American or Decorator's Buttercream


Decorator's Buttercream was the first icing I learned to decorate cakes with. Its very easy to make, takes colouring nicely and when you get the hang of consistencies, it is very versatile. It also is a crusting icing, which make for better shaped borders and flowers and helps when adhering these decorations to the cake.

Its also very stable and can be trusted left out of the fridge for a couple days as long as you substitute the butter for all shortening and the milk for water.

Makes 4 cups of icing

What you need:

  • 1 tbs powdered egg whites (optional for crusting)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup high ratio shortening
  • 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tbs milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. With the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cream the butter and shortening together until smooth. This takes about 2 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla extract  and continue mixing.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and begin adding the powdered sugar one cup at a time, using a silicone spatula scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed .
  4. (Optional step for a crusting buttercream) In a separate bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of water (in place of the milk) with the powdered egg whites. Whip until soft peaks form, then add to butter/sugar mixture. 
  5. If crusting consistency isn't desired, skip step 4 and proceed to adding the milk to the butter/sugar mixture one tablespoon at a time. 
  6. Add salt and mix until well blended.


  • Thin Consistency: for covering cakes, add an additional 2 tbs of water or milk.
  • Medium Consistency: for piping borders and scroll work leave as per instructions above.
  • Stiff Consistency: for flowers and greenery reduce milk to 2 tbs only.