Do It Yourself Tuesdays: Make Your Own Buttercream

Confession time: I quit my (stable-ish well-paying, super fun) job a couple of weeks ago to go to culinary school for baking next year. Was this an awesome decision or a terrible one? The jury’s still out, but the way I think about it, the more time I have to devote to desserts, the better. So I’m leaning toward awesome.

To celebrate my decision, I’m using this week’s DIY to share an incredible buttercream frosting recipe with all of you. You can use it to frost a cake, cupcakes, cookies . . . or to eat it straight out of the Tupperware with some pretzels when you’re dealing with a breakup. Stop buying this stuff and make it yourself.

(Makes enough buttercream for one standard-size cake with 12-16 servings)

1/2 cup vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream

Buttercream it up:
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and shortening together until creamy. Add the sugar and keep beating until the whole mess is pretty well blended. Then add the remaining ingredients, blending on low speed until moist. When combined, whip that mixer into high speed until the frosting is fluffy.

Want to know why this frosting rocks? Besides the fact that it tastes great, it’s sooo easy to customize it. You can dye it any color imaginable with food coloring and use it to decorate. Want mocha buttercream? Add instant espresso powder or a few tablespoons of coffee and about 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or a few ounces of melted chocolate. Want an almond or orange or lemon flavor? Throw in almond extra, orange juice, or lemon zest.

Since the frosting is somewhat stiff, it’s also strong enough to hold up bits of fruit, nuts, or cake toppers. So you can stick a mini cookie on top of each cupcake or use big fresh strawberries to line the border of your cake, too. Could there be anything better?!

Before you dash off and make this, here’s a bonus decorating tip: those frosting tips they sell at the store are really nice, but if you’re pressed for time and don’t care too much about absolute beauty, pile your buttercream into a Ziploc bag and clip off the corner. You can then use the bag to pipe the frosting, just like a fancy Food Network star.


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