Question: In search of a wedding white buttercream icing that holds up well in warm temperatures

February 6, 2011
I'm making cupcakes for a wedding, which is taking place in a warm locale, and am trying to find a tasty buttercream recipe that isn't too sweet and holds up well in warm temperatures. The buttercream recipe that I currently use is butter based, and has a tendency to slide off of the cupcakes well before anyone has had chance to taste them. Thanks in advance to all that respond!!


Bernadette's picture

Hi Michelle,
I create a lot of cakes for different types of events througthout the year. To stabilize your frosting add shortening. I cream my butter then add shortening and cream until well incorporated. At this point I add my flavorings. If you or your clients like that butter flavor Wilton makes a clear butter falvoring, add a little at a time, it goes a long way.
Here is a recipe I found on (at the bottom of recipe you will see a note on warm weather use)

I hope this has been helpful!

The Perfect Buttercream Icing Recipe
By Tami Smith
Makes enough for 1, 9-inch 4 layer cake plus decoration or enough icing for a 9x13 with decoration. For larger cakes you will need to double the batch (only if you have a 7qt or 12 qt mixer) or make several batches.

2 cups Crisco Shortening
1 stick butter, slightly soft but not mushy
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. clear vanilla
2 pounds (8 cups) powdered sugar, sifted (measure, then sift)

For 2 layers or 24 cupcakes:
1 cup Crisco Shortening
1/2 stick butter, slightly soft not mushy
2 TBSPS (1/8) to 4 TBSPS (1/4 cup) heavy cream
1 tsp. clear vanilla
1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted (measure than sift)

For 1 layer or 12 cupcakes:
1/2 cup Crisco Shortening
1/4 stick butter, slightly soft not mushy
1 TBSP to 2 TBSPS (1/8 cup) heavy cream
1/2 tsp. clear vanilla
1/2 pound (2 cups) powdered sugar, sifted (measure than sift)

In your mixer bowl, beat the shortening until it's smooth, add the butter and cream together until smooth and light and fluffy. Add smaller amount of the heavy cream and the vanilla and mix well.

Add half the powdered sugar and mix for 5 minutes on low-med. speed. Add remaining sugar and mix well. Add more cream or powdered sugar if necessary to adjust the consistency.
Chocolate Buttercream: Stir in 2 squares melted chocolate. If not enough, add 1 more melted square at a time. For the best Chocolate Icing, go to the Chocolate Ganache Recipe.

A Note: For a fluffier one, beat the buttercream on a low - med. speed for about another 10 minutes. For a super smooth (not fluffy) buttercream, don't beat as long as 5 minutes. This buttercream will be more white when it's beaten longer.

Use immediately; it's easiest to smooth out when it's fresh. I'm asked all the time about this icing crusting and how long it can be left out. So, it doesn't really crust, it will need smoothed with a hot knife if you want a super smooth surface. This is great because a cake can be done one night and the icing will still be creamy the next day for serving.

As for sitting out, I have left this buttercream in a tight Tupperware for several days at room temperature, several weeks in the refrigerator or several months (6+) in the freezer without problems.

No matter how you store the buttercream, be sure to beat it vigorously with a heavy spoon before using to take away the spongy texture.
Use 1 teaspoon of regular vanilla extract (beat longer so the color of the buttercream turns white)
PLUS 1/2 teaspoon of almond, lemon or orange extracts
1 teaspoon orange, lemon or lime peel to match the extracts
Plus 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For a buttery buttercream:
I wanted a good all-purpose frosting that was good enough for cupcakes, yet would hold up to a wedding cake in June and my buttercream icing isn't written into stone. I add enough butter to flavor the buttercream, but not enough so that it breaks down easily, perfect for a warm day.
For a more "buttery" buttercream, use more butter, or even all butter. I like to use European butter and a smaller amount of powdered sugar when I make icing for cupcakes or for a simple after school "snack" cake, the kind you make in a square pan and just frost in the pan. That is my family's favorite snack and it always goes quickly.
Just use about 2 sticks of firm cold butter and beat in 1 pound of powdered sugar and add a pinch of salt, 1 tsp of vanilla and a little cream or milk to make a smooth consistency for a very buttery buttercream. It will be fine for a family cake, but it won't hold up for a large wedding type cake! And with too much decorating it will start to melt in the piping bag, especially if you have hot hand like I do!!

For warm weather: As a general rule, buttercream does not hold-up well in warm, humid weather. Tami's Buttercream will hold up better if you use all shortening instead of butter. (Substitute the butter in the recipe with shortening and in addition, add in the shortening called for in the recipe). Also, at most, substitute 1 tablespoon powdered sugar with meringue powder for every 1 cup powdered sugar used.

Michelle Lee's picture

Thank you Bernadette for all of the recipes and tips.

Barnaby Dorfman's picture

You might also consider a cream cheese based frosting:

They hold up much better to heat than butter cream.

Bernadette's picture

Hi, Cream cheese frosting can still soften in warm weather. If you use cream cheese still add shortening. I made a wedding cake for a June wedding, a very hot day, but the bride requested cream cheese. I had to ask for the air conditioning to be turned up because the frosting started to sag. Good Luck! Bernadette

sarah phillips's picture

Bernadette, You just copied and pasted The Perfect Buttercream Icing Recipe By Tami Smith from without permission. This is a paid, subscription site. Sarah Phillips, CEO We have over 2,000 unqiue recipes on our site. We love our members and rely on paid subscriptions - ONLY $19.95 per year - rather than on advertising.or sponsorships. We do not give away our recipes and expert advice for a reason - we are an online cookbook and and a business.....

In essence, you are giving away OUR content for free without our permission. It's not fair. How would you like us to give away one of your decorated cakes for nothing just because someone else needs it?

Leigh's picture

Wow, Sarah. With that nasty comment I'll definately not subscribe to your overpriced site! Bernadette appropriately credited the recipe and actually advertised your site so stop whining. It doesn't sound like you have anything that special anyway-certainly not something people can't look up for free! It's out there already so say something like "we appreciate the enthusiasm for our recipe but we encourage people to subscribe to our site. Please help our business by not posting recipes without permission. For other great recipes visit our site for just $00 a year!" instead you just turned your demographic against you. Bad business, ladies.

Sonja's picture

How rude, people who charge for recipes.....It is always about money!...Would never think of joining!