Thursday, August 7, 2008

Buttercream Icing

I have had a request for my butter cream icing recipe. This is the recipe I use to crumb cakes before decorating and for most of my non-chocolate decorating needs. It stores really well in the freezer so I usually make a double batch and put some away for those cake emergencies. I actually don't like to eat icing, but those who do have given me rave reviews about this icing. This is my favorite icing to use because of its durability and versatility. It is also the most common icing used on wedding cakes, like the one I made for some friends of ours that I topped with blue gum paste flowers.

Butter Cream Icing

1/2 Cup (1 stick) Salted Butter
1/3 Cup Crisco
6 Cups Powdered Sugar (you may need more or less, just be ready)
1 Tsp Lemon Juice, no pulp
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp Salt (use a quality salt)
1 TBLSP Heavy Cream
2 TBLSP Water
Food coloring (optional)

I always use a stand mixer to make this, but a hand mixer will work also. I do not suggest trying to do this by hand, it will not get as fluffy as it could be. Cream the butter and crisco until smooth. Add cream and salt, mix until combined. Add vanilla, lemon juice and one tablespoon of the water; mix until combined. Begin adding the powdered sugar one cup at at time, to be honest I never measure this part I just do it by feel and texture. After adding about 4 cups of the sugar add the remaining water. The water is necessary because it is what allows the icing to develop a crust and hold any shape you pipe it into. Continue adding the sugar until the icing has reached a fluffy, spreadable texture without being too dry. If you take it too far add water, but only in extremely small increments (as in less than 1/2 teaspoon) at a time.

This icing holds colors beautifully but is also a delicious white all by itself. If you need it to be extra white you can buy whitening at any store that sells decorating stuff.

To make it chocolate flavored omit the lemon juice (I usually replace it with chocolate liquor) and replace one of the cups of powdered sugar with cocoa. This is not a traditional chocolate icing recipe, but will do if you already have this one going and need to make half and half.

This is the easiest icing to use to ice cupcakes; it holds up really well.

Note: While icing is being used keep a damp towel over it to prevent it from crusting inside the bowl. If this happens it will alter the texture; just take it back to the mixer and add 1/4 teaspoon of water then mix it until it is smooth again.

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