Due to popular demand, I think it is time to actually dedicate a blog post to this creamy, luscious, pale and versatile frosting that is American buttercream! I personally like to make my buttercream with half unsalted butter and half vegetable shortening, as this creates a creamier, richer, and whiter looking frosting. Not only this, but thanks to the addition of vegetable shortening, the buttercream is much more resistant to heat compared to just unsalted butter alone. However, with the addition of shortening, it does mean that the frosting on the outside of your cake will not crust. It will become solid once placed in the fridge, but it will soften out to its original creamy state once at room temperature again. For this reason, I would not recommend this frosting underneath fondant. But, it does make gorgeous flowers and a clean, smooth finish for those cakes that have a buttercream decorated finish.
I personally use Solite shortening, which can be purchased online at mydreamcake.com.au and other online shops. Believe it or not, Aldi actually make a delicious and strong unsalted butter by Butterfully, and it holds up beautifully. In fact, out of all the butters I have tried from the other supermarkets, Aldi has been a fav of mine and I go back to it every time. I don't want to be another one of those long winded recipe essay writers, so I will just get straight to the point ;) The recipe for this frosting that I use on the daily, and in 95% of my video tutorials, is:
Hybrid American Buttercream
500 grams unsalted butter (Butterfully works well, but any other should do the trick)
500 grams Solite vegetable shortening (or any other vegetable based shortening will do the trick)
2 kilograms of icing mixture (you can also use icing sugar instead, however I find icing mixture is less grainy and smoother)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (to keep it pale, you can use a clear vanilla essence instead or any other flavouring)
4 to 6 tablespoons of milk (depending on the consistency you want to achieve. I use full fat / full cream milk)
STEP 1. Cream unsalted butter and vegetable shortening together for 3 to 5 minutes in a standing mixer using a paddle attachment. Scrape down the bowl, and beat for an additional 2 minutes or until pale and creamy.
STEP 2. Add in half of the icing mixture/icing sugar in small batches with the mixer on low speed. Once half is added, let it beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Add in half of the mix mixture and beat for another minute.
STEP 3. Add in the remaining icing mixture/icing sugar with the mixer on low speed. Once combined, add in the remainder of your milk and your vanilla extract and beat on medium speed for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture is nice and fluffy and creamy.