"Have patience, have patience Don't be in such a hurry When you get impatient, you only start to worry Remember, remember that God is patient, too And think of all the times when others have to wait for you"
Anyone remember this song from Sunday School? No? Check it out on YouTube here. You will be singing it all day! You are welcome!!
My husband sings this to me when I get frustrated, makes most situations even worse. However it reminds me of something my baker friend once told me. She said the key to perfect buttercream is to go slow!
If you've been following the blog you may have read, more then once, how much I don't like working with buttercream. I love the taste, especially when someone else makes it, but could never get it right.
My oldest is in school now and the other day my other two children both decided to have a two and a half hour long nap...at the same time!!!! If you are a momma you understand what an amazing time that is!! My hands were free and I had some time to sit and perfect this recipe once and for all.
Now I know what most of you are thinking, how difficult can it really be? I mean it's just icing. What I am trying to achieve is an icing with the right consistency so I can decorate my cakes and have it stay in shape.
The recipe itself is pretty straight forward, but after chatting with the experts and some research online I came up with some tips to help you achieve the prefect icing for decorating.
I got out my KitchenAid which I love SO much! My parents bought me one the Christmas after I got married. I cried. For real. If you have a stand mixer I suggest you use it instead of a hand mixer cause this will take a while and you may want both hands free.
Remember the main ingredient this needs is patience! Take your time. Unlike the perfect cupcake, you can let this keep mixing for a while.
The recipe calls for half a cup of butter and half a cup of shortening. You need your butter to be very soft but not melted. I left it on the counter over night and it was perfect. Place both in your mixer and start to mix on the lowest speed.
Another little tip just in case you've never noticed it before. On most shortening and butter packages/wrappers they have a ruler to help you cut the amount you need so you get accurate measurements every time.
You want to keep mixing until both are combined. Scrapping the bowl as you go. While that is mixing start sifting your icing sugar. Most times I would skip this step to save time but it is necessary. If you want a clean, clump free icing you need to sift it.
Once the butter and shortening are combined, with the mixer still on low add the icing sugar slowly half a cup at a time. In between cups of sugar add a little bit of warm water, to help thin out the mixture. If not your just gonna have a clump of sugary butter. You add as much or as little as you want until you achieve the consistency you are looking for. Scrapping the bowl every so often as you go.
If you want to add any flavors or vanilla extract this would be the time to do it as well.
I have had a lot of people ask how to cut the super sweet sugar flavor and remove some of the gritty texture and your answer is lemon juice! Add just a small amount to help it all blend together smoothly.
Once all the sugar has been added you can add more water or even more sugar to achieve the consistency you want. I wanted a thicker icing so once it was all evenly blended I turned off the mixer and tasted. Which is important, and the best part. You can adjust it by adding more vanilla or lemon juice if it's too sweet or bland.
Perfection! I just about jumped up and down when I lifted to taste! It was perfect. It was a little thicker then normal but compared to the runny mess from the past I was not complaining. You can always add just a little more warm water to the mix. No clumps of sugar or unmixed better. It was all combined and uniform.
Something you may want to consider as well is adding meringue powder.You don't use it often in other recipes but it is used a lot in icing recipes. It adds stability to the icing and a great texture.It is basically just dried egg whites. Perfect for piping and decorating. You can find it at Walmart, Bulk Barn, Michael's or any other craft or bulk food store in their baking isles. I didn't use it this time mainly because I ran out and didn't want to wake up the sleeping angels to go by any. Don't panic if you see it in a recipe and you don't have any. But next time your at the store, pick some up and try adding it to see if it helps you achieve your desired consistency and texture.
Other recipes call for milk instead of water. I tend to use water just in case it needs to sit out or if I use it under fondant I don't want it going bad. But there are other icing recipes that call for milk or cream for a reason. This one is personal preference.
Finally I added some color. I wanted pink icing to compliment my watermelon cupcakes.
Once you have iced your cake, if you still have left over icing you can store it in the freezer!
There you have it, a simple yet perfect buttercream icing. If I can do it, you certainly can do it! :)
1/2 cup of shortening
1/2 cup of butter
1 tsp of Vanilla
1 tsp of Lemon Juice
1/4 cup of warm water
4-5 cups of icing sugar
food coloring optional
1. Combine butter and shortening in mixer on low until completely combined.
2. Sift icing sugar, then add it to butter 1/2 cup at a time.
3. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Adding warm water slowly as you go until you achieve the consistency you desire. Keeping the mixer on the lowest setting.
4. Once it is all well combined place it into a piping bag and start decorating!