Friday, September 17, 2010

145. Quick Buttercream Icing, Basic

Years ago, a friend showed me how easy it was to make a rose out of frosting and it inspired me to want to learn more about the art of using frosting. I enrolled in two Wilton cake-decorating classes and learned many things inclucing the uses of all of those metal frosting tips and also how to turn out a balanced and crumb-free frosted cake.

The Wilton teacher demonstrated eight different types of icing and made sure we knew how to use them properly. We learned the right way to store frostings and how long they could be kept. Other  demonstrations detailed which types of icings were good for decorative borders and writing as well as general frosting purposes. We learned that some types of the icings will tolerate deep color enhancement while others can only be tinted a light pastel. The classes were well planned and the hands-on lessons were terrific.

I have only used premade frosting found in stores a few times when I was too busy or pressed for time to make my own, however, except for the coconut-pecan flavor, I think that they taste very artificial and detract from the cake flavors. I have decided I would rather eat cake without frosting than to ever use them again.

Today's post is easy and versatile and lends itself to basic frosting purposes. Make some a few days ahead and refrigerate if time is a concern. Bring to room temperature prior to spreading.

Quick Buttercream Icing

¼ C  margarine and ¼ C shortening, cold and firm.
½ tsp vanilla (or other flavoring)
2 ½ C confectioner’s sugar
About 2 T cold milk or water, if needed

With mixer or a whisk, beat margarine and shortening until creamy but not runny. Add confectioner’s sugar about ½ C at a time and beat well after each addition. Add vanilla. Now add 2 T of cold milk or water, a little at a time. It may be necessary to add a little more or less milk or water, depending on temperature of ingredients. (Frosting may be tinted).

For chocolate icing, add 1 oz or less of melted baking or semisweet chocolate.

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