Need HELP on Buttercream

Baking By lvtig1 Updated 24 Mar 2013 , 4:26pm by -K8memphis

lvtig1 Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 1:34pm
post #1 of 37

I am making my first wedding cake on Saturday, and made a buttercream recipe for icing and decorating.  It is NOT crusting at all and is way too soft and fluffy.  I made several large batches and am wondering if I can salvage it. What ingredient makes buttercream crust?  I am in a panic mode right now and hope someone can help me.  ALSO, it turned out very grainy.  I have made buttercream many years ago and never had these kind of problems.  I hope someone can help me!  Can someone recommend a buttercream recipe that CRUSTS?  OR can I add an additional ingredients to this batch.  (actually I have THREE batches made already)


Here is the recipe I used.  I left some out on a dish all night and it is as soft as whip cream. icon_sad.gif




2 cups Crisco
2 cups butter......NOT margarine.....softened
1 tbsp. vanilla flavoring
1 tbsp. almond flavoring
1 tbsp. butter flavoring
1/3 cup extra rich dry coffee creamer
1/3 cup boiling water
1 tsp popcorn salt
4 pounds pure cane powdered sugar (2 full bags)

Place softened butter and Crisco into your mixing bowl and beat with the paddle attachment for about 7-8 minutes until it has lightened in color and is nice and creamy in texture. (I use speed 6 using a standing Kitchen-Aid mixer.) WORDS TO LIVE BY: 
Speed 4 for the Beater Blade 
Speed 6 for the regular flat beater (paddle attachment) 

While that is mixing, I measure out 1/3 cup of water in a liquid measuring cup. Place this into the microwave and heat till boiling. My 1100 watt microwave takes about 40-45 seconds roughly. In a 1/3 c. dry measuring cup, measure out the extra rich coffee creamer. Combine the boiling water and the dry coffee creamer together in the liquid measuring cup. Stir with a spoon until it has dissolved completely. Add in the popcorn salt to this hot liquid and stir to dissolve. 

Add the flavorings to the Crisco/butter mixture and blend well.

Using the lowest setting on your mixer, alternate the powdered sugar and coffee creamer liquid until all is incorporated nicely. Turn the mixer up to speed 6 and beat for 8-9 minutes. The frosting will get nice and fluffy and a wonderful creamy texture.

36 replies
-K8memphis Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 2:14pm
post #2 of 37

i don't know of a cure for grainy except to replace the powdered sugar


your recipe might get crustier if you add some more creamer but i have only used milk powder and i don't use it currently


your recipe has one cup of fat for every scant four cups of sugar--that amount of fat is keeping it from crusting and i guess the coffee creamer isn't coming to your aid for some reason


somewhere between that recipe and this recipe is probably where you wanna be


i just use


  • 1 cup fat (butter)
  • 1/2 cup liquid (cream or buttermilk)
  • 2# powdered sugar*-- domino or reliable store brand--not necessarily the cheapest
  • flavors


  1. i put the fat (in first makes scraping easier) & some sugar in the mixer and mix to incorporate the fat some
  2. add the rest of the ingredients-i try to pour the milk so it slides down to the bottom of the bowl--makes scraping easier
  3. scrape down right away once or twice and be sure you get the bottom bits before the top gets too smooth
  4. let it mix slowly for a long time
  5. if it has terrible air holes --smooth it out as you go little by little (when applying it to the cake) by stirring and if necessary add a tablespoon of hot water to the stirring--often when you go over & over the icing with your spatula trying to get it nice & smooth putting it on the cake--the rest of the air holes disappear


i think if you add about a 3 tablespoons or a quarter cup of powdered milk to step one it will crust more heavily but this crusts for me as is w/o the milk powder


if you decide to try it do not jump in and make a big batch of this

make a small batch and see how you like it--even a half batch


or combine the two recipes for where you will be comfortable with the fat to sugar ratio


*sift if necessary--like if the powdered sugar comes in a paper bag or if it's been opened previously--usually the plastic bags of domino don't need to be sifted


those ingredient ratios are from colette peters recipe in her books


take a deep breath 


take this one step at a time


you'll be fine

lvtig1 Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 2:38pm
post #3 of 37

Thank you so much.  I am so stressed right now and almost in tears.  Thanks for your advice.  It is my daughter's wedding cake and I wanted it to be perfect, so badly.


So my recipe has double the fat as the one you are using, K8memphis? 

-K8memphis Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 2:52pm
post #4 of 37

i've done several for my kids & family and have a big one coming up


all of them were awesome in their own ways


one of them was so overwhelming just simply overwhelming and frankly i am still overwhelmed from it ;)


they did not pick a design and i never hit my internal 'edit' button until i was forced to sink or swim and i think i swallowed a lot of water--shoulda been rum & coke icon_biggrin.gif


anyhow--just relating to the feelings-- i get it!!!~~~~~~~~~~


so try to focus on doing a good cake -- a good cake will be very good


seriously if you can screw the 'perfect' thing that might help relieve some tension


do the best you can with what you have and it will be fine


cry if you need to to get it out of you and move on


you're gonna do fine


do a good solid cake--that will be a great accomplishment---you can do it


sweep the floor, clean off the counters and table--you got this!!!

Roseyrod Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 2:53pm
post #5 of 37

Here is one from Edna De La Cruz.




  • 1/2 cup solid high ratio shortening
    • 1/2 cup butter softened
      • 1 tablespoon of merengue powder
        • 1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract (or extract of choice)
          • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approx. 1 lb.)
            • 2 tablespoons milk




In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla and milk. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating on a slow speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. Keep bowl or covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.  Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Don't overwhip or it will bring air to the icing and is impossible to smooth. If you have a kitchen Aid use white attachment, not whip attachment. You can use coffee creamers for flavorings or combine extracts.

YIELD: Makes about 3 cups.



For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

For Pure White Icing (stiff consistency), omit butter; substitute an additional 1/2 cup shortening for butter and 1/2 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor. Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes.





If you are using a vegetable shortening withouth the transfats, the consistency
of the icing might change. Use whole milk to bring some fat to the mix. Or try to use a vegetable shortening that has all the transfat. For best results, use high ratio shortening.


I rather use high ratio shortening than shortenings that have no transfats. The consistency changes a lot when it's used with shortenings like Crisco. The buttercream is more crumbly and dry when its done with 0 transfat. And more smooth when it's done with high ratio.

The late news is that Walmart is making their shortening 0 transfat. So try and find one that has fat in it.

 Your best bet will always be high ratio shortening like CK High Ratio, Sweetex or Alpine.  These are the most common ones out there. Usually found in food suppliers. Sometimes found in Sams or Costco, but not in all of them.



Keep in mind that you can use less butter for a stronger icing. Just compensate it with more High ratio and compensate with butter extract. I add some almond extract too. If you use Crisco, your icing might be gritty. It's caused by the lack of quality in the vegetable shortening. For a good buttercream that is smooth, use high ratio.


Roseyrod Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 2:57pm
post #6 of 37

Here is one from Sharon Zambito.  I have used this one for a real crusting and creamy effect.

Sharon's Crusting Buttercream Icing

5 Quart Recipe.  Adjust recipe volume to fill your mixer completely.


5 generous cups of high ratio shortening (Sweetex recommended)

5 lbs powdered sugar

4 TBS Wedding Bouquet flavoring (or substitute your flavoring of choice in the appropriate amount)

11-12 TBS hot coffee creamer liquid


Cream the shortening, flavorings and hot liquid with paddle attachment until well combined and creamy.  Then stream in first 3 pounds of powedered sugar with mixer running at speed one.  When incorporated somewhat, stop and scrape down sides of bowl well.  Stream in last 2 pounds of powdered sugar at speed one.  When incorporated, turn the mixer up to speed 6 and let beat for 5-7 minutes until very smooth.  Scrape down sides of bowl very freqently while the mixer is going at speed 6. 

The goal is to get all of the icing down into the belly of the bowl and fill the bowl from side to side with no air gaps around the walls, as well as covering the paddle up to the springs.  If the icing is making a sucking or "kissing" noise after all the sugar is in, add just a few drops more of liquid, whiele scraping down the sides, with the mixer running until that stops.  You should create a bowl full of icing side to side, where the paddle is compltely submerged and beating in a vacuum under the icing.  5-7 minutes at speed 6 and you should have a smooth as silk and nearly airless icing.  Cool before using.


YouTube clip: 


-K8memphis Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 3:02pm
post #7 of 37
Originally Posted by lvtig1 


So my recipe has double the fat as the one you are using, K8memphis? 



yeah double -- but a lot of them do--then they add meringue powder or the milk powder or creamer to get it to crust and yours is not cooperating for whatever reason


to try a salvage maybe you could add some more creamer


just take a blob of your current icing and add some dry creamer and see what happens if it improves it


if it can mix in well and if it makes it crust

lvtig1 Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 3:19pm
post #8 of 37

Great ideas everyone.  I will try to salvage it first by adding some dry creamer.  If that does not work, plan B is to try a whole new recipe with half the fat.  If that fails, I will look into buying premade frosting. (a small fortune)  I really appreciate your prayers right now. I am feeling so hormonal, stressed and this mess is putting me over the edge.  I sure wish I drank!  I would have some of that Rum and coke mentioned above.  On second thought maybe I will go buy some.  icon_biggrin.gif

-K8memphis Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 3:28pm
post #9 of 37
Originally Posted by lvtig1 

Great ideas everyone.  I will try to salvage it first by adding some dry creamer.  If that does not work, plan B is to try a whole new recipe with half the fat.  If that fails, I will look into buying premade frosting. (a small fortune)  I really appreciate your prayers right now. I am feeling so hormonal, stressed and this mess is putting me over the edge.  I sure wish I drank!  I would have some of that Rum and coke mentioned above.  On second thought maybe I will go buy some.  icon_biggrin.gif  My 88 year old mother just gave me one of her Ativan.  She did not know what else to do for me.  I am a complete mess right now.  Two days ago I finished gumpaste roses and they look pretty darn good.  I had NO idea the buttercream would be the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak.



i think just buying something reliable is a great idea


but no driving on fresh ativan either!


you need to cut your losses srsly


you don't need to be recipe testing this week


your roses will save the day!!!


a rose by any other cake name smells as sweet


if you buy icing--you may or may not want to put it in your mixer to refresh it


you can add flavor to it too if you want


geez, kate, too many options--

shut up already!!! icon_biggrin.gif


♥ a beautiful rose on a cake made with love wins ♥

ddaigle Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 3:31pm
post #10 of 37

I hate to say this....but you can' fix "grainy".    I have made a gazillion batches of butter cream and I have had only one "grainy" batch.   I am convinced that I had a bad batch of powdered sugar.  


Instead of all the stress of"fixing" what you have.....take a deep breath...ditch the butter cream... and start over with one of the recipes above.   Make sure you get name brand powdered sugar.  

lvtig1 Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 4:22pm
post #11 of 37
Originally Posted by ddaigle 

I hate to say this....but you can' fix "grainy".    I have made a gazillion batches of butter cream and I have had only one "grainy" batch.   I am convinced that I had a bad batch of powdered sugar.  


Instead of all the stress of"fixing" what you have.....take a deep breath...ditch the butter cream... and start over with one of the recipes above.   Make sure you get name brand powdered sugar.  

Thanks everyone.  I did use C and H in a 4 lb bag.  Used it on all (now 4 batches)  Adding dry creamer is helping some.  Still messing with it.  I will phone the cake store to see what the have for pre-made icing.

-K8memphis Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 4:36pm
post #12 of 37

sam's club sells it too--probably costco too--restaurant supply places


how is the grainy-ness??


it might not even be noticeable once you're eating it with the cake?


maybe put some in the mixer and let it mix and mix and mix and mix--see what happens?


sounds like all you need to do is resolve the degree of graininess maybe eat some with cake


if you can get the green light on the texture then keep adding the creamer--you'll get there

lvtig1 Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 4:42pm
post #13 of 37

The grainy-ness is going away, too.  To a full batch I am adding 3/4 boiling water (thinking it might help melt the grainy-ness and it seems to).  Then I added 1 and 1/2 cups powdered creamer, mixed real good, then tons more PS, adding a half cup at a time.  I am praising all of you and GOD that it is working!!  It is NOT too grainy, I think acceptable and it is CRUSTING, so I can at least smooth it out a bit.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU.  You all have saved me from a nervous breakdown, of course the atavin that mom gave me is helping too.  LOL.  I can breathe again.  Thank you, God!!

-K8memphis Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 4:59pm
post #14 of 37





geez being mom-of-bride without a cake to make is daunting enough




if it gets too thin you can add cornstarch too


geez i can feel the ativan working from here hahahaha  icon_lol.gif

lvtig1 Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 5:17pm
post #15 of 37

It will NOT be 100%, dream come true frosting, but it will crust and it will WORK.  Now, to finish all 4 batches and then maybe I can fit in a haircut and pedicure.  Tomorrow is baking day, so please add that to your prayers.  Those darn cakes better behave.  I will be using the WASC recipe, which I also have never tried.  I am going to start early ie 6 am!  I need plenty of time in case ....... of ..... well you know.  Seriously,  K8memphis, you were a god-send today!!  Bless your heart!


And thank you everyone else for saving my sanity.

-K8memphis Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 5:24pm
post #16 of 37

could you make one recipe today? after the haircut?


or toss it in the oven now real quick?

ivys5652 Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 5:58pm
post #17 of 37

I never use hot water or ingredients. I use 1/2 can of Crisco to 6# powder sugar 2 packets of DREAM WHIP, 1/2 teaspoon salt. 3/4 cup water 1 teaspoon clear vanilla, and 1 teaspoon butter flavor McCormick's is the best. I whip the Crisco then add packets of Dream Whip, salt and powdered sugar, blend on speed 2 this is very stiff but then you gradually add the water and flavorings. when blended remove some for flowers, then whip at speed 8 with the wire whip. this will give you more volume. I would suggest you add a cup at a time of powdered sugar to your batch to get it to a nice consistency. Mark how many you added to the first batch then add that same amount to each of your other batches. it will work and it sounds like your icing will have a very rich flavor. once crusted if you want the look of a fondant cake. Take a moist viva Paper towel lay gently on the butter cream and smooth with your hands gently, this will smooth the cake and it will have the look of fondant with out the work of fondant. use only viva towels. The yellow and red on this cake are butter cream, every body thought they were fondant.


lvtig1 Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 7:14pm
post #18 of 37

Love your recipe and cake, Ivy!  I might try one cake later.  I spent four hours redoing all the icing and it is now in an acceptable state, thanks to YOU!  I am so tired, after grabbing some lunch will go for a haircut and then probably meeting my daughter a couple hours later for a pedicure!  That will be so relaxing, especially that I can spend some time with her.  I am so happy she has found someone she loves, but am a little concerned as I love her so much and want only the best for her.  We don't know her fiance very well, yet, so this is where our concern comes from.


 I am just so emotional right now and the icing fiasco put me over the edge.  icon_biggrin.gif


Sorry for expounding about this on a cake forum.  Just wanted you to know how important this cake is.  It is truly a labor of love.  Now you all are taking part of this love gift and I so appreciate you all.

-K8memphis Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 7:45pm
post #19 of 37

omg lvtig--what a sweet story!!


omg ticks are the deadliest terrorists--i obviously don't need to tell you that--and a lot of people never turn that corner like she did--wow wow wow wow wow


no wonder you needed that ativan--having used up more than the average alottment of patience in a previous life--and just doing a wedding cake for a random client can do that to you without all the other--you're making an "angel food cake' by an angel for an angel


yes he better be a good one!!!


it's a labor of miracle love--nothing doubting


yay--enjoy your day!!!


ps. cake central is 'open' 24 hours a day ;) unless they are updating it for a few minutes--so we're here for you-no worries

lvtig1 Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 8:11pm
post #20 of 37

A SERIOUSLY BIG hug for you, K8memphis!  I'd treat you to lunch if you ever come to southern California!!

-K8memphis Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 2:11pm
post #21 of 37
Originally Posted by lvtig1 

A SERIOUSLY BIG hug for you, K8memphis!  I'd treat you to lunch if you ever come to southern California!!


thank you so much--i do have peeps all over california!!!


how's the baking going???


all is well???


no news is good news???

jiya11 Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 2:40pm
post #22 of 37

Ivtig, I just read this thread and wanted to wish you all the best! Hope all is going on well.. I have my fingers crossed...

P.S. I have great respect for K8memphis.. she is always there to save the day.. thumbs_up.gif

denetteb Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 3:05pm
post #23 of 37

The mock shack recipe that you used is my go to recipe.  The only one I use anymore and it crusts for me.  So not sure why yours isn't working or what it takes to fix it.  The other thing is, even if it doesn't crust you still can use the icing, you just cant use the viva or melvira techniques to smooth it.  Check into smoothing techniques for non crusting buttercreams.  Another thing with the graininess, it may seem grainy when you take a bite of it on a spoon, but it really isn't so noticeable when you are eating it with the cake.  Hope things are going well.

ivys5652 Posted 15 Mar 2013 , 4:05am
post #24 of 37

I am so glad that her health returned to he;r now relax and do the cake!! Of course we all want to have a picture of this labor of love. I must say that my parents were OK with my mate way back when but his parents always let me know they thought he could do better but; I think God gives us what we can handle and well lets say that in just 4 years and 3 months we will celebrate our 40th.

lvtig1 Posted 15 Mar 2013 , 4:26am
post #25 of 37

Thanks JIYA11 for your kind words  You are right.  K8memphis is a blessing for sure.  Ivys5652, Thanks for sharing your love story!  I pray that for my daughter!!  Her dad and I have been married 43 years this June, prayerfully the two of them will do the same.  


Regarding the cake, I baked it today.  It was another story in itself.  I posted in a new thread.  Tomorrow is icing, filling decorating and stacking.  icon_biggrin.gif

AtomicBakes Posted 18 Mar 2013 , 6:57pm
post #26 of 37

On this topic of frosting, do any of these recipes stand up well in the heat (particularly directed at K8Memphis and the recipe she posted, but anyone else as well)? The reason I am asking is that I prefer to use butter rather than Crisco (for flavor and I prefer more natural/less processed ingredients), but butter recipes have not stood up to the south Louisiana heat for me and I feel destined to have to use Crisco based frostings. I will not use hi-ratio due to the transfats. It may make a gorgeous frosting, but I have to draw the line somewhere on the unhealthy ingredients. I'm currently using the Whimsical Bake House house buttercream recipe which calls for a combination of shortening and butter. It tastes wonderful, but it does not crust (which is fine by me MOST of the time) and unfortunately it is just more soft than I would prefer. Chime in southern girls!

ddaigle Posted 18 Mar 2013 , 7:10pm
post #27 of 37

Hey Atomic......Brusly girl here.   I used to use Buttercream Dream...half butter/half crisco but as you know...Louisiana weather is brutal.  It was also not super duper white.   I switched to IndyDebi's recipe...all crisco....very white and heat tolerant.    The extracts you use will also make it amazing.  

AtomicBakes Posted 18 Mar 2013 , 8:22pm
post #28 of 37

Thanks so much! I have heard good things about IndyDebi's recipe. The problem is that everyone on here loves a different recipe so then I still end up with a thousand to try. It helps to have someone's input that gets the local climate. I adore SMBC and used it for my own wedding cake, but that was the last time. Fighting with the heat, my hot hands, it getting too stiff after chilling, it was just too much. Tastes fabulous, but I need a frosting that works every time, not just in the winter. I don't mind if a recipe isn't perfectly white, but it doesn't hurt either. I'll give it a try. Do you know if you can adapt it for cream cheese?

ddaigle Posted 18 Mar 2013 , 8:46pm
post #29 of 37

I tried the Decorators Cream Cheese Icing recipe.. that is here on cake central.   It is a combination of butter cream & cream cheese.   It was a stable cream cheese icing..but I found it to mild of a cream cheese flavor.  I am dying to try SMBC.

AtomicBakes Posted 18 Mar 2013 , 8:57pm
post #30 of 37

I have made SMBC and IMBC. I loved both. I found that there is pretty much no way not to be able to correct it if you have a problem, but mine always came out great. Here is a link to a great article to read before you make it the first time  . I hate frosting and I could eat it by the bucketfull, but it just won't take the heat. It is silky and gorgeous in the house. Firm as a stick of butter in the fridge. Practically liquid outside in Louisiana. It's all the butter. I had issues with it and the temp just transporting to an indoor party in April. I'm off to get Dream Whip and try Indy Debi's. Just to bug you one more time (and yes, I should probably PM, but we've gone this far.....), have you tried Bettercreme? Sam's sells it from the bakery (in 15 lb buckets!!! would take me a year to use) and I hear it's fab but I haven't heard about temperature issues.

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