This is absolutely the best buttercream frosting you will ever taste.
As much fun as decorating with fondant can be, when you want pure deliciousness, nothing compares to a true buttercream frosting.
And when I say a true buttercream, I mean BUTTER!
This recipe is not for you if you're looking to recreate the frosting you get on store-bought cakes. Ick.
I get compliments on this buttercream frosting every time I serve a cake frosted with it, and no one has ever left this frosting on the plate. It is fabulous!
Following this recipe, I explain the adaptations you'll need to make in order to use this frosting for decorations (flowers and borders) —please read them before you get started!
As I mentioned earlier, I'm not a fan of vegetable shortening in frosting, so you'll see that my first recipe calls for butter only. There's no question that an all-butter buttercream has the best taste. (Can you tell that I'm very passionate about this?!)
There are two issues with an all-butter buttercream frosting, however.
The first is that using only butter will not produce a white buttercream.
This has never been an issue for me, because I often add food coloring anyway. I also happen to like the look of ivory buttercream. You'll also note that I use real vanilla extract which would slightly tint the frosting even if you used all vegetable shortening and no butter. This is why some recipes will call for a clear (imitation) vanilla extract, but believe me, it just doesn't taste as good as the real thing.
The second issue is that butter is not as stable as shortening and will melt if the weather's hot.
For that reason, if the party will be outside on a really warm day I'll use half shortening and half butter. It tastes much better than using all shortening and gives the frosting some extra stability.
If you plan on making buttercream flowers or piped borders, and it's really important to you that the frosting be as stable as possible, I would use an all-shortening buttercream just for those decorations. It's horrible to see your petals go all droopy! I'd still frost the cake with an all-butter frosting.
Cream the butter, vanilla and milk (use a medium mixing speed so you don't get air bubbles in your icing). Gradually add the sugar, salt and meringue powder and mix until creamy.
Note: This consistency is good for frosting your cake and also for writing on it.
Makes about 6 cups.
Follow the same method as the recipe above.
This recipe will make about 3 cups of frosting. If you don't think you'll need this much, you can reserve 2 cups of it, add a couple of teaspoons of milk, and make a medium consistency icing for piping borders and making flowers that lie flat.
To the above stiff consistency icing add: 1 teaspoon of liquid (milk, cream or water) per cup of stiff icing and mix well. So, if you reserved 2 cups of stiff icing, add 2 teaspoons of liquid.