Here's my version of Charlotte's buttercream. It fits perfectly in the 4.5 quart Kitchenaid. The icing comes above the beaters which means that a lot of air bubbles are not incorporated and you get a nice creamy icing.
Start with the wire whip. Combine on low:
1/2 cup meringue powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Add 1 cup boiling water. Mix on low until well blended. Turn on high until stiff peaks form.
Change to paddle. Add in small increments:
2 sticks room temp butter (not too soft or the icing will be very soft).
3 cups Crisco. Blend after each addition. It will look curdled but just keep beating until blended. Turn on high and mix well. Turn back to low.
2 pounds powdered sugar added a little at a time.
2 tablespoons flavoring of choice- 1 vanilla and the other whatever you like-almond, hazelnut, lemon, orange. If you color the icing, add it now. Turn on high and let it go for 2-5 minutes or so. When it is done, it is very smooth.
You can replace 1 cup of shortening with cream cheese for cream cheese icing-also very good.
It keeps well outside of the refrigerator if you don't use all of it at once. Make sure it is covered because it does form a soft crust that you wouldn't want to clog your tips with the next time you use it. Smooth using whatever method is the best for you.
I just made this recipe, and I must have done something wrong. It definately tastes great, and it is light and fluffy and all that, but there are little lumps of meringue powder which did not dissolve. There are too many for me to use the icing I think. Other than that, it's great, but what did I do wrong? Should I sift the mirangue powder to get the lumps out? There were also big chunks that stuck to the whip (but I didn't notice them until I was removing the whip - after the had teh mirangue to stiff peaks, so it was too late). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!