This Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream recipe is a crusting American Buttercream. In some ways it is similar to our Classic Vanilla Buttercream recipe, however, it has a lighter, fluffier texture due to the shortening in the recipe.
This fluffy frosting pipes and crusts beautifully. Because it is a crusting recipe, it works great with the Viva Paper Towel method of smoothing as mentioned here: Leopard Print Buttercream (using the Viva Paper Towel Method).
The shortening in this recipe makes it a bit lighter in color as well as more resistant to heat, but still has a nice flavor from the butter in the recipe.
If heat is more of a concern, you could switch to an all shortening (no butter) frosting recipe like this one: High Ratio Frosting. All frostings will melt if the weather is hot enough, but shortening certainly is more resistant than butter.
If you are looking for a crusting frosting that does not contain any shortening, we love our Classic Vanilla Buttercream recipe also. You can find it here!: Classic Vanilla Buttercream.
** Important note about the sugar: We’ve had great results with Domino’s confectioners sugar and US Sugar (we buy ours from Costco). Some brands of confectioners sugar don’t work as well with buttercream frosting recipes. If a package doesn’t say pure cane sugar, it contains beet sugar which is more likely to give you a grainy outcome. In addition to that, we’ve noticed that even some brands that say “Pure Cane Sugar” will give a grainy consistency. So frustrating! One example is Dixie Crystals (although it used to work great for us a few years ago.) Something has changed…it’s a mystery. Anyway, this recipe should not be grainy, and so if it is, experiment with a different brand of confectioners sugar.
Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream
- 2 lbs. confectioners' sugar 910 g
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 g ) unsalted butter softened (soften on countertop rather than microwave for best results)
- 1 1/2 cups solid vegetable shortening (such as Crisco or Trex) 286 g. or 10 oz. by weight. *** If using hi ratio shortening, see below)
- 2 Tablespoons clear vanilla extract 24 g
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring (if you are leaving out the butter and using all shortening)
- 1/4 teaspoons lemon or almond extract 1 g (OPTIONAL )
- 1/4 cup milk ( 57 g) any milk is fine but I like milk with higher fat content. You could substitute water too (See below)
- 1/2 teaspoon to cut the sweetness. We use popcorn salt because of its fine grain. If using table salt, you can dissolve it in the milk before adding.
- Cream butter, shortening , salt and extracts until creamy and smooth.
- Add powdered sugar and milk. Mix thoroughly on medium speed for approximately 8 minutes. For the last two minutes decrease the mixing speed to VERY SLOW ( number 2 speed on a KitchenAid) until creamy and smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally during the mixing process.
- ***If I use a high ratio shortening (such as CK or Sweetex brand) I decrease the shortening amount to 1 1/4 cups (236 g.) and increase the milk, 1/4 cup plus 2 to 3 Tablespoons milk or enough to make it the consistency you like.
- ***I used to always use water for this recipe, but I switched to milk for flavor & also because when you use a higher fat milk for your liquid, the buttercream still has a nice crust to it, but it doesn't crust quite so quickly or so hard as if you use water.
- **Makes about 6 cups of frosting-- you can half it, or freeze the leftovers if you don't need this much! (One cup of frosting frosts about 12 cupcakes with a simple swirl using a 2D tip)