I have been making buttercream icing for years and, I have to say that this is a great recipe. I did as others said and halfed the shortening and added butter for the other half. I used unsalted butter because the recipe called for salt. By the way, adding vanilla will give the icing a slightly darker tinge. If you don't want that tinge, you can use imitation (some brands call it "clear") vanilla. It gives the icing the same flavor. The one thing that I will say is that I am used to using a buttercream recipe that doesn't call for diary (i.e., the heavy whipping cream). The whipping cream gives the icing a very creamy taste and smooth texture. However, you have to make sure that you refrigerate your cake because of the diary. Buttercream icing can be made without diary and it comes out stiffer and thicker without the diary.
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I have been making buttercream icing for years and, I have to say that this is a great recipe....