Butter Cream Icing

Preparing icing or frosting for a cake or cupcakes is really not difficult and allows you to be creative about variations: it's just the icing on the cake! Give your cakes your special signature by making your own frosting and getting creative with an icing bag. Don't stop at writing a birthday message: make some leaves and flowers too . . .

For icing cakes, making borders, roses, and soft flowers, leaves, etc.:

½ cup butter (softened)

½ cup solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)

1 lb confectioners’ sugar, sifted (approximately 4 cups)

1 egg white (unbeaten)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp milk

Cream butter and shortening well.  Gradually add sugar. Beat until smooth.  Add egg white, vanilla, and milk.  Beat until light and fluffy.

If too thin, add small amounts of icing sugar to thicken.

If too thick, add milk by the drop until consistency is correct.

This icing can be stored up to 2 weeks if refrigerated in an airtight container.

For chocolate-orange frosting, add 1 oz unsweetened chocolate and 1 tsp orange flavoring instead of the vanilla.

For dark icing for decorating, add 1 oz unsweetened or semi-sweet chocolate to a small amount of chocolate-orange frosting.

Icing Consistency

To be sure you have the correct consistency:

Icing should be firm enough that when a spoon is removed, icing peaks will remain.  For flowers, a fairly stiff consistency is required to hold shape.

Borders require a medium consistency.  Writing, leaves, etc., need a thinner consistency to flow freely.

NB:  Bear in mind that icing becomes thinner as it warms up from your hand on the icing bag.

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Cherry Butter Icing

¼ cup soft butter

2 cups icing sugar

1 tsp almond extract

3 tbls maraschino cherry juice

¼ cup sliced cherries

toasted coconut for garnish


Cream butter until fluffy.  Add 1 cup icing sugar gradually and cream thoroughly.

Add almond extract and 1 tablespoon of the cherry juice.  Beat thoroughly.

Add remaining sugar and juice alternately, continuing to beat well.  Fold in cherries.  When cake is cool, frost and garnish with flaked coconut. If desired, coconut may be toasted and allowed to cool before pressing into the icing on top and sides.

Yields sufficient frosting for top and sides of an 8” or 9” round layer cake, or a batch of cupcakes.


Mocha Butter Icing

2 tbls soft butter

1 ½ cups icing sugar

¼ tsp vanilla

2 tbls strong cold coffee

1 tbls cocoa (added to sugar)

Cream butter until fluffy.  Combine cocoa with sugar.  Add 1 cup icing sugar to butter gradually and cream thoroughly.

Add vanilla and 1 tbls of coffee.  Beat thoroughly.

Add remaining sugar and coffee alternately, continuing to beat well.

Yields sufficient frosting for top and sides of an 8” or 9” square cake or top and sides only of 8” or 9” round layer cake or top of 24 cupcakes.


1/4 cup butter

1 cup icing sugar

2 tbls cocoa powder

3 tbls milk

Cocoa Frosting

In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the milk. (This can also be done in a small bowl over simmering water.) Add the sugar and cocoa and beat well until very glossy. Cool to lukewarm and pour over cake.

If you find that the icing has cooled too much, you can reheat it a bit to make it pourable. This quantity should fill and frost the top of an 8" cake.


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