Concocting Decorator Icing at Home

If you're looking at this article, you probably attended one of our classes! More than that, it means that you are probably about to make something beautiful and delicious! Go you!!

Without further ado, here is our tried and true Class Buttercream aka, Decorator Icing, aka American Buttercream recipe... 

Decorator Icing Recipe


1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup solid white vegetable shortening 
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons milk or water


Step 1:  In large bowl, beat shortening with electric mixer until light and fluffy. 

Step 2:  Beat in vanilla.

Step 3:  Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. 

Step 4:  Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.

Step 5:  Gradually add milk; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.   

Makes 2 cups of icing.
Reusable Silicone Bag Set
Click on image to learn more!

Please consider the environment:
If you plan to make and use buttercream at least twice a year, please consider the environment,  and get these reusable silicone piping bags! They are very easy to clean, hold and pipe. These are what we use in our bespoke lab and for our signature product Cake Cores!


  • Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use, as icing will set if open to the air.
  • If using a hand mixer, beat shortening and liquid first, then add sugar, as above. It may be necessary to add additional icing sugar, or milk and water for the correct consistency.
  • You may substitute 0.5 cup of butter, for 0.5 cup of Vegetable shortening. This may improve the taste of your icing, but will impact the color if you are making a white icing.
  • If you use milk in your recipe it will reduce its shelf life and should be kept refrigerated, but it does add great flavor.
  • One recipe will cover 12 cupcakes. Double this recipe if you want to make enough icing to cover and fill a typical 2 layer 8 inch cake and create buttercream decorations.
With this recipe as a foundation, the sky is the limit to the flavors you can create! You can:
  • Whip in some cocoa powder 
  • Change the flavor of the extract
  • Use coffee or a thin flavored syrup instead of milk or water
  • Add a fruit puree, jelly, jam or nut butter
  • Mix-in chopped nuts, chocolates, cookies or candy 
Keep in mind that the consistency of the icing you create is important to the outcome of your icing decorations! We use shortening in this recipe as it has a higher melting point than butter and will keep your decorations standing tall and beautiful! This icing is perfect for icing cakes that will not be refrigerated or will be outdoors during warmer temperatures. 
Feel free to post any questions below, or let us know what icing concoctions you create! Happy Baking!

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