Cake Central › Recipes › Crusting Buttercream Icing (VIVA Method)

Crusting Buttercream Icing (VIVA Method)

I stumbled across this recipe online and I love it. Very creamy and makes decorations beautifully. Got best results with the VIVA paper towel method!

Crusting Buttercream Icing (VIVA Method)


  • 2 lbs. sifted powdered sugar 1/2 cup or 1 stick butter, softened. 1-1/2 cups solid vegetable shortening 2 tbsp. clear vanilla extract 1/3 cup water for icing cake -OR- 1/4 cup for stiff consistency. 1/4 tsp. almond extract


  1. Cream butter, shortening, and extracts until creamy and smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and water. Mix thoroughly on medium speed for hand mixers, low speed for stand mixers, until smooth and creamy. Do not overmix or mix on high speed.
  2. For whiter icing, use butter without dye (health food stores)
  3. For stiffer icing, use 1/4 cup of water instead of 1/3 cup.
  4. If you live where it is humid, you can add 1-2 tbsp. meringue powder.
  5. Let set for 15 minutes before smoothing with a VIVA paper towel.
  6. Icing can be refrigerated for 2 weeks in an airtight container. Iced cake can sit at room temp. for 2-3 days.
  7. *Any flowers made with this recipe remain soft enough to be cut with a knife.*

Comments (90)

I used this to make a cake for my cousin and everyone loved it! Such an awesome recipe! Crusts very well and holds up better than any other recipe I have used. Thanks so much for sharing this! Will be my new most used buttercream frosting!
I'm just wondering, how do you make the sugar melt? Do you boil it in the water? Otherwise there's gotta be grains of sugar in the icing, or does it just melt in the butter at room temperature?
Can this be used on a wedding cake? Is it able to be perfected enough? And smoothed enough? Thank you!
Can't you just use all shortening instead of butter to make it all white?
Do you use salted or unsalted butter?
This is the second buttercream icing I've made so far and it's great! Very fluffly and made enough to cover 50 cupcakes. Excellent recipe!
Karakri, I believe you're referring to granulated sugar. To make frosting you should use powdered sugar, never granulated. And no you don't have to melt it. Hope this helps.
ashk36, use unsalted butter.
Rowena you can use all shortening, but if the beige color is a concern you can always purchase a product called "Icing Colors - White - White" from Wilton. You can find it at any craft store.
I absolutly love this recipe!!! I use this buttercream for majority of my specialty cakes and I have to say it is perfect! Holds up well in humidity, even in Charleston, SC where I live. Never had such an easy frosting to work with until I came across this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing!!!!!
This is my new favourite hands down!!!!
Yes, this one is definitely the keeper! I live in the most humid place on Earth and this is the one that holds up. An all-shortening buttercream like Wilton's works all right, too, but for some reason it tastes like pure shortening in this hot, damp climate. I was hooked from the first time I made it.
My favorite to use. It holds up very well even in the humid areas in the south - coastal NC. However, instead of almond flavoring, I add a bit of butter flavoring - it is out of this world! Thanks so much for posting.
how many cakes will one batch of this recipe cover?
I LOVE, love this recipe, and alot of people have commented on how smooth I can get it. However, the last time I used it, it was an Extremely humid day and I had a hard time getting it to stay on the side of the cake! It kind of wanted to slide down! I think maybe I used too much liquid, tho...I'm sure it was something I did b/c I'd never had it happen before (and I live in central TX, so it's usually very humid).
Can someone explain the part where the VIVA paper towel comes into the recipe??
Re: Can someone explain the part where the VIVA paper towel comes into the recipe?? Allow your buttercream icing to crust on the cake ( you will be able to touch the icing without it coming off on your fingers ) After it has crusted to touch, you can use a viva paper towel and gently place in on the cake and run your hand gently over the paper towel to smooth the icing. If the icing sticks to the paper towel then it has not crusted enough and you should wait a bit longer then try again. If properly done the icing is really smooth like fondant. Good luck.
I have the same question as Madandlyla-how much cake will this recipe cover? I have to cover a double-layer 8" and a double-layer 10", and enough left over for mounds to create you think if I triple this recipe that will be enough?
I am so hooked on this recipe I LOVE IT!!!!!! And will not use anything else. I use salted butter to cut some of the sweetness. I also found that instead of using all veg shortening I found at Wal Mart has a very cream white shortening and that's all that is says on the container"shortening"(great value). It comes out really white too. Hope this helps someone!!!!!!
Can this be left out
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