Icing For Summer

Decorating By cutiger Updated 5 days ago by gigiel

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cutiger Posted 9 Jun 2016 , 2:08pm
post #1 of 30

I live in hot and humid South Carolina.  Does anyone have a go to icing that will hold up and not melt off a cake?  My customers all want buttercream rather than fondant covered cakes and even buttercream made with Crisco only just melts off cakes, no matter how long it has been allowed to set and crust.  Have tried adding meringue powder but it has not helped.  I have not tried any cooked frostings but am willing to.  I really appreciate any ideas!  Thanks!

29 replies
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julia1812 Posted 9 Jun 2016 , 5:45pm
post #2 of 30

There is nothing more stable than american buttercream especially if you use crisco/shortening. Ermine/cooked buttercream will melt eventually because of the butter. But having said that how do you store your cakes? If it's too hot outside put them in the fridge. I live in East Africa  (talking about hot and humid LOL) and keep my cakes in the fridge. But sometimes there are displayed for hours and cupcakes I never chill. I use swiss meringue buttercream most of the time and never had anything melting. Just wondering if your cakes are out in the sun or how can they melt???

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Apti Posted 9 Jun 2016 , 6:01pm
post #3 of 30

@cutiger ‍ 

Excellent, high-heat, high-humidity recipe CRUSTING BUTTERCREAM

[Important: Even though the recipe says "Crisco", recipe was used for years BEFORE Crisco changed their recipe to NON-TRANS-FAT. The current Crisco does NOT perform the same way it used to perform.]


Where the recipe calls for Crisco, substitute (if possible) the following:

BEST BY A MILE: High Ratio Shortening (this is only available from specialty cake stores or online. You cannot find this at a grocery store.)

2nd BEST: Grocery store brand white vegetable shortening that still lists 2-3 grams of trans-fat on the ingredients label

Use only as a last resort: White Crisco (not butter flavored). It will still work, and nobody else but you will know that it is a little grainy and not as smooth as it would be with one of the products in 1st or 2nd place above.)



INDYDEBI CRISCO-BASED BUTTERCREAM--(Excellent for hot/humid areas):

(IndyDebi is a very experienced decorator/caterer: http://cateritsimple.blogspot.com/)
Single Batch Recipe:

1-1/3 cups Crisco (BETTER: store brand shortening with 3 grams of trans-fats, or BEST, a specialty cake supply product called high-ratio shortening. As of 2010 Crisco no longer contains trans-fats.)

1/3 to 1/2 cup milk, depending on consistency needed
3 Tbsp powdered Dream Whip (powdered whipped topping mix made by Kraft Foods)
2-3 Tbsp clear vanilla, depending on personal taste (optional: almond extract, or lemon extract )
2 lbs. powdered pure cane sugar
IndyDebi says: “There's no wrong way to mix this. I usually mix all but the powdered sugar & milk for a minute or two, then gradually alternate the sugar & milk, but the only reason I do this is to avoid the "sugar-splash" factor. The longer the mixer runs, the smoother it gets. Sifting the powdered sugar before blending helps with smoothness but is not necessary.”

NOTE: Based on recommendations from other users of her recipe: 1) I make a double batch so the beaters are totally immersed to avoid air bubbles, 2) I beat the shortening, milk, Dream Whip, and vanilla for 10-15 minutes BEFORE I add the powdered sugar. I refrigerate or freeze leftover icing.


My cousin RICKI'S CRUSTING BUTTERCREAM that she's used for 30 years in hot, humid Kansas:
Ricki's Crusting Buttercream (high-heat, high-humidity)

(This recipe is a double batch. Any leftover icing will be ok in the fridge/freezer.)
1 cup + 4 TBSP water
2 cup Crisco (use high-ratio shortening if you have it)
½ tsp popcorn salt
1 tsp butter flavor
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp clear vanilla
8 tsp meringue powder
4 TBSP cake flour
1 cup corn starch
4 lb. C&H sifted powdered sugar

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Apti Posted 9 Jun 2016 , 6:08pm
post #4 of 30

@cutiger - I recommend you make a double batch of each frosting recipe above in a Kitchenaid stand blender.  (A double batch will nearly fill a 4-1/2 to 6 qt. bowl and helps to prevent air bubbles and make frosting smoother.)    You can then do family/friends taste-testing and practice by setting cakes outsides and see what happens to the frosting.

Although both recipes are excellent for hot/humid, Ricki's recipe is probably the most stable because of the corn starch and cake flour additions.   Both are crusting buttercream recipes and will do very well with piped decorations/borders/flowers, etc.

Info:  Popcorn salt is simply salt that is a much finer grain

I really think both of these recipes will work for you.


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cutiger Posted 10 Jun 2016 , 2:41am
post #5 of 30

Thank you so much for your help!  I have used Indy Deb's recipe and have had good luck with it.  I have not used it when it is so humid.  I don't store cakes in the fridge, mainly just because of space.  Apti, I can't wait to try your Cousin Ricki's buttercream.  I don't think I was putting in enough meringue powder.  The closest place that sells high ratio shortening is 2 hours away, so I guess I am going to have to break down and order some online.  Again, thanks so much for your help!  

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Apti Posted 10 Jun 2016 , 4:05pm
post #6 of 30

You are most welcome!

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woozy Posted 12 Jun 2016 , 9:22pm
post #7 of 30

Honestly, Crisco gets more vile each year. They ruined it for us when they took the cottonseed oil out, and it continues to become more disgusting. I use palm shortening, since I don't need a 50lb block, and I DO NOT trust the "repackaged" Sweetex.

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Apti Posted 13 Jun 2016 , 2:04am
post #8 of 30

@woozy -- I have to buy a 50 lb. block of the new-non-trans-fat-Sweetex tomorrow.  It's still way better than Crisco.   But, Lordee, I do hate breaking that 50 lb. block down into smaller chunks that can be frozen....

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Jeff_Arnett Posted 13 Jun 2016 , 1:42pm
post #9 of 30

Now I use a butter-based icing and we store all our cakes in the cooler until delivery......but.....years ago when I was first starting out, we used this recipe which was very popular around the area.  It holds up well in heat and I still use it to make air-dried piped roses.


Decorator's Icing


1 1/2 cup all vegetable shortening (hi-ration is best, store brand beats Crisco)

1/3 to 1/2 cup very hot water

2 pounds powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup cake flour

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring


Sift the sugar, salt and flour together in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Drop large spoonfuls of the shortening on top.

Add 1/3 cup very hot water.

Mix on low to combine, scraping bowl frequently.

As mixture comes together, continue mixing on low until smooth. 

Add in extracts. 

If icing seems to thick, add a teaspoon or two more hot water.


I make ahead and allow to rest a couple hours...it will firm up somewhat.


Remix on low before using, thinning with more hot water or corn syrup as need to reach desired consistency.





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cutiger Posted 14 Jun 2016 , 1:28pm
post #10 of 30

Thank you!  I'll give it a try!  I think adding the cake flour would help hold it together.  I really appreciate the help!  There is nothing more frustrating than watching beautifully smoothed and crisp icing just slowly start to slide off a cake! 


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remnant3333 Posted 16 Jun 2016 , 5:08am
post #11 of 30

  I used to live in South Carolina but moved to Tennessee.  The humidity there is awful.  I am sure it is frustrating trying to do cakes where the humidity makes it even hotter. Hopefully you can try some of the above recipes which will work better for you. Good luck and let us know which recipe works best for you. 

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ismol Posted 28 May 2017 , 11:35pm
post #12 of 30

@Apti ‍ Can u please tell me how to make your cousin Ricki's buttercream? Is it the way we do usual buttercream when we mix he shortening first before adding the sugar? Or is it the way we do decorator's icing when we first dissolve sugar in the water before adding the shortening and other ingredients?

Tia!

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Apti Posted 29 May 2017 , 1:23am
post #13 of 30

Cream together the shortening, then add the wet ingredients a little at a time, then add the dry ingredients a little at a time.   Then beat it for 2-4 minutes until creamy.  

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ismol Posted 1 Jun 2017 , 10:14am
post #14 of 30

Thanks for your reply @Apti ‍ 

@cutiger ‍ Have you tried Ricki's buttercream? How did it go?

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leah_s Posted 1 Jun 2017 , 7:05pm
post #15 of 30

I'm a big fan of Charlotte's Whipped Cream Buttercream.  (Google it.)  It holds up very well in high heat and humidity of the Ohio Valley.

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cutiger Posted 4 Jun 2017 , 1:49pm
post #16 of 30

I have not tried that recipe yet.  I did try another one...and it melted.  In April!  We had a very hot humid Spring, it was awful.  Had a wedding cake that I could not even get to stick to the cake board...with the air conditioner on 68.  Then, once it did finally set, 2 hours later, after decorating cake layers, the icing under the bottom tier melted and the cake was sliding off the board during delivery.  It was awful!  I won't do another wedding cake until I find a recipe that will stand up for at least an hour before melting.  If you find one, please let me know.  

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SandraSmiley Posted 4 Jun 2017 , 4:47pm
post #17 of 30

@cutiger ‍, anyone who underestimates South Carolina's heat and humidity certainly has not experienced it!  It makes Tennessee look like a want-to-be and we are famous for humidity.

Have you considered devising a box for transporting which has room for dry ice or ice packs?  I do very few cakes, but I am considering building one, like two boxes, one approximately four or five inches smaller all the way around than the other, and filling the spaces with ice packs, then wrapping the whole thing in a couple of quilts or blankets after the cake has been loaded and secured in the car.  Personally, I don't think there is a frosting that can hold up to SC summers for more than a few minutes without refrigeration.  Good luck.

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cutiger Posted 15 Jul 2017 , 1:51pm
post #18 of 30

I have considered making the boxes for transport and have watched tutorials on how to make them.  Usually, I only have a 5 or 10 minute drive to deliver so it just doesn't seem worth the extra cost.  I just make sure to cool off my car and have the AC on full blast before I load! :)  The best results I have had so far has been to make 2 different icings and combine them together.  So far I have used the Wilton's high humidity recipe and one that only uses shortening.  I iced the cake the night before so the icing was good and firm.  I'm still trying out all the recipes to see which one will hold up the best in humidity.  Believe it or not, I think the humidity is more of a problem than the heat.  Thanks again for your help and if anyone has had any luck with a recipe, please let me know!  partly_sunny

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gigiel Posted 15 Jul 2017 , 7:58pm
post #19 of 30

Hi cutiger! Loved finding this thread immediately after signing onto CC. Photo shoot w/1 yr olds smash cake in July OUTDOORS in Texas. More than usual rain for Tx has bumped humidity up over the top this year even for Tx. "Go to" recipes include a stabilized whipped cream type icing and regular American buttercream. The cake will be a simple 6" tall tier with rosettes completely covering the cake. I like to use the lighter icing as the weight of so much icing scares me due to description of circumstances listed above. Wondering if the recipes provided above will fit this situation. Will try this weekend. If anybody else knows what i'm talking about & can offer any words of wisdom other than recipes previously provided, i'd love you forever. I'm thinking piped rosettes are thicker/heavier than typical 1/4" smooth iced buttercream. THANKS!


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youngj Posted 1 week ago
post #20 of 30

So I have been making cakes for a few years now and I have never had my buttercream melt off. I live in Kansas city, so hot humid summers. 

The buttercream I use is:

1lb butter soften

1/2 High ratio shortening ( I use CK brand, you can buy it online. Amazon even sells it or sweetex, I have only used this in a bakery so we bought it bulk.)

5 c powder sugar ( to stiffen it up add 1 to 2 cups more)

1T clear vanilla 

1 t salt.

I freeze my cakes before stacking and after I am done with the cake I put it in the freezer until ready to transport. Unless it has fondant on it. 

I use this recipe for cupcakes as well. I do not freeze or refrigerate. 


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youngj Posted 1 week ago
post #21 of 30

So I have been making cakes for a few years now and I have never had my buttercream melt off. I live in Kansas city, so hot humid summers. 

The buttercream I use is:

1lb butter soften

1/2 High ratio shortening ( I use CK brand, you can buy it online. Amazon even sells it or sweetex, I have only used this in a bakery so we bought it bulk.)

5 c powder sugar ( to stiffen it up add 1 to 2 cups more)

1T clear vanilla 

1 t salt.

I freeze my cakes before stacking and after I am done with the cake I put it in the freezer until ready to transport. Unless it has fondant on it. 

I use this recipe for cupcakes as well. I do not freeze or refrigerate. 


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gigiel Posted 1 week ago
post #22 of 30

Icing was once  a problem in 37 yrs of 'caking.' First wedding cake I had made-Bridesmaid in same wedding I was to make the wedding cake for. (large wedding) Hurricane had blown thru south Tx. effecting north Tx. weather & a deluge had taken place the day of the wedding & this was in July & it was H O T. Watched, horrified as icing started falling off the cake under the weight of royal icing flowers during delivery. Set up and repaired as best as possible. Had to keep composure while being bridesmaid, ran immediately to reception area after ceremony to see if repairs had held up.  To my delight, photos of the cake were so nice. Mother of bride & bride were so gracious. But I learned my lesson. Make sure you KNOW the icing you will be using and & that it has proven to be weather proof in high humidity. * This photoshoot will be outside the Monday after it rained on Saturday & humidity lingers here for a day or two after it rains here.  Even though that disaster was so long ago, & first wedding cake, you still remember when it comes to outdoor cakes (icing specifically) in July. I am going to sample the INDYDEBI recipe above today, otherwise I will bite the bullet & one of my 'go tos.' Thanks

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cutiger Posted 1 week ago
post #23 of 30

youngi, this is the recipe I was using.  Melted right off the cake in the humidity.  My experience has been that by putting the cake in the fridge,  once it hits the heat and humidity, it makes the icing less stable and begins to melt even faster.  I must be doing something wrong!  Thanks for your help and the suggestions!

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SandraSmiley Posted 1 week ago
post #24 of 30

No, @cutiger ‍, I don't think you are doing anything wrong.  Like I said, South Carolina is the hands down winner when it comes to humidity and heat, even worse than Florida, in my opinion.  It is almost as bad here (middle TN) sometimes and I am not sure any frosting will hold up. 

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gigiel Posted 1 week ago
post #25 of 30

cutiger, Are you saying that the INDYDEBI icing melted off? SandraSmiley, icing & anything outdoors is a bad mix in July in the south.


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SandraSmiley Posted 1 week ago
post #26 of 30

@gigiel ‍, my cakes were not outside.  They were inside with air conditioning, not the best, but air conditioned non the less.  

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gigiel Posted 1 week ago
post #27 of 30

my bad. just re-read. going to carry on now. good luck to you cutiger.


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gigiel Posted 1 week ago
post #28 of 30

(Aaack! *I meant just re-read that you were msging in response to  youngj.)


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cutiger Posted 6 days ago
post #29 of 30

Yep.  Melted right off.  And it was April!  An extremely hot and humid day and the reception was in a restored old building with no air conditioning.  I have used that recipe for indoors with no problem.  I don't think concrete would have held up that day! 

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gigiel Posted 5 days ago
post #30 of 30

For anyone who might want to know the results of using INDYDEBI's recipe above: After several pop up showers, humidity was high Sunday evening (conditions perfect for experimenting before photoshoot on Monday right before sunset)  I iced the cake with rosettes. I placed it outside (in the shade) and left it set outside, without moving it. The rosettes didn't stay on for long at all. In less than 20 minutes, they were falling/melting off the side of the cake. So the rosettes from that recipe were a FAIL in my case. However, I was oked by the mom of the 1 year old to do a rough/rustic type icing on the cake, similar to this. Image result for ombre rough iced smash cake Here was the photographers comment after the photoshoot,"

Cake smash was a HUGE success!!"  Icing stayed on the cake with no meltdown. So the INDYDEBI icing was a WIN OUTSIDE in high humidity with perfect results, as long as it wasn't done in rosettes.  End of experiment.smiley



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