Wilton’s Buttercream Icing
Posted in: Food - Thursday, March 03 2011
My sweet little Miss Three’s birthday was coming up and I was determined to present her with a tier of pretty pink cupcakes to make her huge blue eyes sparkle. I’m a confident baker so making large amounts of cupcakes doesn’t daunt me in the least but my Achilles’ Heel in this department is the icing or frosting. Actually it’s not so much poor technique or lack of skill that stumps me but not having the perfect recipe for miracle icing that pipes perfectly, or doesn’t turn into rancid sludge as soon as you take the cupcakes outdoors.
So, who ya gonna call (or Google…)? Wilton of course! Cake decorators and bakers would be familiar with Wilton and their amazing range of products for cake making and decorating. You name it. Wilton has it. Their website is also a veritable wealth of baking knowledge and features oodles of wonderful recipes. The one I chose to use is a simple buttercream icing but Wilton has many other types to try.
I was a little hesitant about trying this recipe at first as it contains vegetable shortening. Isn’t the darn icing going to be fat laden enough with all that butter it in? What does it even do? Vegetable shortening isn’t something you use that often in Australia whereas Crisco seems to be a common pantry item in the US. The closest thing we’ve got at the supermarket is Copha and I’m happy to say that this block of white fat *can* be used for something other than chocolate crackles!
As I read up on the subject, I found that the two big reasons why you use vegetable shortening in icing are because:
1. Vegetable shortening has a higher melting point which means that your icing will hold its shape for longer and has a better shelf life, and
2. Being white in colour, it helps maintain a white appearance in the overall icing and assists in accurate colouring.
Both very good reasons to try this recipe. I wasn’t going to argue.
I had a go at making a batch up with the Thermomix and I’m sure glad that I had my trusty wonder machine because Copha is rock hard. You can leave it out of the fridge and it is still pretty hard to cut up, let alone whip. The resulting icing was easy to feed into bags and beautiful to control while piping. Even on the hot, sticky day on which I was icing the cupcakes, the icing maintained its form well. A pure butter icing is usually a nightmare at this point :| Once I iced the cupcakes, I noted that the icing held its shape beautifully and was very receptive to sprinkles, glitter powder and everything else I threw at it. I didn’t need to refrigerate my cakes either; I simply put my tier in an air-conditioned room until I was ready to make Miss Three’s day :)
Hopefully this doesn’t come off as a plug for Wilton but the tier I used at the party is also from Wilton. Fancy!
Wilton’s Buttercream Icing Recipe (original here) – Makes about 3 cups of icing which covered 30 cupcakes
250g solid vegetable shortening such as Copha (Aussies can source Crisco from USA Foods but Copha worked a treat)
250g butter or margarine softened
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract (I don’t mind little eeny weeny dots so used real vanilla)
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered or icing sugar – no need to worry about sifting if using Thermomix)
2 tablespoons milk
To make: In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
If using the Thermomix, chop the Copha up into cubes and chop on Speed 5/6 for 10 seconds or so. Add butter also cut up into cubes and combine together on Speed 5/6 for a few seconds. Add vanilla and the sugar a cup at a time, and use Speed 2/3/4 depending on how well the sugar gets integrated. The Thermomix works best when there is some liquid to assist with the movement of the ingredients so add a tablespoon of milk now. Keep combining sugar at various speeds until fully combined and smooth. Add remaining milk and colouring if using.
For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.
66 Comments for this entry
MeggyMarch 3rd, 2011 on 3:45 pm
Hurray! a solution to buttercream icing.
I used to use an amazing icing recipe from ourbestbites but it involved more bowls than i can ever be bother with. also copha! i always buy too much stuff for xmas/parties so its good to know what else i could use it for.
Your cupcakes are adorable! A vey lucky daughter indeed!
MaluhiaMarch 3rd, 2011 on 8:02 pm
You can source Crisco from the American Foods section of David Jones in Perth CBD :)
March 3rd, 2011 on 10:11 pm
I have also been on the hunt for a non rancid-sludging buttercream as well, so thank you m’dear! Copha scares the bejesus out of me, but I’m willing to conquer my fear for the sake of pretty cupcakes.
March 3rd, 2011 on 10:59 pm
Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Your cupcakes are quite beautiful. I’m new to your blog and don’t often comment. I just wanted you to know how much I learn from my visits here with you. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary
Lindi TurnipseedMarch 16th, 2011 on 2:47 am
LOVE the cupcakes. WHERE did you get the little ladies on top??? I have two darling granddaughters who both love fairies/ princesses/ etc. hugs from the US
TaraleeMarch 20th, 2011 on 5:14 pm
I use this Wilton recipe all the time. It takes ages to mix the copha Monica! I use my “bar mixer” & get out as many lumps as possible (this takes ages & ages) then continue on using my bar mixer when adding the icing sugar by the end most lumps are gone.
Is the US vegetable shortening softer then our copha? I wonder if its worth trying the stuff from David Jones.
sweeni pereraMarch 22nd, 2011 on 10:59 am
I’m also using copha for butter cream icing but when I mix butter/margarine the colour always changes.
Can u advise me of the butter I should use to have white colour icing? Thanks.
April 9th, 2011 on 9:37 am
Hi, there, Monica!
I saw your post on the Wilton forum and just wanted to come over and check out your cupcakes… They’re adorable! I also use the Wilton recipe as my basic recipe, and then substitute different extracts and stuff for flavor, depending on what I want.
I also wanted to let you know that you guys over there in Australia (I’m in the USA) can order Crisco from an online store… (http://www.usafoods.com.au/store/search.php?skey=Crisco&cat=-1&type=SEARCH) I’m not sure if it would be worth it for you, but thought you would like to have the opportunity anyways! :-) Based on what I’ve read, copha isn’t very much like our version of shortening at all. The shortening we use here, Crisco, doesn’t necessarily need to be refrigerated and is not hard at room temperature. You can buy it in tubs or in sticks, but I usually buy the sticks because it’s easier to measure (the US measurements are on the side of the package and you just cut the package across the line). Hope this helps you guys a little! :-)
April 13th, 2011 on 11:48 pm
Even though the Copha sounds like it’s quite difficult to work with, I find myself wanting to try it now, after your comment stating that it imparts a subtle coconut taste and scent… YUM!! Can I find that here in the US?! Lol
April 17th, 2011 on 7:03 pm
You can buy this vegetable shortening at How to Cook
68 Sixth Avenue, Cotton Tree Qld 4558 ph 07 5443 6210
SallyMay 2nd, 2011 on 7:12 pm
I have been using copha to make icing for years and took me awhile but have sorted now, always a crowd pleaser especially with the kids. I actually use all copha and then you do get a whiter icing. Hard work creaming it but well worth it.
May 26th, 2011 on 1:28 pm
Thanks for posting this. The icing looks fab and I am going to try it on my son’s 1st birthday cake! Just wondering whether you needed to use the butterfly at all with the Thermomix?
DeloresJune 16th, 2011 on 4:36 am
Hi, I live in Charlotte, NC and i took wilson classes and love to do akes. I really want to try this Copha and am hoping to be able to locate it. I feel the icing made with Crisco and even the hi-ratio shortening is great but tastes to greasy. You can feel the grease on the topo of your mouth and it turns me off. thank you for posting.
NiokaJuly 15th, 2011 on 3:53 pm
Hi all :0 Just stunbled by while google’ing Crisco, lol…. I’m Aussie & use copha for all my BC recipes. Tried leaving it on bench overnight – was way too much work for my liking, lol. So I now melt it in the microwave, leave it on bench while I get the rest of my stuff ready & go for gold!!! so much easier & instead of taking 30 minutes to cream, it takes about 10 now ;) I also found the longer it whips, the whiter it gets – I use unsalted home brand butter. Also, to get a crusting buttercream, I use pavlova magic (in place of meriangue ? powder)…. Have had rave reviews since starting to do it this way!! HTH xx
Jodie EmertonJanuary 23rd, 2012 on 11:50 am
Hi thanks for posting this recipe I also like the Wilton Buttercream and to tell the truth never thought about doing it in my Thermo mix however when I need to use it I go to my local cake decorating shop or Woolworths Bakery and ask for the shortening they sell,apparently they have 2 types so I always ask for the Tropical blend because it can be quite humid at times in Newcastle also it is soft and so easy to work with
trishJanuary 29th, 2012 on 3:41 pm
hi, i’m a native kentucky gal living in oz for the past 5 years, and the last time i was home i ordered copha from here…
they also have it at continental food stores, just thought I would share :)
TrishFebruary 3rd, 2012 on 10:07 pm
I just had to pop back in and say, I made this icing tonight with Copha,and grated it by hand first, it blended beautifully, and made a wonderful ,light fluffy icing that held it’s shape superbly…thought I would share this tip.
February 6th, 2012 on 2:51 pm
Have you ever had any trouble with Wilton colouring staining any parts of the TMX after making icing? e.g. lid, lid seal or o-ring on the blade?
February 6th, 2012 on 2:55 pm
Gorgeous cupcakes, by the way! I haven’t been game enough to use Wilton colouring yet in my TMX as it’s so darn strong!
ChristinaFebruary 25th, 2012 on 1:07 pm
This is just fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing! I’ve used your recipie twice now and it’s perfect! I’ve left the copha out overnight (24 hrs) and it is super soft so just chuck the copha & butter in my TMX together – just brill! thanks! Oh and no staining either & I’ve used red (2 pots!) and green :) Soo so good!
MichelleMarch 20th, 2012 on 9:45 am
Is confectioners sugar regular sugar or icing sugar?
MichelleMarch 21st, 2012 on 5:15 am
Great so I can make that from raw sugar in my tmx prior :)
bronwyneMay 17th, 2012 on 9:30 pm
hi, i have just started with trying to make buttercream and was wondering when you add flavourings do you have to adjust any quantities of other ingredients?
ElkeMay 30th, 2012 on 6:04 pm
Hi…If I can get the cohpa soft by leaving it out overnight, could I make this icig in my kitchenaid mixer do you think ?
ElkeMay 30th, 2012 on 6:06 pm
Sorry me again…also is it icing sugar mixture or pure icing sugar ? Sorry am a bit of a novice
ElkeJune 3rd, 2012 on 9:16 am
Thank you so much ! The icing was perfect and the kitchenaid worked a treat !
EmmaJuly 21st, 2012 on 2:41 pm
When i make this icing i soften ( sometimes melt) the copha in the microwave first. Works really well!
MelAugust 24th, 2012 on 8:08 pm
If you’re using a kitchenaid: I half soften half melt the copha in the microwave and then whip it in the kitchen aid until it’s white and glossy. I fill the sink with ice water and periodically dunk the bowl/scrape down the sides before whipping again. It eventually will form stiff peaks and resemble something similar in texture to Crisco. I then followed the recipe from there. I’m not sure if the same effect is achieved by shredding, but I honestly just hate shredding things so I thought I’d throw this method out there. I’d prefer to use Crisco though, I actually like the greasy mouthfeel it gives as it’s what I grew up with. :)
mariaSeptember 23rd, 2012 on 4:05 pm
Hi 2 weeks in frig is great but wouldn’t the milk go bad
JacquelineSeptember 27th, 2012 on 12:32 pm
As a non-thermomix owner *sob* I was wondering if you use heat when mixing? I have made W’s BC recipe once & used ALL butter… Definitely want to try the copha next time but unsure how you do it in the TMX….?
October 22nd, 2012 on 5:19 pm
Oh this is great! I still have a block of copha that I don’t know what to do with! I’m a bit funny with using shortening too though but I have this version of it which tastes horrible but is apparently great in frosting! :)
November 13th, 2012 on 5:16 am
What about coconut oil instead of Copha? Much healthier as not hydrogenated.
RebeccaNovember 26th, 2012 on 12:02 pm
You mentioned above that fresher butter is whiter then older butter. Have you ever made this with fresh butter made in the TM?
AngelaJanuary 12th, 2013 on 1:45 pm
BEST ICING EVER – n i just used a hand held mixer….worked just fine!
March 18th, 2013 on 9:03 am
Could sub in coconut oil for the copha as it’s a lot healthier
Ali PApril 14th, 2013 on 12:44 pm
The closest thing to Crisco in Aussie is Solite but I am pretty sure that it comes in boxes for commercial purposes according to the local cake decorators (40 year old business)and cant be bought through the supermarket However they said Copha is the same as crisco but copha has a higher melting point to withstand the heat of our summers thats why it is in block form and harder to whip up and crisco is prewhipped and softened. You can grate room temperature copha the helps a lot when trying to whip it and is much kinder to your mixer.
LouiseApril 27th, 2013 on 8:11 pm
I really don’t want to use Crisco or Copha as are both made with hydrogenated fats which a really bad for your health …. Does anyone know of a non hydrogenated alternative? Or can I use lard?