Crusting Buttercream Frosting

Our sweet Jonas celebrated his 7th birthday this week, and my contribution was a "bat signal" cake. Buttercream is my frosting of choice, but it can be difficult to get a really smooth look to buttercream on a large cake, like this two layer 10-inch round. Fortunately, my sister was in town visiting this week and she had just the frosting recipe I needed to get the smooth look I wanted. When I made this cake I really didn't intend to write a blog post about it, so I didn't take a lot of photos of the method, but I liked the frosting so much I decided I had to share it.

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Crusting Buttercream Frosting (Viva Paper Towel Method)

2 pounds sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)
2 tablespoons clear vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup water (I used heavy cream)
Optional: 1 - 2 tablespoons meringue powder for humid climates

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, shortening, and extracts until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water (or cream). Mix thoroughly on low speed until smooth and creamy. Fill a decorator bag with frosting and use a #18 tip to spread rows of frosting up and down around the sides of a crumb-coated cake. Dip an off-set spatula in very hot water, dry, and spread the frosting smooth. Using the #18 tip, fill in the top of the cake with rows of frosting, then smooth with the hot spatula. Allow the cake to set for 15 minutes before covering frosting with the SMOOTH side of a Viva paper towel and gently smoothing with a fondant smoothing tool. Decorate cake as desired.

There is a great tutorial with photos of this process here that should help out tremendously. This method is not hard to do, and the result is a nice smooth frosting that is easy to decorate.

Some of the tools needed for the Crusting Buttercream Frosting are Viva Paper towels, a #18 decorator tip, and a fondant smoothing tool.

Once the buttercream has been smoothed with the paper towel, it looks almost like fondant.


  1. Your cake turned out great! I like that you call this a "crusting" icing, I've always wondered what type of icing to use with stencils and this sounds like a good one:@)

  2. Beautiful, you and sis did a great job.......like the ingredients in the icing. I will have to try this sometime Andi

    1. Thanks, Andi, it's always more fun baking with my sister!

  3. I wish I had known this trick back in my cake decorating days! It would have saved me tons of anguish and time:)