Searching for your new favorite crusting buttercream recipe? Well, look no further! This delightfully simple buttercream recipe is a breeze to mix up, so bake yourself a cake, and give this frosting a try.


  • 1 cup high-ratio shortening
  • 1 tablespoon of meringue powder
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract (or extract
  • of choice)
  • 4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water


In large bowl, cream shortening with electric mixer. Add vanilla and water.

Combine sugar and meringue powder.  Gradually add sugar mixture, 1 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Beat on low until incorporated scraping sides and bottom of bowl often.


  • Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
  • Makes about 3 cups.
  • For a thinner consistency, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk. If you are using a trans-fat free shortening instead of high-ratio shortening, the consistency of the icing might change. Use whole milk instead of water to bring some fat to the mix. For best results, use high-ratio shortening.



Debi56 Says... 2013-04-30 16:05:41

I have never heard of high ratio shortening what is it and where do I get it

cycakes Says... 2013-04-30 16:55:09

Debbie56, this might explain it better than I ever could. I order mine from a rest supply store. You can order it online as well, I just didn't want to pay shipping.


socal4now Says... 2013-04-30 18:51:42

Sad, sad, sad. It's not called high-ratio cream. It's BUTTER cream. This type of travesty, especially in today's health-conscious world is wrong. How unfortunate that cake decorating has advanced so far but the fundamentals are lost. If you don't have solid bones the body fails. Please stop this!

MsInes Says... 2013-04-30 19:52:08

Yeeepee !! What a way to explain this whole thing about "High-ratio"!! Bravo..Bravo to "socal4now"!!

ufgs0 Says... 2013-04-30 20:45:29

People, i can not believe how Disrespectful some people are. socal4now you are wrong and the instructor is right. She is one of the best cake decorators/ instructors in Florida and if you don't know what you are talking about, please shut up.

Hi ratio shortening sold by Proctor and Gamble to professional chefs comes in two forms that I'm aware of, liquid called Nutex and solid called Sweetex. Regular shortening is called Primex. The difference between it and regular shortening is that it contains microemulsifiers that allow a batter to hold more sugar and liquid. Most cakes will always have more flour than sugar, but one with more sugar than flour is a high ratio cake. This kind of batter will also hold more liquid, and we all know the two cheapest things a baker can sell are air and water. Look at the label on a can of crisco-- see that.. it says mono- and diglycerides. Those are microemulsifiers. So I'd say depending at what you are doing with it, you might get away with substituting. Except for Nutex. I don't think crisco can fill in for that in a cake. And if you find some, I have formulas. Surprisingly, P&G won't give you any.

And Msines, it's ok not to know some stuff but you should also be ashamed of "Bravo that ignorant person, if you have a question go to google.

and by the way "social4now" she is not a travesti, she is a very beautiful woman that take a very good care of herself. By the way she look like a barbie, not travesty. Please post a picture of yourself to see how you look like.

Jorge L. Sanchez

GlassSlipperGourmet Says... 2013-04-30 21:47:11

ufgos, i think you missed the point that social4now was trying to make. The above recipe is for buttercream, not cake batter. The point is that a true buttercream is made from butter - not shortening of any kind. Swiss, French and Italian buttercreams are true... American "buttercream" is not a true recipe as it contains no butter. The current trend is to avoid transfats in the interest of health. Hi-ratio and regular shortenings are not popular in health conscience diets and many areas have banned them. The comment about fundamentals, i believe, references that many bakers do not know how to make a true meringue buttercream, and the art of classic pastry skills are often overlooked. The comment used the word "travesty", i believe, in reference to the recipe being called a "butter"cream when it infact has no butter. It's an inferior imitation. You might want to look up the word's meaning, because is has nothing to do with Edna's appearance! She is, agreed, a lovely looking woman - but that has nothing to do with Social4now's comment. Sorry, you are wrong IMHO. the comment was not disrespectful, it was accurate. Your comment about how Social4 now "looks" is completely off base. And, Msines does not show any lack of knowledge with the comment.. i think you, again, misread or misinterpreted the language. There was no disrespect except from your last paragraph. :/ I personally believe American style icing ("butter"cream) and true Meringue based buttercream recipes are both valid and useful in different applications. I prefer Swiss buttercream, myself, but that is just my preference. Each baker has their preference, and is entitled to it! anyway... i'll give Edna's recipe a go and see if it changes my mind about American style buttercream... it's usually way to sweet and heavy for my taste - but i do sometimes need it for a specific application in decorating. :0 Kindly, Kelly

tcakes65 Says... 2013-05-01 08:14:40

Whether our society has become more health conscious or not, when you live in Florida you need an icing that is going to stand up to extreme high temperatures. Brides here will display their cakes outside in the middle of July in 90 to 100 degree heat. They don't give any thought to sugar being out in the heat and possibly melting. We have to use a stable icing and a meringue based or all butter buttercream will certainly not withstand the outdoor elements. Sometimes stability is more of a priority than whether some of the guests are health nuts. I use a combination of shortening and butter, if I know a bride will be displaying her cake outdoors. It is our obligation to make sure the cake can stand for hours outside here in Florida. Next time, please look at the bigger picture before criticizing someone. One of these days you may find this recipe will come in handy.

weirkd Says... 2013-05-01 09:49:11

If you look at Wilton's buttercream recipe, it has no butter in it. I have a book from Wilton when they were a young company. They had door to door salesmen selling their pans and my mom bought a set to make my sisters wedding cake (she was in high school and wasn't engaged or anything). The term buttercream is used to describe the frosting on the cake. It may or may not contain butter. If you live in hot humid areas you cannot have butter sitting out in the heat. That is a fact. Edna was nice enough to take time out of her busy schedule to give you a recipe that she uses on her cakes. And if your not familiar with her work, she is constantly in Cake Central Magazine and has been on Food Network Challenge, she is an instructor and a amazing person. So instead of arguing over the butter in buttercream maybe you should be gracious and say thank you.

Homemadebytz Says... 2013-05-01 11:18:40

I completely agree with weirkd, I have personally used this recipe for many of my cakes and let me tell you.... its perfect. Easy, delicious and holds up very very well! Thank you so much Edna for all your videos, tutorials and recipes. You are an amazing lady!

Bitzidee Says... 2013-05-01 11:32:43

Edna's Buttercream Is The Same As Wilton Class Buttercream.

Adria_NyxxTX Says... 2013-05-01 12:06:50

Sadly you can NOT decorate with pure butter cream, not the kind of flowers I make anyway, they melt and deflate and look like crap. Maybe it's different in the North but down here where it's 100 degrees any given spring, summer or fall day it just doesn't hold up.

musicmom27 Says... 2013-05-01 12:12:00

butter ain't exactly health food, folks! how about we take what info is useful to us, say 'thank you' leave it at that?

musicmom27 Says... 2013-05-01 12:12:43

*and leave it at that.

Niki3795 Says... 2013-05-01 20:26:50

Thank you so much for the simple recipe, and all the work that went into the tutorial!

NonSuch Says... 2013-05-02 00:38:11

The problem with this High Ratio Shorting isn't that it isn't butter but that it's FULL of TRANS fat!! These are deadly to out bodies! No one should be using this lethal stuff anymore, ever. To make my point, consider this. McDonald's is a multi- billion world wide company that VOLUNTARILY took ALL tarns fats out of their fry oil! Pepsico did the same thing. WHY? Because they are lethal to us humans. It will soon be the law but a lot of folks are fighting it. It keeps baked goods fresh for a long time on the shelf, even mold won't eat a number of these things. It took decades to get the red dye out of the foods that was causing cancer in our children but it finally happened. The trans fats are every bit as bad, look it up and you will see. Yes, it makes a lovely, creamy frosting and the reason is trans fats. Crisco has removed the trans fats from its product, at least. And no, it, along with butter, aren't great in large amounts. Women used to put belladonna in the eyes because it made them large and luminous and it killed them. They used to use mercury to felt hats and it drove people to madness and then killed them. Trans fats will be looked at just like this, years down the road and future people will wonder WHY we let this go on for so long! Understand the products you use and that you eat. It will change your life and may just prolong it, especially for your children!

margeann Says... 2013-05-02 09:55:17

Edna is simply showing how to make the Wilton's classic Class Buttercream icing, aka Decorator's Icing. There is no butter in the original recipe but it has been called buttercream for so long the name has stuck. Would YOU want to eat something called "Shortening Icing". Many countries won't allow you to call this recipe Buttercream because there is no butter in it. The U.S. has different standards, which many people are trying to have that changed, Also be aware that in the State of California, and a few other states, no longer allows Trans Fat in ANY shortening including Wal Mart brands, Hi- Ration Shortening, etc. Read the Nutrition Facts and the Ingredients label on the pkg. The gritty taste can come from the type of Confectioners' sugar you purchase. Look for PURE CANE Confecttioner's-Powdered Sugar. If it doesn't say Pure Cane, it is probably a Beet sugar product. There again to each their own. Best solution, Eat a small piece of cake and enjoy it. Thank for the video, it will be helpful for those that had no idea on how to make the Wilton Decorator's Icing.

CakeCrystals Says... 2013-05-04 10:23:33

I like Edna's tutorials and really appreciate her doing this for us decorators. As for all the negative comments, please keep them to yourself. If you don't want to try this recipe, move on to something else and let the rest of us enjoy the tutorial without all the negative comments. People are going use and eat what what they want whether ts bad for them or not. That's just how it is.

JRMcCakeBake Says... 2013-05-06 13:25:24

Edna, thanks for your tutorials and all the time you put into posting at this website dedicated to all things cake. Keep up the good work. I am lucky enough to live in an area where I can use buttercreams made with real butter year round and not have to worry about the weather. I did get my day's chuckle reading Socal4now's indignation of hi-ratio shortening rather than butter and, "This type of travesty, especially in today’s health-conscious world is wrong".....while on a CAKE website.

CyndyLu65 Says... 2013-05-06 18:07:43

Oh, JRMcCakeBake! Where is the "LIKE" button!! “This type of travesty, especially in today’s health-conscious world is wrong”…..while on a CAKE website. I nearly tinkled! :) Thank you to Edna for sharing her techniques and recipes. Being a baker, while under the scrutinizing and opinionated eyes of the public, isn't always the most glamorous place to be. You've got to be a grownup with thick skin, and realize that everyone's got an opinion and keep smiling and doing your own thing anyway, no? :) Peace.....

chaka1 Says... 2013-05-10 07:55:02

For the person that asked earlier, I got my high ratio shortening at a Gordon Food Services (GFS) store. Look online to see where they have locations. They don't have it in the store but they can order it for you. Unfortunately it comes in a 50 pound box but only costs about $1 a pound. You can buy it online but it's much more expensive, mainly due to the shipping costs. Shortening has been used for many many years in American buttercream. It's needed in order for the decorations to hold their shape, especially in hot weather. You can be sure that most stores, bakeries and restaurants use it on their cakes. Anything in excess is bad whether it's shortening, butter, desserts in general. But, since this is a cake website as some others said, and we are decorators, it's great information for people to know about so they can make up their own minds as to what they want to use. Edna is great and I thank her for all her tutorials.

yeah4cake Says... 2013-05-13 08:09:29

Well said, CakeCrystals!

ChrissieJennett Says... 2013-07-04 17:48:01

Dear everyone...Buttercream is clearly a term used lightly - often referring to frosting made from shortening and not butter because that's what people are used to calling it. We ALL know Buttercream is made from butter. How about you go get mad about something that actually matters...you know, like starving children or troops dying overseas. Stop getting your blood pressure up over what people choose to call their frosting.

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