This bright white heat stable pipeable buttercream is perfect for those warm or hot days and when you want super white frosting. It’s also perfect for piping.
It’s a challenge to create a shortening based buttercream that tastes close to real buttercream, but this one actually does.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the Important Information Section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
This frosting is perfect for those warm or hot days when you need a more stable buttercream and when you want super white frosting.
It’s also perfect for piping roses and other buttercream designs on cakes or cupcakes.
Cottage food laws and shortening based frostings:
Lots of people work under a cottage bakery license running bakeries out of their homes. I’ve done that too on many different occasions.
Personally, I live in Texas and we are not allowed to sell anything that needs to be refrigerated. I know a lot of people who have moved to the all shortening based buttercream for that very reason and to comply with TCS safety.
Now, I can’t help you determine what is allowed under the cottage food laws in your state, but I can give you a shortening-based recipe that actually tastes good and is more heat stable.
Feel free to ask your local health department or cottage food law representative if you are allowed to use this recipe.
Important information to read first:
IMPORTANT PLEASE READ BELOW! I want to address something before we get into this recipe. I have received a lot of ‘hateful’ comments regarding this recipe and I want to clear up a few things so you’ll know what to expect from it.
- This recipe makes a lot of icing, which is why it calls for many cups of confectioner’s sugar and shortening. It will make enough buttercream to cover at least two, 8″ round cake layers plus extra for plenty of piping details. You can always halve the recipe if you don’t need that much.
- I do realize this isn’t ‘real buttercream’ because it uses vegetable shortening instead of real butter. The point of this recipe is to use shortening to get a more heat-stable, pipeable and bright white buttercream. People have been calling this a heat-stable buttercream for many, many years and I am not the first. Now, if you want a ‘real’ buttercream recipe using all butter, you’ll want to see that recipe here: Vanilla Bean Buttercream
- Vegetable shortening is NOT lard. Vegetable shortening is plant fat and lard is animal fat. This recipe does not call for animal fat (lard).
- This recipe is similar to every other bright white, heat stable, pipeable ‘buttercream’ or icing that you’ll find at bakeries, grocery stores and home bakeries all over the U.S. It has been used for many, many years by home and professional bakers alike and I’ve just modified it to make it taste better. If you’ve eaten a cake from the grocery store, it’s likely you’ve had this icing.
- Please note these things before sending me mean comments. I am truly trying to provide free recipes and be helpful to those who want free cake advice and recipes. It is completely acceptable for you not to like this recipe or decide not to make it. I will understand. Please remember to be respectful when making comments.
About this recipe:
So, shortening based American buttercream isn’t exactly a new thing, so I’m not reinventing the wheel here, but I am adding a few things in that actually help to give you a great tasting buttercream when you can’t actually use butter.
So the way you make bright white, heat stable and pipeable buttercream is to use shortening instead of butter. Yeah, I know it doesn’t sound super appetizing, but I promise it tastes better than it sounds.
If you’re not quite up for going with all shortening here, you can use half shortening and half butter. Your icing won’t be as white this way, so it’s a give and take.
Just know there are ways to get your buttercream whiter. There are buttercream whiteners (basically just white gel food coloring) that you can use. I’ve not really had much luck with those and seem to have better luck using just a speck of violet food coloring to cancel out the white.
If you want more tips and tricks on getting white buttercream, see this post here: How to Make Buttercream White
This buttercream is also a ‘crusting buttercream’, which means that a very thin film will develop over it which will allow you to smooth your cake using the Viva paper towel method.
That’s the method you use to smooth buttercream by letting your buttercream crust, then laying a viva paper towel over it and smoothing it lightly with your hand.
To see more about getting smooth buttercream, you’ll want to check out this post: How to Get Smooth Buttercream
Make sure you keep this buttercream covered after you’ve mixed it, so that it doesn’t develop a film over it before you get a chance to ice your cake.
How heat-stable is this buttercream?
I’m calling this buttercream ‘heat stable’, but that’s within reason. There is nothing you can do to buttercream to keep it from melting if you put it out in the direct hot sun.
This buttercream stands up better to warmer temperatures than an all-butter buttercream, but you want to be reasonable about it.
Another thing to note is that from my experience, this buttercream is not the best under fondant because it does not firm up as well as all-butter buttercream does in the fridge, which makes it a little more tricky when adding fondant over it.
I love this buttercream when it’s summer-time and the temps are warmer. I also love it when I need a bright white icing.
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Vegetable Shortening: Now, if you can get high-ratio shortening (like Sweetex), it works the best, however, because of the trans fats, it’s now been banned in most places.
I’ve also heard of Solite shortening, but I think that’s based in Australia, so I’ve not personally tried it.
If you have to make a lot of this frosting because you have a baking business or you’re just doing a large cake project, it might be beneficial to order the high-ratio shortening online and have it shipped to you.
I don’t normally do large cakes anymore, so the alternative that I’ve found is to use the Walmart store brand of vegetable shortening. It just seems to work much better than Crisco. It gives the buttercream a much better consistency and it’s smoother than the name brand.
Meringue Powder (optional): If you’re using regular shortening, but you want to stabilize it even more, you can add in a couple tablespoons of meringue powder. This gives it some holding powder.
Salt: Ok this is actually really important because shortening-based icing tends to coat your mouth and ‘seems’ like it’s actually sweeter. To combat this, we’re adding salt.
Powdered Sugar: You definitely need this to add sweetness and to thicken up the consistency.
Cream or Milk: This will make it cream and help you to adjust the consistency.
Clear Vanilla Extract: To keep this buttercream as white as possible, you can use clear vanilla extract in place of regular extract. I like the taste of regular vanilla extract better, but this is your call.
Butter Emulsion: I LOVE LorAnn Oils and the butter emulsion is really good. Regular butter extract you get at the grocery store just tastes gross to me, so I use this instead to give the buttercream more of that ‘butter’ taste. You can get this emulsion here: LorAnn Butter Emulsion
Buttery Sweet Dough Emulsion: This one is optional, but I really like the flavor it adds. You can get it here: LorAnn Buttery Sweet Dough Emulsion
Ok, let’s get to the recipe:
Note About Recipe Measurements: I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are more familiar with and I don’t want anyone to feel intimidated when baking. For metric/weight measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card below. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s just a best guess. I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results, since I test recipes using volume measurements.
Bright White Heat Stable Pipeable Buttercream
- 3 cups vegetable shortening (Read the post to see suggestions, what this is and why this is used in this recipe.)
- 9-10 cups confectioner's sugar (This frosting makes a lot of frosting.)
- 2 tablespoons meringue powder (Optional for more stability and holding power.)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6-8 tablespoons milk or cream
- 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (Can use regular vanilla extract if you don't have clear.)
- ½-1 teaspoons butter extract/emulsion (LorAnn oils has a good option.)
- ½-1 teaspoons LorAnn buttery dough extract/emulsion (optional)
- Mix the shortening until smooth.
- Add in the salt, 4 cups confectioners sugar and 3 tablespoons of milk and mix well.
- Optional: If you want to add in a couple tablespoons of meringue powder for extra stability, you can do that now.
- Add in another 5 cups confectioners sugar plus another 3 tablespoons of milk and mix well.
- Scrape down sides of bowl. Add a tablespoon or two of milk or cream if the buttercream is too thick. Mix well.
- Add in the extracts and mix well.
- Add more milk if icing is too thick. Add in only a tablespoon at a time. Mix well.
- Finally, mix by hand with a rubber spatula to help press out any air bubbles.
- See the notes section for best ways to store this and for more questions.
- This recipe makes a lot of icing, that is why it calls for many cups of confectioner’s sugar and shortening. It will make enough buttercream to cover two, 8″ round cakes or a layer cake plus extra for plenty of piping details. You can always halve the recipe if you don’t need that much.
- I do realize this isn’t ‘real buttercream’ because it uses vegetable shortening instead of real butter. The point of this recipe is to use shortening to get a more heat-stable, pipeable and bright white buttercream. People have been calling this a heat-stable buttercream for many years and I am not the first. Now, if you want a ‘real’ buttercream recipe using all buttercream, you’ll want to see that recipe here: Vanilla Bean Buttercream
- Vegetable shortening is not lard. Vegetable shortening is plant fat and lard is animal fat. This recipe does not call for animal fat (lard).
- This is similar to lots of other bright white, heat stable, pipeable ‘buttercream’ or icing that you’ll find at bakeries, grocery stores and home bakeries all over the U.S. It has been used for many years by home and professional bakers alike and I’ve just modified it to make it taste better. If you’ve eaten a cake from the grocery store, it’s likely you’ve had this icing.
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