The Perfect Buttercream Icing Recipe and Cupcake Tip

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My family is absolutely addicted to frosting! There is even one sister (I won't name names, but her name does rhyme with Bisten- ha ha! I know that is not a word, but what else rhymes with Kristen?) who I save my leftover frosting for and she will eat it straight out of the container! :) I wish she lived closer so that I could share this frosting with her . . . IT IS AMAZING! I use it for all my cupcakes lately and not only does it taste amazing, but it is so easy to pipe with and decorate with. Here you go:

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine
4 cups (1 lb) sifted confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tsp vanilla
Food coloring (to get that pink color in the picture, I added 4 drops of red food coloring to my icing)

Cream butter and shortening with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at a medium speed until light and fluffy.

If you need to thin this icing, add a small amount of light corn syrup.

For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. It can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Rewhip before using. Yields 3 cups.

Photo Credit: KellyNeil.com

So, the top cupcake picture is actually from the cupcakes that I baked for my daughter's birthday party (more on that later!). To make them, I actually used a "Funfetti" cake mix (Gasp! I know! I didn't even make them from scratch! But if you do want a Homemade From Scratch Funfetti Recipe, head over to Life's Simple Measures! She has an amazing recipe!) and I saw this little tip on Pinterest, so I gave it a try. I lowered my oven temperature down to 325 degrees and cooked them a little longer . . . they were the BEST LOOKING CUPCAKES I have ever made. I highly recommend trying it!! Hooray for Pinterest!!

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  1. Jess says:

    OMGOSH! Thanks so much for the shout out! I did a huge re-read of that line and then realized that was my blog you were talking about. That’s so nice of you, I really appreciate it!

  2. Steph says:

    Those look so cute! I actually just made almost the exact same frosting for Callen’s blessing on Sunday except for one change, instead of milk use coffee creamer, SO good! Makes it a little whippier and creamier, yummy! Plus it adds a little bit of flavor like using french vanilla coffee creamer, amazing! I used sweet cream on Sunday and it was really good but I didn’t notice a huge different taste from any normal frosting you would make :)

  3. Denise P. says:

    Can you clarify that tip? Do you put the cupcakes in at 350 and then immediately reduce the temp? Or cook them awhile and then reduce? I’m unclear.

  4. Camille says:

    Hi Denise! I wasn’t exactly sure either, but what I did was heat my oven up to 350, put my cupcakes in, then lowered it to 325. So as soon as I put my cupcakes in, the temperature started to lower. I don’t know if it’s right, but it worked for me!

  5. Kalynne Jensen says:

    Haha, I loved the rhymes with Bisten joke! He he, I think of Kris every time I have leftover frosting too! She’d always help me finish it off quick at school! :) Thanks for the tip, I am gonna try it!

  6. Six Sisters says:

    Just a regular oven! We have never worked with a convection oven. Turning it down to 300 degrees seems so low. You may have to experiment a little or go by recipes you have made in the past. We hope it all turns out well for you! :)

  7. Kelly Munns says:

    I’m going to try making cupcakes like this today! Afterall, it IS my half birthday ;) And this is almost my exact same buttercream recipe but I add 1/8 tsp Orange flavoring and 1/8 tsp Lemon flavoring. It gives it this cooling taste. It’s a must-try at least once!

  8. Springroll says:

    Just made this frosting today to go on top of my sweet little Easter basket cupcakes (yay!) I actually only ended up using 3 cups of icing sugar…sand 2 tbsp of milk and the consistency was just perfect! You guys are awesome (and my little 3 yr old son loved helping me put the “eggs” on top! Thanks!

  9. Kelli says:

    Ok, so I have a stupid question. I have been baking for a long time and have always made buttercream using meringue powder. I hate the way it tastes and have always wanted to try something different, but I don’t have the room in my refrigerator to keep a cake if the icing has to be refrigerated. I’m assuming that since this has milk that it will need to be kept cold until right before serving, is that a correct assumption? If so, any suggestions on a meringue powder alternative? I’m trying the cupcakes for my son’s birthday this weekend and will probably even try the icing, since it’s not a huge cake. Can’t wait!!!

    • Cyd says:

      We have been using this recipe for years and it is fine left on the counter. We have never had a problem. It’s fine in the fridge, but not necessary. Hope this helps. If it’s really warm in your house, you just add a little more powdered sugar to make the icing just a little thicker.
      Cyd(mother of the Six Sisters)

  10. Cynthia Tobin says:

    Thanks for all your great info, I love this website! Can you tell me, when you bake 3/4 full when do you turn down the oven and for how long do you bake the cupcake at the 325 temp? Thank you.

  11. sabrina says:

    I have tried this trick with every cake recipe I have and it has NEVER worked. I end up with flat, overflowing the pan tops on my cupcakes.

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