A great frosting (or icing if you’re from the south) for decorating cakes because it is stable and holds up well for decorations. I used this exact recipe to decorate this giant cookie cake.
One recommendation is to use gel food coloring because they’re super concentrated and don’t require much to tint the frosting so it’s less likely to thin out, but if you only have the standard liquid food coloring it may affect the consistency so that you need to add more powdered sugar.
This vanilla buttercream is easy to turn into a chocolate buttercream. Just add 3-4 Tbsp. of cocoa powder and mix thoroughly. Try it to make sure the flavor is strong enough and add more cocoa powder as needed.
This recipe made about 4 cups of frosting, but I only needed half of it so I put the leftovers into a plastic container and saved it in the freezer to use a month later for decorating another cookie cake.
Bring butter up to room temperature. I use a stand mixer but if you are using a hand mixer use a large mixing bowl. On medium speed cream the butter and shortening together until fluffy (this can take several minutes), add 1 cup of powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla and another cup of powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Add 1 more cup of powdered sugar and check the consistency. I stopped at 3 cups of powdered sugar and add a couple of Tbsp. of milk to get it to the consistency I wanted for piping designs.
To make this a chocolate buttercream add 3-4 Tbsp. of cocoa powder and mix thoroughly. Taste the buttercream and add more cocoa powder if the flavor isn’t as strong as you would like.
I separated out the frosting into plastic containers with lids so that I could tint it different colors. I used Wilton gel food coloring to tint the frosting. This recipe yielded about 4 cups of frosting. Keep the frosting covered when not being used to avoid dry spots. Store in the refrigerator or freeze for later use. If refrigerating the frosting bring up to room temperature and stir well so that it is spreadable and pipes smoothly. If freezing, thaw the frosting in the refrigerator a day in advance.