Make in 2 parts, making sure that none of part 1 gets into part 2 until it is time to mix the two parts together. Any grease in part 2 will keep it from getting stiff. If using the same mixer, make sure that the beaters are well washed before going on to part 2. (I usually made double recipes and used a hand mixer for part 1 and my KA for part 2, then mixed them together with either mixer.)
Flavorings with oils in them should be added in with part one, instead of part 2, as the oils in them would keep the meringue from whipping up stiff and fluffy. Hi-ratio Shortening may be used instead of Crisco. C&H powdered sugar is purer than other brands (none or less cornstarch is added). Icing has a 3 month shelf life.
Mix, using a rubber spatula or pastry cutter at first to keep powdered sugar from flying everywhere. Then switch to a mixer and beat on high speed till very creamy and fluffy, about 8 min., making sure you occasionally scrape sides of the bowl.
1 lb. powdered sugar (sift if using C & H, has more lumps)
2 1/2 cups Crisco (use only 2 cups for a crusting frosting)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 TBsp. meringue powder (add 2 or 3 more Tbsp. for a crusting frosting)
Add and immediately mix on high speed: 1/2 cup (less 2 TBsp.) BOILING water (has to be boiling to melt salt and sugar).
When mixture is beginning to get stiff, add 1 TBsp. or less of flavoring of your choice. Keep on beating until mixture gets very stiff and stands in peaks. (I use clear vanilla. This gives a white white frosting. Regular vanilla makes it cream colored.)
Add part one and part two together and mix well, about 8 minutes, occasionally scraping sides of the bowl to make sure all is blended. Then let it mix on very low speed for about 5 minutes, then using a rubber spatula, down beat a little bit to remove some of the air bubbles caused by the high beating. Frosting will be very light and creamy. Transfer frosting to storage container. Cover.
No need to refrigerate icing. However, cakes can be refrigerated (even frozen) after frosted. Since no ingredient spoils, the frosting will keep for 3 months. (After that it begins to break down and get watery.) Just whip again with a spoon, each time you use it, to restore fluffiness. Save all left over colors for use later on or else mix them all together. It will be a yucky brown but just add brown coloring to it to get a nice brown color, without a chocolate taste. Add cocoa to get a chocolate flavor.
This frosting is very versitile. Use it AS IS for decorating, flowers, figure piping, stringwork, writing, etc. No need to thin down or thicken up. If using it for figure piping make sure there is a toothpick or pretzel stick, or something in the middle to help hold it in place or upright position.
For the regular buttercream, just dip your spatula in boiling hot water to smoothen out the cake (can even spray or mist cake with hot water then use the spatula). Use a light touch and move the spatula in only one direction to get it smooth (first time) barely skimming across the top. This will cut down on air bubbles. If you see any, poke them with a pin to pop them so they won’t mess up your icing. If you want it even smoother, freeze your cake for about 15-30 min. and then smooth it over again with the spatula – dipping it in boiling or very hot water if necessary. For the crusting buttercream, smooth icing as best you can then let it dry or crust. Lay a paper towel or parchment paper on top of it and smooth the top and sides by gently running your hand over it.
This frosting freezes good too. Can make your flowers then put them in the freezer till ready to use (like if you are doing a lot of cupcakes). Colors do not bleed, at least mine haven't. Use the foil and lily nail to make some flowers, just freeze them first. Pipe centers after they are placed on the cake.
Mixed with jam it makes a good filling, lemon curd, orange marmalade, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, etc. Mixed with ready made fillings turns them into cream fillings.
For a (decorating) Cream Cheese Buttercream, omit one cup of Crisco and replace it with two 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese.
For a Chocolate Buttercream, add 1/2 cup of cocoa and dark brown food coloring. Another way is to omit 1 1/2 cups Crisco and add 1 tub of dark chocolate ready made frosting (Pillsbury or Betty Crocker) and some cocoa and brown food coloring. Add more dark brown coloring for even darker shades of cho. buttercream.
For a Peanut Butter frosting, omit 1/2 cup Crisco and add creamy peanut butter.
For a butter flavor, omit half cup of Crisco and replace it with 1 stick of softened butter or use butter flavored Crisco. Icing won’t be white though but a real pale yellow and will have a softer consistency.
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