercream {a tutorial} by WickedGoodKitchen.com ~ Creamy, silky, light, never gritty, greasy or oily, melts on the tongue and not too sweet…the perfect American Buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes! Learn the secret ingredients and easy technique in our step-by-step tutorial complete with photos. You are going to love this one…it tastes just like it came from an upscale bakery! All-natural, egg and soy free.And, here is our finished creamy Best Ever American Buttercream! You did it. Wasn’t it incredibly easy with minimal effort? Ready in just 25 minutes and the taste and silky texture are truly extraordinary!

About Stacy

Stacy Bryce is a recipe developer and member of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals). Her passion is developing original conventional baking recipes as well as special diet recipes to include dairy-free, gluten-free and grain-free. You can follow Stacy at Pinterest.

Comments

  1. Thanks for this detailed tutorial – I’m not a baker but I have dreams that one day I’ll be able to decorate a beautiful cake like you!
    Jeanette | Jeanette’s Healthy Living recently posted…Kale Guacamole RecipeMy Profile

    • My pleasure, girl. Thanks for the sweet compliments. This is a very easy buttercream recipe and virtually no-fail. I hope you will try it one day soon. Thanks for dropping by and have a great week!

  2. Love your very thorough tutorials Stacy! I’ve also been wondering what’s a good substitute for Crisco and will definitely give your suggestion a try. Looks fantastic!
    Maria | Pink Patisserie recently posted…Salted Dark Chocolate Pear SconesMy Profile

    • Thank you, Maria! You will enjoy working with palm shortening. Its performance in traditional recipes is stellar. From flaky pie crust pastry to buttercreams and cookies, its incredible. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week, my friend!

  3. I have to admit, I have always thought American Buttercream was way too sweet – and I also have to admit I never really knew much about “Nutrient-Rich Palm Fruit Oil”, Stacy – thanks so much for this info and this tutorial! I am so fascinated by your buttercream – I wish I could grab a fingerfull through the screen! Btw – that’s a gorgeous gorgeous cake you are decorating for you best friend – she is a “wickedly” lucky gal!

    • Thank you, Shashi! You will love this version of American Buttercream. It’s so impressive yet so easy to whip up and sample (repeatedly!) from the spoon. I hope you will try it soon. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

  4. Aaaah, the butter cream looks so divine. You look so so pretty, the bubbles really didn’t matter, I didn’t see them.
    Although I started out not loving the American Buttercream, now that my little one is a big fan of it, I’ve started to enjoy it. Your tedious and meticulous explanation is just amazing. You are the queen of cakes and Frosting. No one to beat that. I am sure gonna try this one.
    Happy Week my lovely friend.
    Ash-foodfashionparty recently posted…3 Bean Carrot-Spinach Soup (Spicy Indian Style)My Profile

    • Thank you, Ash! Well, no one did notice the burst bubbles, but those who decorate cakes would notice. Everyone loved the cake at the baby shower and I had requests to make several wedding cakes! Thanks for dropping by, my friend. Have a fabulous week!

  5. Wow! Thank you for the super thorough guide to making the best American buttercream! I will definitely refer to your guide the next time I make buttercream frosting (: Can’t wait to see your recipe using this buttercream!
    Monica recently posted…Egg Salad-Stuffed AvocadosMy Profile

  6. I have been curious about spectrum shortening for awhile, but now that I see can what BEAUTIFUL buttercream it makes, I am going to go out and get some right away!
    Nora (A Clean Bake) recently posted…Olive Oil Spice Cupcakes with Bourbon Persimmon FrostingMy Profile

    • Thank you for stopping by and for the compliments, Nora! Girl, you are going to LOVE working with Spectrum® brand palm shortening. It is truly divine and performs well in traditional as well as gluten free and paleo recipes. I love it for my paleo baking!

  7. I’m not sure how I missed this post, Stacy, but it’s a great one! I very rarely make buttercream, because it is too sweet and too heavy. I love this tutorial, and you better believe I will be trying Spectrum shortening whenever I try this out! Pinned, and hope you’re having a great week!
    marcie recently posted…Mediterranean Roasted Spatchcock ChickenMy Profile

    • Thank you, Marcie! I hope you will give this buttercream a go. It is ethereally light on the tongue and very different from standard American Buttercreams that are heavy and too sweet. You will also enjoy working with Spectrum® shortening. It’s truly divine and performs well in traditional recipes. Thanks for stopping by and have a fabulous weekend!

  8. Stacy, YOU are the very BEST! I love how informative your post are. I cannot thank you enough for making this Best Ever American Buttercream frosting! You know how much I LOVE delicious frosting! This looks and sounds absolutely AMAZING!! I am looking forward to making this delicious frosting! Also, thank you for dedicating this recipe to me! You are so thoughtful and such a GREAT friend, and sure know how to make someone feel special! THANK YOU, thank you, thank you dear friend!!! 🙂
    Terri recently posted…Chicken Fried RiceMy Profile

    • Thank you for the kind words and compliments, Terri! It was my pleasure to dedicate this special buttercream recipe to you…a fellow buttercream fanatic! I hope you will make it often and enjoy it with friends and family. You are going to LOVE it. It’s funny…now, whenever I think of buttercream and white cake (both of them, sweet), I think of YOU! 🙂 Thank you for being such a good friend! XOXO

  9. Jo Anna Oakes says:

    I am trying to achieve a buttercream that tastes like bakery butter cream. I am going to try your American Buttercream reciepe but I was wondering if you can tell me if there is a certain flavoring that bakeries ause to give their icing that bakery taste? My icing lacks that taste. I’ve tried crime bouquet but I can never get the amount correct and I’m not sure that’s the taste I’m looking for. Can you help?

    • Hi there, Jo Anna! Thank you for writing. To answer your question, most commercial bakeries use hi-ratio shortening. As for flavoring, this is something you will need to experiment with. Some bakeries add just a hint of pure almond extract or citrus extracts (a blend of lemon and orange) in addition to vanilla. Some also use artificial butter flavor to provide the missing butter flavor in the shortening they use. This may be what you are wanting for flavor versus natural butter, but I do hope this recipe is of the flavor you desire. Our family has been making this buttercream recipe for years as well as another one I will be sharing here on the blog that calls for 12 ounces of liquid! When I was in high school and first made this buttercream, I was amazed that the “soupy mess” actually emulsified and turned into a very light, billowy and heavenly buttercream. Thanks again for writing, Jo Anna. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Meanwhile, good look achieving the flavor profile you are looking for. Happy baking and buttercream making!

  10. Hi it looks lovely I will definitely try but can u plz guide me if we can use this buttercream under fondant

    • Hi there, Naureen! Thank you for writing. To answer your question… No, this particular buttercream is very soft and billowy and therefore not suitable to be used under fondant. What you need under fondant is a stabilized buttercream or one that has a high sugar ratio that will crust. The best American Buttercream to use under fondant would be a Simple Buttercream with a ratio of fat at 4 ounces to sugar at 12 ounces. Flavor with vanilla extract and then use just enough milk or cream to thin as necessary. Once again, thank you for writing. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Meanwhile, happy baking and buttercream making!

  11. Hi! So i was wondering if this is also a crusting buttercream? ? Thanks! !!

    • Hi there, Tabitha! Thank you for writing. To answer your question… No, this particular buttercream is very soft and billowy and therefore not suitable as a crusting buttercream. What you need is a stabilized buttercream (a recipe is coming soon to the blog) that has a high sugar ratio that will crust, such as a Simple Buttercream with a ratio of fat at 4 ounces to sugar at 12 ounces. Flavor with vanilla extract and then use just enough milk or cream to thin as necessary. Once again, thank you for writing. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Meanwhile, happy baking and buttercream making!

  12. I LOVE this recipe and I thought I had asked this before but I don’t see my question anywhere…nor do I see where this has been answered. So here it goes! How long can I leave this at room temperature? Since there is no milk and only butter in it I was wondering if it was okay to leave out? I have read so many opposing arguments about leaving butter at room temperature! Some say 2-3 days others say only 4 hours! I’m lost!! Please help!! You’re so knowledgeable about frosting science! Who would have thought there was that much controversy over whether or not to leave butter out 🙂

    • Hi there, Rebekah!

      Thank you for writing. 🙂

      Your first request must have been sent to my spam folder and was deleted. Your most recent request had my 3-Minute Coconut-Almond Porridge listed as a recent post of yours and you added my website URL in the field for website. When I see that, I know the comment wasn’t posted by me and, when that happens, I send the comment to spam. This is how some spammers operate. But, since your question was relevant and related to a recent post, I just copied your email address and re-entered your question for you. 🙂

      First of all, thank you SO MUCH for asking this important question! This particular post was lengthy due to it being a tutorial and I totally “spaced” and forgot to add the “Tips” in the Notes section under the recipe along with the “Variations”! So, thank you for bringing this to my attention.

      Secondly, to answer your question… Yes, you may certainly leave this particular buttercream out at room temperature but only for a limited time. For instance, if on a frosted cake, 2 to 3 days is safe if it is covered. This is not the case, for instance, with cream cheese buttercream frostings which require refrigeration due to the higher dairy content from the cream cheese.

      Thanks to you, my friend, I have updated my recipe with the following tips:

      If not using immediately, keep bowl covered tightly to keep buttercream from drying before frosting cake or cupcakes.

      Buttercream can be refrigerated for up to 1 week in an airtight container. Storing longer than this is not recommended due to the dairy content. Before using, bring to room temperature before beating smooth again.

      If using the buttercream to pipe details, be sure to use chilled hands when handling pastry bag as warm hands can easily melt the buttercream.

      This buttercream will last for up to 3 days at room temperature when on a frosted cake, covered.

      Rebekah, thanks again for writing and bringing this to my attention. I appreciate it so much and hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely.

      Meanwhile, happy baking and buttercream making!

      ~Stacy

      • Oops! The website entry threw me off 🙂 This information is so helpful. Thank you so much for answering my question!!

        • My pleasure and no worries, Rebekah! I’m glad that my answer was helpful to you. Happy baking and buttercream making! 🙂

  13. Can you turn this into a chocolate frosting by adding cocoa or melted chocolate?

    • Hi there, Emily! Thank you for writing. Guess what? My next buttercream recipe is the Chocolate Fudge American Buttercream variation of this recipe for Best Ever American Buttercream. It is AH-MAZING and will knock your socks off! I will be posting it next week. I hope you can wait and that you didn’t need it for the weekend. If you do need it earlier, let me know and I can email it to you. Thanks again for dropping by. Enjoy the end of your week and the upcoming weekend! 🙂

  14. Thank you for this post! I had been searching for a buttercream recipe that didn’t use hydrogenated shortening, & your recipe is it! I just made the recipe per your instructions & it turned out perfect. Thanks for the great tutorial.

    • Thank you for the positive feedback, Hannah! My pleasure. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe and that it turned out perfectly for you using palm shortening. We just love this buttercream at our house!

  15. Hello, Is it possible to use Spectrum Coconut Oil in place of the palm oil for this recipe? I would like to use this recipe to frost my son’s birthday cake and pipe decorations with any remaining frosting.

    • Hi there, Nicole! Thank you for writing. To answer your question… No, coconut oil is not a good substitute for this recipe as it melts so easily. As I mentioned in the article, palm shortening is essential for the proper texture. It is superb in creating an emulsion for good piping. If you like to use coconut oil in frosting recipes, please stay tuned for my favorite paleo buttercream recipe that I will be posting this spring. Thanks again for writing and I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Meanwhile, happy cake baking and buttercream making!

  16. Barbara Wamsley says:

    You mention “piping details” but can this buttercream be used to pipe swirls on top of cupcakes?

    • Hi there, Barbara! Thank you for writing. To answer your important question… Yes, this recipe for Best Ever American Buttercream pipes beautifully…even though it is very light and “billowy” in nature. To get a glimpse of what it looks like piped, check out my recipe for Pink Champagne Velvet Layer Cake. As you will see, the Pink Champagne Buttercream recipe is based on this one with the same ingredient ratios; sugar, fats and liquid. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Meanwhile, happy baking and buttercream making!

  17. stephanie says:

    I am so glad I found your post! It was very informative, I am one of those silly folks that has to know why the recipe works. I have been looking for a lighter version that didn’t turn to a coating for use on my cupcakes. I read how it can stand up outside of the fridge but can it stand up to piping? Thanks so much for the recipe. I look forward to reading and trying more of your recipes!

    • Hi there, Stephanie! Thank you for writing. I’m so glad you enjoyed this tutorial. To answer your important question… Yes, this recipe for Best Ever American Buttercream pipes beautifully…even though it is very light and “billowy” in nature. To get a glimpse of what it looks like piped, check out my recipe for Pink Champagne Velvet Layer Cake. As you will see, the Pink Champagne Buttercream recipe is based on this one with the same ingredient ratios; sugar, fats and liquid. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Meanwhile, happy baking and buttercream making!

  18. Thank you for such a thorough tutorial!! Where do you purchase your palm shortening?

    Thanks!

    • Hi there, Jamie! Thanks for writing. I purchase my Spectrum® Organic Palm Shortening at my local Whole Foods Market. If you do not have a Whole Foods near you, try your local health food store. If they do not carry it, request that they do. You can also purchase it at Amazon.com. It also comes in a butter flavored variety which is nice to use in baking, too. Thanks again for writing and happy baking!

      • Thanks Stacy! I actually found it at Nob Hill Raleys and Target of all places! I made this frosting (YUM!) and piped it on some cupcakes the same day and then refrigerated the rest. I thawed it to room temperature 3 days later and when I piped it on cupcakes this time, the piping didn’t really hold it’s shape and it almost seemed to be melting off the cupcakes. What might I have done wrong?

        Thanks!

        • Thanks for writing, Jamie! I’m so glad that large stores like Target are carrying Spectrum® palm shortening. It’s wonderful. However, I am so sorry to hear about your buttercream woes. It sounds like your buttercream broke. It happens to the best of bakers. Your room temperature may have been a bit too warm for it and it started to separate and become weak. The best “quick fix” tip that I can give you is to add 2 tablespoons of shortening to your buttercream and beat it once again, for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. What this does is help the buttercream re-emulsify. Then, if need be, place the buttercream still in the work bowl into the fridge for a chill, about 15 minutes. Stir it well with a rubber spatula. Return it to the fridge for 5 minute intervals, as many as you need, stirring after each brief chill until the buttercream has reached the desired consistency for piping. This is a popular method that bakers use when their buttercreams break. In fact, my friend, Jenn, over at Once Upon a Tier blog, posted this helpful tip last year about this time. Here is the link: The Quickest and Easiest Way to Fix “Broken” American Buttercream. If you scroll down to the comments section, you will see that I gave praise to Jenn for sharing this important baking tip. I hope this information is helpful to you. Thanks again for writing, Jamie. Meanwhile, happy baking and buttercream making!

  19. Hi Stacy,

    Just made your wonderful recipe!! Seriously THE BEST EVER it turned out AMAZING, however i was wondering if i can “up” the sweetness & double the amount of confectioners sugar ? if so would i need to add another 1/2 cup of boiling water? and would it work out using the same amount of butter & shortening as written in your recipe?

    Many Thanks!

    • Hi Diana,

      Thank you for writing!

      To answer your question, this recipe was carefully developed to be not-too-sweet, less gritty and with the proper ratios for “emulsification” to take place for a nice, creamy and light texture. If you like this recipe but just wish to sweeten it a bit more, you could add a little more sifted confectioners’ sugar by adding 1 tablespoon at a time and tasting it. Do not add too much sugar, or your buttercream will soften too much and not be as workable. It will not be as smooth to the tongue, and will perhaps be a bit gritty, but it will definitely be sweeter in taste. You will be amazed at how this minor adjustment will satisfy your sweet tooth. There really is no need to double the amount of confectioners’ sugar and water. Again, if you do, and keep the same amount of butter and shortening, you will have a soupy un-emulsified mess. In other words, your buttercream will “break”. I hope this answers your question.

      Meanwhile, happy buttercream making. Let me know how your next batch turns out!

      ~Stacy

  20. Hello
    I live in the UK and have just made your buttercream using TREX shortening which is made out of palm oil , no hydrogenated fat , gluten free etc. I have waited my whole life for this recipe !!!!!! You are a goddess as far as I am concerned and you have just just changed my life!!!!!!!! This butter cream is divine and I just cannot get over how light, fluffy and smooth it is. Thank you for sharing . Big hugs
    Meeta

    • Wow! Thank you, Meeta! I appreciate the big hugs. 🙂 I’m so glad that you found this recipe of mine for Best Ever American Buttercream and that it rocked your buttercream world! My sincere apologies for the tardy reply. I was away from blogging for several months but returned last month and I am still catching up with comments. (Still have over 400 left! Yikes.) Thanks for dropping by and happy baking and buttercream making! xo

  21. What is the yield for this recipe? I need to frost a 2 tiered wedding cake. Is one batch enough?

    • Hi there, Aislinn!

      Thank you for writing with such a great question. When it comes to frosting tiered celebration cakes with buttercream, the size of the cake will matter as well as if you will be 1) using the buttercream as a filling as well, 2) if you will be “torting” the cakes (slicing the layers horizontally to make more layers, but smaller in height), or 3) will be piping elaborate details. This recipe for Best Ever American Buttercream yields approximately 4 1/2 cups of buttercream.

      To help you calculate how much you will need for your 2-tiered wedding cake (and how many batches you will need for all the layers), here is a link to a handy-dandy chart at Wilton.com for Cake Baking and Serving Guides. What makes this chart so great is that it breaks down how much buttercream you will need based on the size as well as the shape of your cakes. Isn’t that fabulous?

      My advice is to make extra buttercream—even after you calculate. It’s always great to have extra buttercream on hand to fix and make repairs on frosted cakes when transferring them to another venue. As you know, leftovers can always be used to frost cupcakes or tea cakes.

      Thanks again for writing and I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Meanwhile, happy baking! 🙂

      ~Stacy

  22. Hi Stacy,
    This recipe sounds devine! I hate American buttercream for all the reasons you mentioned but im going to give this a go.
    I just have one question, and forgive me if you have mentioned it and I missed it…can I use all butter and no shortening? Its quite hard to get here in Australia without buying it online and having to pay ridiculous postage fees.
    Many Thanks 🙂
    Kate

    • Hi again, Kate! Well, same question…same answer, LOL. Your results will be very different in this case, with the buttercream, by using all butter. And here is why: This specific shortening acts as an emulsifier (all fat) and creates a very smooth version of American Buttercream. It is essential to use the shortening. Palm shortening is not greasy at all (unlike Crisco brand vegetable shortening) and has a silky, buttery mouth feel. It’s divine. I highly recommend Spectrum brand and I use it every day in my baking as well as the butter-flavored variety, also by Spectrum, as a dairy free option to butter. Once again, thank you for writing with such good questions. Happy baking!

      • Thank you so much for your reply – you have convinced me to buy the palm shortening 🙂
        Not worth messing with a proven recipe 😉
        Thank you again x

        • My pleasure, Kate! You will not regret purchasing and using the palm shortening. It’s my new secret weapon in the kitchen and recipe development – especially with my paleo recipes. I just love the stuff and swear by it. 🙂 In my humble opinion, palm shortening is far superior and healthier than regular vegetable shortening sold in grocery stores and the high ratio shortening (with additives) that some professional bakeries use in their buttercream recipes. It’s really the best of both worlds when it comes to appearance, overall enjoyment (mouthfeel) of the buttercream (never greasy) and emulsification. Have fun baking and cake decorating!

          • Awesome! You are such a wealth of knowledge – you are my “go to” page for any questions I have 🙂

  23. Ashley Rackham says:

    Thank you, I LOVED this recipe! The frosting was so light and fluffy and not too sweet! However, I found that as a beginning baker, the piped frosting didn’t hold its shape on my cupcakes. Do you have any ideas? Could I add extra powdered sugar at the end of the recipe to thicken it up?

    • Hi there, Ashley! Thank you for writing. I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe for buttercream. It’s the best! If you find that you need a little bit more firmness, simply add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of the palm shortening and be careful when you measure the water and not add too much. These tips will definitely help. Thanks again for writing and…happy baking and buttercream making!

  24. Hello and thank you for your recipe. Is this frosting stiff enough to pipe decorations such as grass or “fur” on a cake? TIA.

    • Hi there, Amy! My pleasure. Thank you for writing with such a great question. Although this buttercream is billowy and light, it definitely stands up to decorative piping on cakes. What really matters is how stiff you want your buttercream to be for decorating. If you are looking for an incredibly tasty, thick and firm yet crusting buttercream for decorating cakes, please try my recipe for Best Ever Decorator’s Cream Cheese Buttercream. I hope that I have answered your question. Happy baking, buttercream making and cake decorating!

  25. Hello Stacy,

    I had my doubts when I made this buttercream, because every recipe that says it’s not a sweet buttercream is still too sweet for me. BUT I was very pleasantly surprised, and I truly did eat this right off the spoon. So thank you for such a delicious not overly sweet icing. My questions are these, I am going to use this to decorate my son’s birthday cake this weekend (first go at cake decorating ever). I have read a lot about doing a crumb coat. Is that necessary with this icing, and if so, can you use this icing to do the crumb coat since it’s non-crusting? Second, is it a good idea to put the icing in the refrigerator before doing piping with this icing? Thank you again for such a delicious, easy to make recipe.

    • Hi there, Shannon!

      My pleasure and happy birthday to your son! Thank you for writing with such great questions. I’m so glad that your doubts for this buttercream were put to rest when you were pleasantly surprised as it came together during the emulsion phase. I experienced the very same surprised reaction! It seemed impossible, but with food science it all works out.

      To answer your important questions…

      1) Crumb coats are really only necessary when cakes crumble easily when being frosted. It all depends on the cake and its crumb texture and buttercreams that can be stiff and pull the crumbs away from the cake. With this buttercream, it is so light and billowy, yet still holds piping well, that you may not even need a crumb coat. If your cake doesn’t need a crumb coat, you can skip that step entirely.

      Here’s my advice and what I do: Approach icing the cake as if you DO need a crumb coat by icing it lightly with your icing spatula after layering it. If there are no crumbs showing through the icing, you are “good to go” to move forward and continue to ice the cake as desired. However, if you notice that there are some crumbs making their way through the icing creating a rough and unsightly surface, then definitely finish the crumb coat and then pop the cake, on its platter or cake stand (making room for it in advance), right into the fridge for about 20 to 30 minutes. This will “set” the buttercream crumb coat making it firm enough to continue icing the cake with the tiny crumbs “sealed in” as you continue to ice the cake. And, yes… this buttercream is ideal for crumb coats on cakes. It is a dream to work with.

      2) No. It is NOT necessary at all to place the icing in the fridge before icing the cake and piping decorations. Due to the higher water and fat content yet lower sugar content compared to other buttercream frosting recipes, this buttercream will harden too much. This, of course, also means that if you refrigerate the cake, after frosting and piping decorations, the buttercream will harden as well. In this case, simply remove the cake from the fridge and leave the cover on as it comes to room temperature. A cake dome works well and this will keep any condensation on the cake dome itself and not on your beautiful buttercream (creating beads of moisture). Take the cake out of the fridge about 2 hours or so before slicing and serving. This way, the buttercream will be soft and enjoyable upon serving.

      Although, it is best NOT to refrigerate the cake at all…especially if it is a butter cake because butter hardens. If your cake is made with oil, like a chocolate Devil’s Food Cake for instance, you will not have the problem of the cake hardening and seeming too dry when eating it. For a butter cake, just make sure you use a good cake dome (that is fairly airtight) on your cake stand and leave it out at room temperature vs. refrigerating. This way, your butter cake will remain moist and tender and the buttercream will remain light and billowy.

      Thanks again for writing, Shannon. I hope that I have answered your questions thoroughly and completely giving you the confidence you need to move forward with this recipe for Best Ever American Buttercream and the cake project for your son’s upcoming birthday. 🙂

      Good luck with your first go at cake decorating. I just know that you will do a swell job and everyone at the party will love it!

      ~Stacy

      • Hi Stacy,

        Thank you so much for the detailed explanations. I really appreciate all the information and help. One last question, if the party is Saturday, do you think it is okay to bake the cakes late Wednesday and ice them Friday? My schedule is a bit crazy to bake them Thursday. I am baking a butter cake, and I wasn’t sure if it was okay to let it sit out that long on the counter before icing it. Again, thank you so much!

        Shannon

        • Hi again, Shannon! My pleasure. I’m so glad the information I provided on buttercream has been helpful to you. When it comes to butter cakes, generally, you can keep or store the cake layers (each wrapped separately and snuggly in good-quality food plastic wrap) at room temperature in a cool, dry place for a few days (2 to 3 days). Whenever I have to do this, I keep each wrapped layer on a round cooling rack away from any heavy traffic in the kitchen or away from pets. Sometimes, I even keep the wrapped cake layers on racks stored on my home office desk and just keep the door closed. By baking your cakes on Wednesday evening, you are pushing this time frame to the max. If there is any way that you can arrange your schedule to bake the cakes late on Thursday, you will be much better off with a fresher tasting cake with no changes in crumb texture, such as a slight dry crumb, by Saturday. However, it is really going to help matters that you will be frosting the cake on Friday vs. Saturday because you will essentially be helping preserve the cake and its moist crumb for Saturday. I hope that I have answered your question about storing butter cakes. Honestly, I think you will be fine with the time frame you have to work with, so do not stress yourself. Let me know how it all goes and have fun. Good luck and happy baking!

  26. Hello Stacy!

    I’m curious if I would get the same results if I used the shortening found at the supermarkets instead of the Spectrum one?

    Felicita
    Felicita recently posted…Sugar Plum Shortbread Christmas CookiesMy Profile

    • Hi there, Felicita! Thank you for writing. Unfortunately, you will not get the same results with regular vegetable shortening. In the article, I explain all about the benefits of using palm shortening. I discovered palm shortening when I started baking paleo and have introduced it to my conventional or traditional baking and will never look back. If you cannot find it locally, it is available at Amazon.com. It is SO worth it. Give it a try…you will love it! Thanks again for writing. Happy baking and buttercream making!

  27. Hello Stacy thanks for a recipe. with your response i an beginning to doubt this can be used to pipe flowers right?

    • Hi there, Dee! Thank you for writing with such a great question. This buttercream is light and billowy and will hold its shape. Just keep in mind that it will pipe light and billowy flowers. If you are looking for stiff flowers, this may not be the buttercream for you. As I recommended to a reader above, to make this buttercream a bit more firm, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of the palm shortening and be careful when you measure the water and not add too much. These tips will definitely help. However, if you are looking for an incredibly tasty, thick and firm yet crusting buttercream for decorating cakes, please try my recipe for Best Ever Decorator’s Cream Cheese Buttercream. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly. Happy baking, buttercream making and cake decorating!

  28. I just made this recipe, with the palm oil and butter, and it turned out perfectly! I have never made cupcakes before, but I did help my grandmother with decorating in my childhood, so I knew a bit of the technique. I just used a large star tip, and did a spiral over the whole cupcake, ending with a star point in the center. They look (and taste) fantastic! Thank you so much for the in-depth tutorial!

    • Thank you for writing, Amy! My pleasure. I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe for Best Ever American Buttercream. It is a favorite at our house. Thanks again for commenting and happy baking!

  29. Hi Stacy,

    Is it possible to make a strawberry version of this by adding a strawberry sauce or pureed strawberries to it? Thank you!

    • Hi there, Shannon! My pleasure. How did you know what I was working on this week? 🙂 Stay tuned as this special berry buttercream recipe, so appropriate for Valentine’s Day or special occasions (bridal showers, birthdays, etc.) as well as spring and summer cakes, will be posted within my next two buttercream posts. In fact, I hope to get both posts completed by tomorrow. Next up will be layer cakes! Thanks again for writing and have a fabulous weekend!

  30. While I appreciate your detailed instructions and the sharing of your recipe, there’s not much hope for the rest of us who cannot get palm shortening in our part of the world. Even if we were to buy it at Amazon.com the cost with shipping would not justify its purchase. Crisco is available but according to your description, what’s the point? Sometimes it’s better not to come across these ‘best ever’ recipes.

    • Thank you for writing, Nova. I am so sorry that in your part of the world palm shortening is not readily available. While I appreciate your taking the time to write and complain that palm shortening is cost prohibitive to order online due to high shipping costs, it does not negate the fact that this particular shortening is all-natural, a healthier option and makes the ‘best ever’ American Buttercream. Palm shortening was new to me at one time, too, stemming from my paleo baking and recipe development. My enthusiasm for its performance in baking and buttercream making, and my passion for all-natural baking, has me introducing it to the conventional baking world and doing so not as a spokesperson but a happy and satisfied customer. I believe that strongly in it. By and large, my reading audience is here in the U.S. and my recipes do reflect that. In fact, several of my American style buttercream recipes are based on this recipe, including my next one for Raspberry and Strawberry Silk Buttercream. For my readers across the globe, my hope is that you will start local campaigns to get Spectrum® brand palm shortening imported and offered in your local food markets. Palm shortening is that good and worth the effort. Thanks again for writing, Nova. Wishing you the best of luck and happy baking!

  31. Is it 1 or 2 sticks of butter? Because you put 1 stick, twice. Just wondering.

    • Hi there, Dreama! Thank you for writing. There are two (2) sticks of butter called for in the recipe, one (1) each of salted and unsalted for flavor balance. If you prefer to use all unsalted butter, use two (2) sticks of unsalted butter. Thanks again for writing and happy buttercream making!

  32. Karen Sonntag says:

    I made this recipe last night and it is amazing. I’ve been testing different icing recipes (Swiss, Italian, French) and this, by far blows them away. While I personally prefer a Euro style BC, all of my taste testers prefer an American BC. This recipe is fluffy and light, almost has a whipped cream feel to it, but pipes roses which just blew my mind. Even in my warm kitchen, this piped like a dream, tasted magical, and has held up at room temp overnight. I have chosen your Best Ever recipe as my go-to for a wedding I am catering this summer. THANK YOU!!!

    • WOW! Thank you for writing and for the compliments, Karen! YOU. ROCK. I am beyond thrilled that you and your recipe testers enjoyed this recipe for Best Ever American Buttercream. It has been a staple in our house for years and never disappoints. Like you, I am a huge fan of European style buttercreams (with German buttercream being one of them as well) and will have many more innovative recipes for buttercream frostings featured here on the blog in the categories of American (with subcategories of All-Butter, Ganache and Silk), Chantilly, Cream Cheese and, of course, European to include French, German, Italian and Swiss. So, stay tuned. The layer cakes are coming, too. 🙂 If you like this recipe, don’t miss using the same “sugar slurry and emulsification technique” to prepare Pink Champagne Buttercream and Best Ever BAILEYS® Irish Cream Buttercream. Both are standouts and truly divine. Thanks again for writing. You made my day. Meanwhile, happy baking, buttercream making and cake decorating! Your catered events, including the wedding, are sure to be smash hits with rave reviews! ~Stacy

  33. I’m assuming I don’t add the fats until the water cools down, right?

    • Hi there, Sara! To answer your question… Yes, the “sugar slurry” should be at room temperature before adding the fats as stated in the first paragraph of the recipe Preparation: “Increase mixer speed to medium and beat, scraping down sides of bowl with rubber spatula, until sugar dissolves, mixture is smooth and cooled to room temperature, about 4 minutes.” As indicated in the Ingredients listing, the butter(s) and palm shortening should be at room temperature as well. This will aid the emulsion process and yield a creamy, silky consistency of your buttercream. Have fun and good luck!

  34. Would you reccomend the butter flavored spectrum or the plain kind?

    Thanks!

    • Hi there, Jami! I use the regular palm shortening by Spectrum® for this recipe. You can definitely use butter-flavored but just be aware that the color will be more of a buttery yellow-ivory than creawmy-white due to the natural coloring from annatto and turmeric. Thanks for writing and happy baking and buttercream making!

  35. Also will this be stiff enough to do piping decoration and make some buttercream flowers? 🙂

  36. Hi, I really wanna like this recipe!
    I am using earth balance butter (its more like a margarine) to make the frosting, and I’m having a hard time with the emulation part, it seems to bead, and look “sweaty” (eww right?!)
    Do you have any advice for this?? I currently have it in the fridge, to try and whip it again, i feel like it got a bit warm perhaps, It tastes really good, but i don’t want it looking sweaty.. well I’m in your hands now, any help would be REALLY appreciated! Thank you!

    • Hi there, Anna, my fellow organic baking friend!

      Thank you for writing. Help is here.

      OK, first… The reason why this recipe for Best Ever American Buttercream is not working when modified, to incorporate Earth Balance margarine, is because this substitute is not ideal to replace the palm shortening called for. This is because Earth Balance contains a good amount of filtered water and other fats – oils, like canola oil that is not solid at room temperature.

      Secondly, since 1/2 cup of liquid (boiling water) is already being added to the recipe, the total fat content is not adequate to create an effective emulsion. This is why 100% fat, in the form of palm shortening that is solid at room temperature and contains no additives, is the order of the day for an effective emulsification.

      Do not be apprehensive in using healthy organic palm shortening, such as Spectrum® brand, that is made sustainably. Once you use it in your baking, and taste it, you will be blown away. It performs exceedingly well – in fact, flawlessly.

      Personally, I do not use or recommend Earth Balance due to the soy content as soy is a major endocrine disruptor. In addition, I do not like the additives in it (made from corn, of which I am allergic to due the toxins) that can break down buttercreams. With organic Spectrum® palm shortening, this is never a worry or concern. It is worth noting that Spectrum® organic palm shortenings are 100% pure organic palm oil that is mechanically pressed (therefore, chemical-free), non-hydrogenated, Certified Sustainable, non-GMO and Kosher (OU) as well as paleo and vegan.

      This recipe for American Buttercream is tested, tried and true as written. Do try it using palm shortening, regular or butter-flavored by Spectrum®, and you will be SOLD. I promise.

      Thanks again for writing, Anna. I hope that I have answered your questions and concerns thoroughly and completely. 🙂

      Meanwhile, happy organic baking and buttercream making!

      ~Stacy

  37. Mary Kay says:

    Hello, Stacy,

    I’m dying to try the recipe to satisfy my sister who, for some strange reason, dislikes both Swiss and Italian Meringue Buttercreams. My major question is whether it will hold layers without creating the side “bumps” on the finished cake. I’m wanting to use it as a dam between layers (I’m using something else for filling), and I will be sad if I end up with the bumps that happen with regular American Buttercream.

    • Hi there, Mary Kay!

      Thank you for writing with such a great question. My answer is that bumps or bulges on the sides of cakes can sometimes happen when using light and billowy buttercreams such as this recipe for Best Ever American Buttercream. This can happen when the weight of the cake is too heavy and the layers cannot be supported properly by the buttercream – even if you create the dam first (doing it properly just inside from the edge, up to 1 cm inside it, so as not to spread buttercream beyond the edge of each layer when topping with the next), then fill and crumb coat in the proper order. By the way, I have found that a Wilton 1A decorating tip works very well in creating dams.

      If you are set on using a light or soft buttercream (and who wouldn’t?), consider using a firm (thick) buttercream to create the dam itself. This is what professional cake decorators do. This way, the weight of the cake (especially if it is dense and heavy) will be supported and prevent any bumps and/or bulges on the sides. My advice is once you pipe your dam, inside the edge of cake layers, use your light buttercream in the center of the dam as the bottom layer before adding your filling as the top layer and repeat in the same fashion between each cake layer.

      Also, here is a cool tip to prevent bubbles and bulges in the sides of cakes: Complete the dam, filling, cake assembly and crumb coat a few hours or the night before making sure your light buttercream reaches and fills in to the dam. Then, use a small in diameter but long dowel rod or long lollipop stick to insert down through the center of the cake and to the very bottom of the bottom layer. This tiny tunnel, in the center of the cake, will allow any air that is trapped to escape going the “path of least resistance” as the cake settles (compresses by gravity) instead of traveling through to the sides of the cake. Then, go ahead and finish with your final coat of buttercream a few hours later or the next day.

      As for a nice, firm (thick) and yet incredibly tasty buttercream alternative for decorating cakes with fillings and using the dam technique, I highly recommend my recipe for Best Ever Decorator’s Cream Cheese Buttercream. In fact, you could use it (a fraction of the recipe, of course) solely for the use of your dam. (Many cake decorators use a simple firm buttercream made of just shortening and confectioners’ sugar to create an effective dam.)

      Our Best Ever Decorator’s Cream Cheese Buttercream is easy to prepare, a dream to work with and will stand up when put through the paces of cake layers in need of dams for fillings and support the overall weight of the cake as well as create beautiful decorating piping details. This easy and foolproof buttercream will not fail you. 🙂 Meanwhile, I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely.

      Good luck with your cake project for your sister, Mary Kay! I just know she is going to love it.

      Happy baking, buttercream making and cake decorating!

      ~Stacy

      P.S. Here is a great POPSUGAR Food video, for information and inspiration, at YouTube of Duff Goldman torting, layering and employing the dam, filling and crumb coating techniques as well as fondant covering a cake.

      • Mary Kay says:

        Gosh, Stacy, thank you so much for your thorough and thoughtful reply. I will let you know how it goes!

        You know, I never heard about the center “tunnel” creation idea in culinary school–perhaps because we were using the Swiss Meringue Buttercream almost all the time.

        Best,
        Mary Kay

  38. If I use all spectrum shortening, will it crust and work well under fondant?

    • Hi there, Becky! Thank you for writing with such a good question. To answer your question… No. This type of American Buttercream contains too much moisture to crust. If you are looking for a crusting buttercream that tastes phenomenal, I hope you will try my recipe for Best Ever Decorator’s Cream Cheese Buttercream. I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Meanwhile, happy baking and buttercream making!

  39. Hi! I was very happy finally finding an alternative method of making AMB. The “normal” method makes a very sweet and gritty buttercream that is not liked by everyone. I searched for a while and everything I found pointed to SMBC, which I tried and felt it was very unpleasant tasting. Akin to eating a spoonful of butter.

    I don’t have access to the palm shortening, not easily anyway. And I have to consider the cost… a brick of Crisco is a LOT cheaper then organic . I pretty much stick to Walmart/Superstore for Crisco for the lowest prices, I buy everything else at Costco. I checked, and all they have is Coconut Oil… which is hard at room temperature but everything I read about it suggest that it melts starting at 24 degree Celsius.

    We do have an organic grocery store that I’ll pay a visit to see how much they charge for palm shortening but in the mean time, I used your recipe with the regular ABC ingredients. I didn’t bother with salted and non-salted butter… 1 cup of crisco, 1 cup of butter. I was absolutely floored at the difference in consistency…. it is so much smoother and not nearly as sweet… Actually it was sweet enough with 4 cups of powdered sugar, I re-did with 4-5 cups and it is better. A tiny witsy bit gritty but you really have to know.

    First time I put 1 cup of hot water because I didn’t pay attention. Second time I put 1/2 cup as you have it, and the end result was exactly the same… in fact, the batch with less water produced a softer buttercream, which doesn’t make much sense in my mind… I think it was just the room temp and letting the first batch sit for a while.

    Anyway, really wanted to thank you for writing this page. I read everything and have bookmarked it. Will look for those ingredients because I’m baking so much now that anything to make this a bit healthier would be a good thing 🙂

    • Thank you for writing and for sharing your experience with this recipe with me and fellow readers, Bootrec! You are right, an additional 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar or more does make this type of American Buttercream sweeter. However, there will be a very slight gritty texture after doing so. It really does come down to taste preferences and what you and your guests or client like best. Thanks again for writing, my baking friend. 🙂 Meanwhile, happy baking and buttercream making!

  40. Hi Stacey, my daughter is allergic to almonds, is it possible to sub in something in place of almond extract? or could i omit form the recipe?

    • Hi there, Paige! Thank you for writing. To answer your question, you can simply omit the almond extract. 🙂 Thanks again for writing and happy baking!

  41. Kristin says:

    Made this buttercream. Very lights, smooth, and not overly sweet. You described it perfectly. I am wondering how this will hold up to stacking because it’s so light and doesn’t crust. Will my layers start to billow out as well when it comes to room temperature? I plan on doing a 3-4 layer cake. Thanks!

    • Hi there, Kristin!

      Thank you for writing with such a great question. My answer for you is the same as my answer to Mary Kay’s question above. 🙂

      Bumps or bulges on the sides of cakes can sometimes happen when using light and billowy buttercreams such as this recipe for Best Ever American Buttercream. This can happen when the weight of the cake is too heavy and the layers cannot be supported properly by the buttercream – even if you create the dam first (doing it properly just inside from the edge, up to 1 cm inside it, so as not to spread buttercream beyond the edge of each layer when topping with the next), then fill and crumb coat in the proper order. By the way, I have found that a Wilton 1A decorating tip works very well in creating dams.

      If you are set on using a light or soft buttercream (and who wouldn’t?), consider using a firm (thick) buttercream to create the dam itself. This is what professional cake decorators do. This way, the weight of the cake (especially if it is dense and heavy) will be supported and prevent any bumps and/or bulges on the sides. My advice is once you pipe your dam, inside the edge of cake layers, use your light buttercream in the center of the dam as the bottom layer before adding your filling (if using) as the top layer and repeat in the same fashion between each cake layer.

      Also, here is a cool tip to prevent bubbles and bulges in the sides of cakes: Complete the dam, filling, cake assembly and crumb coat a few hours or the night before making sure your light buttercream reaches and fills in to the dam. Then, use a small in diameter but long dowel rod or long lollipop stick to insert down through the center of the cake and to the very bottom of the bottom layer. This tiny tunnel, in the center of the cake, will allow any air that is trapped to escape going the “path of least resistance” as the cake settles (compresses by gravity) instead of traveling through to the sides of the cake. Then, go ahead and finish with your final coat of buttercream a few hours later or the next day.

      As for a nice, firm (thick) and yet incredibly tasty buttercream alternative for decorating cakes with fillings and using the dam technique, I highly recommend my recipe for Best Ever Decorator’s Cream Cheese Buttercream. In fact, you could use it (a fraction of the recipe, of course) solely for the use of your dam. (Many cake decorators use a simple firm buttercream made of just shortening and confectioners’ sugar to create an effective dam.)

      Our Best Ever Decorator’s Cream Cheese Buttercream is easy to prepare, a dream to work with and will stand up when put through the paces of cake layers in need of dams for fillings and support the overall weight of the cake as well as create beautiful decorating piping details. This easy and foolproof buttercream will not fail you. Meanwhile, I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely.

      Good luck with your layer cake project, Kristin. 🙂 Happy baking, buttercream making and cake decorating!

      ~Stacy

      P.S. Here is a great POPSUGAR Food video, for information and inspiration, at YouTube of Duff Goldman torting, layering and employing the dam, filling and crumb coating techniques as well as fondant covering a cake.

  42. Noreen Abel says:

    Once again a winner of a recipe.
    I am no fan of American style buttercream but this is everything you said it would be.
    Smooth , creamy and tasty.
    Thank you.

  43. Angelin says:

    First time making homemade frosting. I’m one who enjoys the whipped not too sweet frostings. I decided to make my own, for my daughters 8th birthday after being so tired of how sweet store bought cakes icings are (where you have to scoop off) or get a “sugar high”! Kids are hyper enough .. After looking and looking, I’m glad I decided to try this. Turned out great. Just the right amount of sweet with perfect whipped consistency. With 2 toddlers running around, the simplicity of this was also a plus!!! Thank you for the great step by step tutorial and lesson.

  44. Bridget says:

    I just wanted to thank you for this amazing recipe! My youngest son has several severe food allergies, including milk. I have been on the hunt for a good vegan frosting for the past two years, and this is finally it! All of the others have been too sweet, too thick, too fatty, too “very obviously made without butter” if you know what I mean. I used all shortening (Spectrum was already my favorite, but now has earned a permanent spot in my pantry!), a touch of salt, and added a dollop of strawberry jam in my hot water for a little extra flavor- it came out so beautifully! I can’t wait to experiment with a lemon version for my birthday cake this year. I just made vegan chocolate cupcakes with this frosting for my older son’s birthday party and they all were gobbled up, without anyone knowing there was no butter involved. Thanks so much!

    • Hi there, Bridget! My pleasure. Thank you so much for taking the time to write. I am beyond thrilled that you, your son and your party guests enjoyed your scrumptious homemade cupcakes made with this exceptional buttercream, Best Ever American Buttercream, using the dairy-free (vegan) recipe variation with Spectrum® Butter-Flavored Palm Shortening. This pure and natural ingredient is a blessing when it comes to dairy allergies. You can feel good about using it in your baking as it is made sustainably and is far more nutritious than other vegetable shortenings lacking nutrition and are also hydrogenated. I am not a paid spokesperson or food blogger for Spectrum®, I just enjoy their shortening and other products when developing traditional recipes as well as for special diets. No other shortening performs as well – even in pie crust pastry! This recipe for American-style Buttercream is foolproof, straightforward and simple. Please be aware that most of my Silk Buttercream recipes can be made dairy-free and vegan. I hope you will try my recipe for Raspberry and Strawberry Silk Buttercream. It’s phenomenal (color and taste) and perfect for spring and summer berry season. Meanwhile, I am working on a dairy-free variation for my Ivory Silk Buttercream and will be sharing my favorite Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe and others soon. So, stay tuned. There are many more food allergy-friendly buttercream recipes to come. 🙂 Thanks again for writing, Bridget. Meanwhile, happy vegan baking and buttercream making!

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  1. […] is a well reasoned and very thorough recipe for Frosting but I can’t say I am tempted to give it a […]

  2. […] is Frosting, typically includes one special ingredient.  Many ‘frosting’ recipes or American Buttercream recipes include ‘Shortening’.  For those of us not raised in the US, shortening is refined […]

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