I use this recipe for a lot of things. Be warned though! It’s very sweet! Much sweeter than the Swiss Meringue buttercream I like to use sometimes. I actually think that this recipe might be a little better for you though. They make about the same amount of icing, but this recipe only calls for 2 sticks of butter, while the other one uses 4. It’s works well for covering cakes because you can use the paper towel trick. (Explained at the end). I imagine it would work well for piping (but I suck, so don’t quote me on that) because it crusts up nicely, making the edges hard and droop resistant. I also use it under my fondant because it has awesome sticking quality. Ok here it is:
2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
4-8 cups of powdered sugar (I use closer to 8 because it makes it nice and thick, but if you want it more speadable and maybe less sweet, use closer to 4)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or any flavor you’d like)
2 tablespoons of milk (I don’t really measure, I just fill up the cap to the milk container and dump it in. Do that once and mix it in, and if it still needs to be thinner, do it again.)
In a large bowl, cream the butter and flavoring together. Then blend in the sugar, one cup at a time making sure the sugar is completely mixed in before adding the next. This *will* make your arm hurt and/or sore the next day. Add milk if it’s too thick, more sugar if it’s not thick enough.
Oh and *don’t* use a hand held mixer! It was blow out the motor with a quickness. I know this from experience. It will also incorporate bubbles that will be next to impossible to get out, which will screw up any piping you plan to do.
If using the same day, keep it at room temperature, but cover it with plastic wrap so there isn’t any air between the buttercream and the plastic wrap. If you plan to use it within the next few days, refrigerate it, still covered with the plastic wrap. Just allow it enough time to come back to room temperature before you try to use it. You can help it along by mixing it up a little bit after it’s been out for a while, but is still kind of cold. I wouldn’t suggest putting it in the microwave. I have no idea what would happen if you did, but I imagine a lot of melting would occur. Also, make sure your cake or cupcakes are fully cooled before you add the icing.
The Paper Towel Trick
I tried to link it to the site I found it on, but Celebrate With Cake has changed it’s everything, so I couldn’t find it. It may still be there… I just didn’t have the patience to keep looking. If you do their search thing under recipes for ‘paper towel trick’, one of my creations comes up but it is of no help, but it is a good example of the paper towel thing. Anyway…. here it is:
After frosting the cake or cupcakes, let them sit for a while, until the buttercream forms a hard crust. You’ll be able to tell by lightly touching the icing. If your finger leaves a dent without any of it sticking to you finger, you’re golden.
Then you take a paper towel without a pattern punched into it (or a piece of parchment or wax paper, but they’re harder to work with) and place it on top of the cake. Lightly move your hand back and forth, smoothing out the buttercream underneath. Make sure you don’t push too hard, or you’ll break the crust that’s formed and end up with sticky buttercream on your paper towel, and a hole in the icing on your cake. Move the towel around the cake as needed, rubbing away all the bumps as you go. You can use a fondant smoother but it doesn’t work as well for me. I think it has something to do with the heat of your hand. It’s kind of hard to get a crisp edge on cakes, but I’ve always like the rounded edges it provides.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line here! Happy frosting!