Decorator’s Buttercream Icing


For making roses and decorations that must maintain their shape, you’ll need an icing that maintains its consistency. Since butter softens at room temperature, using all vegetable shortening works best in decorator buttercream icing. Also, not using any ingredients that are quickly perishable means this icing will keep at room temperature.

1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 pound powdered sugar (make sure it’s proper sugar, not a sugar substitute)
1 tablespoon meringue powder
1 teaspoon vanilla–use clear vanilla if pure white icing is needed
2 tablespoons water

Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, scraping down bowl as needed. An optional pinch of salt can be added to help tone down the sweetness. If using, dissolve the salt in the water so stray grains of it don’t wreak havoc in your icing later. If using a stand mixer, this recipe can be doubled.

This yields about 3 cups of icing stiff enough to pipe roses and figures. Adding 1 teaspoon of water per cup of icing (or a tablespoon to the entire recipe) thins the buttercream enough for piping stars, dots, basketweave, borders such as shells, and smaller flowers with flat petals.

Adding an additional teaspoon of water per cup (2 teaspoons per cup or 2 tablespoons to the entire recipe) thins the icing to where it’s ideal for icing cakes and piping smooth lines.

  7 Responses to “Decorator’s Buttercream Icing”

  1. HI been watching your youtube videos, and have become an absolute fan. you make cake decorating seem so easy. thanks for those videos. can u please post some on royal icing and making fondant. And can u please advise me as to what to use instead of meringue powder in making the decorators buttercream recipe. Meringue powder is not available whre I live. thanks again

  2. Hi thanks for replying, and no, powdered eggwhites also arent available here and buttercream is pretty unstable during summers. Hence my problem thanks

  3. Hello, Darla thank you so much for all those amazing video’s. I’ve been watching and tried to follow them. I am just a learner. Watching you doing roses, carnation, piping techniques helps alot. And those recipes are all amazing for me. You make it looks simple and easy with the step by step procedures. You help me alot and obviously let the time pass so quickly specially when I am doing my night shift. I am so grateful I came across with you video. Thank you so much and God bless. xxx

  4. Hi
    I have been watching your videos practically problem is I don’t seem to get a smooth butter cream icing that make the petals of my roses clean n lovely..can you please help with some tips..

    • If the rose petals are cracking or looking rough around the edges, try adding some piping gel to your icing, about half a teaspoon per cup. If you don’t have piping gel, you can use clear corn syrup instead. Also, the better you get at piping roses, the more consistent your pressure control will be, which will help you produce smooth petals. Let me know how it goes!

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