High Ratio Frosting

This recipe is similar to our usual “Fluffy” buttercream, however there is no butter in this recipe. We are only using Hi Ratio shortening, which gives a fluffier, lighter frosting. The measurements are slightly different. We also use extra flavorings. Hi ratio shortening gives a creamier consistency to frosting than regular vegetable shortening. Because there is no butter, it works well with high temperatures. As with any of our American buttercreams, you can alter the consistency by adding more powdered sugar to thicken or more milk to thin it.

Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream using all Hi Ratio shortening

2 cups (386 g) high ratio shortening (We use Sweetex brand)
2 Tablespoons (24 g) clear vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon (2 g) butter flavoring
1/2 teaspoon (2 g) lemon or almond flavoring
4 lbs. (1820 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 cup (238 g) or more if needed – milk or heavy cream (you get a softer crust using heavy cream)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon (2g to 4g ) salt ( I use popcorn salt because of its fine grain or let your regular salt dissolve in the milk) This will cut the sweetness.

Cream the shortening and flavorings . Add the confectioners’ sugar and cream, mixing slowing and gradually increasing speed . Mix approx. 8 min. until creamy and smooth, DURING THE LAST 2 TO 3 MINUTES OF MIXING SLOW DOWN THE SPEED TO VERY SLOW THIS WILL ELIMINATE MOST OF THE AIR BUBBLES THAT OCCUR. If you are still seeing what looks like bubbles that have burst (small circles) in your buttercream, continue to add milk a teaspoon at a time until most of them disappear.
This is still sweet though the salt cuts some of the sweetness.

Makes appproximately 11 1/2 cups

***We slightly altered this recipe from our previous version, which had 2 lbs (910g) confectioner’s sugar. We still really like the previous version, but it has a much lighter and softer consistency and while it crusted, it didn’t crust quite as firm. Using the Viva and “roller” methods of smoothing is easier with the updated version.

Category: Frostings and Glazes, Recipes


  1. BeBe says: #101

    Hi April, I’m happy that you like the recipe. Thank you for posting.

  2. Savannah says: #102

    I am curious because I have to make some cakes without dairy in them, have you ever tried any other kind of milk like almond milk or soy or coconut milk?

  3. BeBe says: #103

    Hi Savannah, I haven’t tried that yet but have read that using unsweetened almond milk will give a good result. Let us know if you give it a try.

  4. Eva Buchholz says: #104

    Hello….. is this frosting okay out on a hot day, because of the cream? meaning a wedding cake.. thanks

  5. Melissa Diamond says: #105

    Hi Eva, as far as frostings go, this one which is made with high ratio shortening is going to handle heat better than most. The shortening has a higher melting point than butter, and so butter-based buttercreams won’t last as long. —

    That said, in very hot conditions, it can still melt, especially in direct sunlight.

  6. Yaneri Rodriguez says: #106

    How will it turn out if I used Regular Crisco Shortening??

  7. Yaneri Rodriguez says: #107

    Another question……….. will this recipe be enough for a sheet cake 2 layers for filling and for the outside? Thanks ladies!!!

  8. Melissa Diamond says: #108

    Hi Yaneri–I don’t think that we’ve tried this “high ratio” recipe with anything but high ratio shortening. If using Crisco, you may have better luck with the “Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream” recipe (substituting the butter for Crisco). —If you do try this high ratio recipe, just know that you will not need as much liquid. Recipes containing high ratio shortening call for higher amounts of liquid than “regular” shortening or butter recipes. —

    Also, I’m not sure what size sheet cake you are making, but Wilton’s Party Serving Chart has a section for various sheet cake sizes and includes a column for frosting amounts. I’ll link below~

    link to wilton.com

  9. diane bukovinsky says: #109

    What is high ratio shortening

  10. olga batres says: #110

    Hi Melissa
    I just want to know where I can buy sweetex shortening, I dont live in Usa but I am going to be on Miami the next week so Maybe I can find it on Wallmart or Michels . Thank You

  11. Stella Brown says: #111

    Hi Melissa & Bebe
    I’ve looked everywhere in Las Vegas for HRS and can’t find it, all I see is the store brand and Crisco , the store brand has 2.3 grams of Trans fat, as where Crisco now has 0, I looked online and found the Sweetex you’re talking about and CK brand as well….. Is there a difference in them ? As long as it says HR would either brand work? I’m new and confused…. Thank you for all your help

  12. BeBe says: #112

    Hi Stella, I have used Sweetex and CK brand and I like both of them.

  13. Lisa Tibbedeaux says: #113

    How can I make this HR Frosting in chocolate?? Thanks!

  14. Pamela Magrogan says: #114

    I will be making a half sheet cake for my husband’s granddaughters birthday. I have been stressing about this until I joined your cake school. I have decided to make the chocolate durable cake or the Mom’s chocolate cake. For the filling I have narrowed it down to whipped chocolate ganache or the simple spreadable ganache which I am leaning towards whipping as well. For the icing/frosting I will be using your high ratio frosting or fluffy vanilla buttercream. She wants SpongeBob, Patrick and Squidward on the top of the cake so I will be using a blue color in the frosting representing the ocean. I will also be adding different sea elements. I am teaching myself through your school video’s how to work with fondant/gum paste for the accents. The Noah’s Ark Cake video was quite helpful for those. With your experience in cake decorating do you think my choices so far for the cake will hold? Any suggestions? Thank you in advance and thanks for taking away most of my stress over this cake.

  15. Pamela Magrogan says: #115

    Cake was enjoyed by everyone and came out great! Need more practice with the enhancements I tried to put on it though. I used the Mom’s Chocolate Cake, Whipped Chocolate Ganache and the Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream. Cake held up just fine. Granddaughter “loved it” and that’s what mattered most. Thank you for all the recipes and the tips!

  16. Melissa Diamond says: #116

    Thanks so much Pamela, I’m sorry that I missed your earlier comment! So happy to hear that everything came out great!

  17. Lisa Holbrook says: #117

    Looking for Hi Ratio shortening? Order it online from The Bakery’s kitchen. They sell it in 25 lb tubs. From the classes that I have taken all over the country I have learned that you need Hi Ratio to withstand heat. Butter melts at about 90 degrees an the Hi Ratio shortening melts at 105 – 110 degrees. Therefore the shortening doesn’t leave a film on the roof of your mouth when you eat the icing. Crisco melts at a lower temp. At least this is the info I was given by cake professionals.

  18. BeBe says: #118

    Hi Lisa, thank you for posting this information.

  19. cristina alves says: #119

    hola cariño vivo en España e gostaria e aqui so encontro la marca crisco tengo qe hacer una tarta . Donde vivo en el verano la temperatura pasa de los 30 grados puedo hacer na tarta para estar en el jardin muchas gracias

  20. Sarah Baker says: #120

    where can i find sweetex i am in NC would love to find some near me

  21. BeBe says: #121

    Hi Sarah, We are in Greensboro and we buy Wesson Hi Ratio shortening from Crawford’s Creations, here is a link to their products link to crawfordscreations.com. I have just recently used this brand and find it equal to Sweetex. They also ship. Their number is 336-688-5094.

  22. Kim Tabor says: #122

    I’m curious – what size stand mixer are using to make this large recipe in? I’m making a wedding cake this weekend, but I don’t know if my 7qt mixer is large enough

  23. BeBe says: #123

    Hi Kim, I have a 5 qt. KitchenAid……it is full

  24. liz kelly says: #124

    Hi there! I love your tutorials! I am planning to do a painted cake with this recipe, and I was wondering how far in advance can I make the frosting and should I just keep it covered or should it be kept cool/ in fridge? And if I frost one day and then paint another day (1-2 days later) should I keep the cake in the fridge and then let it come to room temp? Thanks!!!

  25. Ansa Hogan says: #125

    I will be making a buttercream transfers this week…will the recipe be good? Also, is this a good crusting frosting?

  26. BeBe says: #126

    Hi Ansa, this is a good crusting buttercream, though it would not be a good choice for a buttercream transfer. When the buttercream is all shortening it does not get as firm when frozen so it just isn’t a good choice for a transfer. The buttercream you use should be at least 50% butter and 50% shortening….of course, an all butter, buttercream would work great.

  27. Ansa Hogan says: #127

    Thanks for clearing that up for me BeBe.


  28. Melissa Diamond says: #128

    @Liz~ The frosting is not highly perishable but if you are using milk as your liquid I would probably not leave out more than 3 days. In the refrigerator, a bowl of the buttercream would be fine for at least a couple of weeks although we often freeze our leftovers.

    If you chill your cake or your crumb coated cake before frosting, you’ll want to allow it to come to room temperature before applying the final coat of buttercream so that it will crust properly. —

    If you frost one day and paint another, I would allow the cake to come to room temp before painting, just to be absolutely sure that there will be no condensation issues. Hope this helps!

  29. kristina Dubinets says: #129

    I’m new to cake decorating.
    I would like to know what frosting is best to use under fondant?
    Thank you!

  30. James says: #130

    I was just wondering what the butter flavoring is? What section of the grocery store would it be in? Thank you.

  31. Cori Pullin says: #131

    Hi there, out of curiosity, how long is this frosting good for when frozen? Any special handling instructions when thawing it out? TIA 😉

  32. Nilda Sierra says: #132

    Wanted to know if the high-ratio frosting is good to use under fondant covered cakes.
    Thank you.

  33. BeBe says: #133

    Hi James, Butter flavoring is usually not in the grocery store with other flavoring but can be found where baking supplies are sold such as Michael’s or JoAnne’s, also online.

    Hi Cori, We have frozen it for 2 months, and it could possibly be longer. You can let it thaw in the refrigerator or on the countertop. You will need to stir or briefly beat with mixer .

    Hi Nilda, Yes, you can use this under fondant, though we prefer using ganache. The ganache makes a nice firm shell for laying the fondant on.

  34. mattie says: #134

    do you have a recipe for Chocolate Butter Cream or can this be made in chocolate.

  35. mattie says: #135

    do you have a recipe for Chocolate Butter Cream.

  36. BeBe says: #136

    Hi Mattie, In the recipe section we have the Fluffy Chocolate Buttercream.
    If you are going to use high ratio I would decrease the shortening amount to 1 1/4 cup (236g.) and increase the milk to 1/4 cup plus 2 to 3 Tablespoons milk or enough to make it the consistency you like.

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