Today I have a free video from the online school for you! Here, I’m showing you how to make my signature buttercream recipe. This buttercream has become known the world over over the last decade. You may have heard of it referred to as “Sugar Shack’s Buttercream” from back in the day when that was my cake business name and online handle.
This icing is so forgiving, elastic and easy to work with. It gives you an incredible amount of “work time” before it loses it’s mind and can’t be worked anymore. (Other recipes literally give you a couple minutes before they freak out.)
- 5 1/2 generous cups Sweetex shortening or other brand of hi-ratio shortening.
- You may substitute some or all shortening with butter but it will make a softer icing and the liquid amount needed will be less.
- Hi ratio shortening makes a much better icing overall. If you can’t get hi ratio, then be sure the one you use does have at least 3 grams of trans fats per serving. Crisco or other zero trans fats shortenings don’t work in this recipe.
- 5 pounds powdered cane sugar, unsifted
- 4 Tbsp. Wedding Bouquet flavoring (or substitute your flavoring of choice in the appropriate amount and adjust the creamer amount to compensate and maintain correct total liquid amount)
- 12 – 14 Tbsp. hot coffee creamer liquid which is made from mixing a 1:1 ratio of plain powdered coffee creamer with near boiling water. (* You may need to adjust the amount of liquid from batch to batch. Powdered sugar and shortening batches vary and can affect the amount needed.)
This video will give you all sorts of tips and tricks for making it, as well as my secret to getting a PERFECTLY smooth batch of buttercream with no air bubbles! This recipe is so versatile, you can use it underneath fondant and you can even use an impression mat on it. This is a crusting buttercream, so you can also use the Viva paper towel method to get that perfectly smooth, faux fondant finish. There are more videos on all of these techniques in the school, and I hope to see you there! (see below for a free trial offer.)
About butter: I make this with all shortening in the video, but you can substitute up to half with butter. You will have to decrease your liquids in that case, because butter has more water content than shortening. The icing will be more heat and humidity stable the higher the ratio of shortening to butter it has.
NOTES: There are many many many American buttercream recipes out there, but this one has really great properties: super easy to smooth, allows for super sharp edges and corners, crazy long work-ability time, elastic and easily patched/repaired, less prone to cracking and blowouts, non greasy and creamy mouth-feel. BUT in order to get these amazing results the recipe needs to be followed exactly as presented:
- Hi ratio shortening is crucial, as it creates a much higher quality icing and provides the wonderful properties of this particular icing. Some folks have trouble getting hi ratio, so the 2nd choice would be a store brand that has at least 3 grams of trans fat per serving. That icing will not be as good as with hi ratio, but better than……. Crisco and other zero trans fats shortenings; they will not work and result in a curdled soupy mess.
- The best brand of hi ratio is Sweetex, followed by Alpine, but other brands can work as well. You can’t buy hi ratio in a grocery. It’s a commercial grade shortening with extra emulsifiers that can be found at bakery and restaurant supply houses, cake decorating stores and online. Buying it in small portions from cake supply stores will be more expensive than grocery shortening, but the difference it makes is well worth it. However, if you purchase the 50 pound block, portion it out airtight and freeze, it is often more economical than store brands. Yay for saving money!
- The reconstituted coffee creamer powder is another critical ingredient to the awesome properties of this icing. I don’t use ready flavored liquid creamers as they have added sugar and other ingredients.
- Be sure your powdered sugar is 100% cane, not beet sugar and is 10x. I don’t know what it is about beets; I love beets, but boy oh boy they do not play well in the sugar.
- I use a wonderful emulsion flavoring called Wedding Bouquet, which is absolutely divine. I could drink it with a straw…. but I digress. You can use whatever flavorings you like, but adjust the total liquid amount as needed to compensate for the amount of flavorings you use.
- The all shortening version is cool room temp stable for weeks, and fridge and deep freeze safe for months, a year, maybe longer. Till Armageddon basically. Butter versions are good at room temp for at least a week, fridge and deep freeze safe for months, even a year.
- Meringue buttercreams (like Swiss Meringue) are another type of icing used in caking. Those are made with cooked egg whites, granulated sugar and all butter. They perform and taste differently. I use both kinds, depending upon the situation. Try them both! (I’ve got tutorials on this kind in the online school as well.)
You can change ingredients in my recipe with limited success, like using milk or cream, other shortenings or sugars, but please be aware that then renders it a different recipe, and it will not perform or look or taste as good as my original recipe
Amounts for 4.5 quart mixer bowl:
2.25 lbs Hi ratio shortening
4.5lbs. Confectioners sugar
3/4 Tbs. flavoring
15 Tbs. coffee creamer
15 Tbls. Warm water.
Amounts for 6 quart mixer bowl:
3 lbs sweetex or other hi ratio shortening
6.5 lbs powdered sugar (use a 4 cup measuring cup, 4 cups = 1 lb)
9 tbsp wedding bouquet or flavorings of choice (adjust total liquid as needed)
11 tbsp hot coffee mate liquid
Amounts for 8 quart mixer:
60.5 ounces of Sweetex, hi ratio shortening
1 1/3 cups of hot water and 1 1/3 cups powdered coffee creamer mixed as shown in video
4 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp butter flavoring
8 lbs powdered sugar
Disclaimer: this icing ain’t healthy; it ain’t organic; it’s loaded with trans fats, preservatives….and sugar! (And I get a lot of flack about it… party poopers 😛 ) I’m not claiming that it’s good for you. I’m claiming that it works and tastes great. All bad things in moderation is my motto. (Or heavy moderation in my case ) It is dessert after all!
If you’ve used my recipe, I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below. If you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to, because it may just change your caking life. Seriously, I am not just being dramatic. Once I changed to this recipe I was able to get cakes this smooth and sharp:
And that leads me to the free trial offer. You can join my online school for two free full weeks and have access to over 300 video and photo tutorials on a huge variety of topics for all skill levels. Also a ton of recipes, articles, photo gallery, forums, private Facebook group, and me! (I give personal support to all members.)
I have a full buttercream course that will lead you through making all the different kinds, to applying and smoothing (get your cake to look like mine above , troubleshooting, stacking and more. And I am there with you every step of the way answering questions and providing support.
Try 2 weeks for free. You can stay and pay or leave after that time; cancel anytime with no obligation. No upfront payment.
I hope to see inside the school. Happy Caking!
SugarEd Productions Online School