Used to achieve a smooth, buttercream finish cakes, especially using the Viva paper towel method. This recipe is not recommended as the layer of icing underneath fondant if you’re trying to achieve sharp edges, because the shortening used in this recipe won’t allow the buttercream to harden in the freezer well enough before adding your layer of fondant. See the Non-crusting American Buttercream recipe for that application.

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American Crusting Buttercream
Shortening and butter based recipe used to achieve a smooth, buttercream finish on cakes, especially when using the Viva paper towel method.
This amount will cover and fill a 6″ cake, with maybe a little to spare.
This amount will cover and fill a 6″ cake, with maybe a little to spare.
  1. Cream shortening and butter in mixer with beater blades or flat blade (NOT whisk), on medium for 2 minutes
  2. Add extract and water and beat on low ’till incorporated
  3. Gradually add sugar, beating on LOW (very important to avoid air bubbles) until just mixed.
Recipe Notes

*Add more water, a TAB at a time if too thick. But remember, you don’t want a thin consistency.

*You can color the buttercream by using gel colors

*Keep your bowl covered until ready for use

*Can be refrigerated for up to two weeks or frozen for months

* To turn this into chocolate buttercream, just add 3/4 cup (177 grams) cocoa (or 3 oz which = 85 grams of melted, unsweetened chocolate) and 3-4 Tablespoons milk!

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  1. Debbie Tracy 1 year ago

    Hi Shawna,
    Will this be suitable to lay gum paste flowers on for a wedding cake I am doing? I love this recipe and use it all the time, but have not used it under gum paste flowers before.
    I would rather be placing the flowers on fondant since they could melt under the buttercream ?? The customer has requested buttercream.
    Can I decorate the cake with the flowers the day before?
    Thank You!!

    • Author
      Shawna 1 year ago

      You can absolutely place gumpaste flowers on this, Debbie, and they should be perfectly fine! And you can definitely decorate the cake the day before without any issue. 🙂

  2. Author
    Shawna 2 years ago

    I’m with you, Catherine… I’m not in love with super sweet either! But this is your traditional American buttercream that so many people love over here in the states. I personally LOOOVE swiss meringue buttercream which is waaaaay less sweet and more buttery, but that’s not a crusting buttercream, and I’ve found many people ’round here don’t love it like I do, unfortunately.
    If you take out some of the sugar, it will change the consistency of the buttercream and will then be less stiff… so that’s not a great idea if you need it to be a crusting buttercream.

  3. Catherine 2 years ago

    Hi Shawna,

    I want to make this crusting buttercream, but 2 lbs of confectioners sugar????!!! Sooooo sweet, isn’t it? I really hate super sweet buttercreams. It’s going under fondant, so can I skip some of the sugar?

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