Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mama Me's Buttercream Frosting

Almond-flavored buttercream frosting is my absolute favorite. Vanilla is good, but almond ... Mmmmm.

I adapted the "Creamy Icing" recipe from the 1975 edition of Joy of Cooking as my buttercream frosting recipe. It's versatile. If you don't like almond flavor, you can omit it and start with vanilla only.

Projected time: 5 minutes (not including coloring and adjusting consistency)
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/4 c. unsalted butter
1/4 c. salted butter
5 to 6 tbsp. milk (but start with 4)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla
3/4 to 1 3/4 tsp. pure almond extract

Add sugar to butter and begin to mix, adding milk starting at 4 tbsp. and then the extracts. Adjust your extract amount to suit your taste. I like a fairly strong almond flavor and everyone who tries my cake loves the taste. If you don't plan on using almond at all, start with a full teaspoon of vanilla.

Cream together thoroughly and then slowly add more milk, up to 6 tbsp. total, to reach your desired consistency. I usually stop just a little more than 4 tbsp. and take some out of the bowl to set aside in separate container for decorations that I need to be stiffer, then color them individually.

I usually end up with less than 6 tbsp., closer to 5, for the consistency I like to spread all over the cake. When I get to that consistency, I take some more out and put aside in another container to color as I need and thin as I need.

If you happen to end up with frosting thinner than you want, simply add more powdered sugar and then taste it to see if you also need a little more extract.

When you've taken enough out for the smaller coloring needs, you can go ahead and color the rest of it or leave it the pretty off-white color.

For small-scale decorating, I love these little icing tools that Pampered Chef sells:

I like to use Wilton icing colors. Even though they have been gluten-free up to now, I always check the labels of any new container of any product. If I'm not sure, I call the manufacturer.

I hope you find this buttercream frosting delicious! It keeps very well in an airtight container in the freezer. I always keep a little container of it frozen, along with some individually wrapped frozen cupcakes, for those days that the school calls to say a parent brought cupcakes for their child's birthday. I can pull a cupcake out, take a spoonful of the frosting and thaw for a few seconds in the microwave, spread it on the cupcake and go.

Also, it keeps just fine at room temperature for a few days. Don't worry about it spoiling on a cake that is left out for a few days. Past that, I'm not sure. It's never lasted that long in our house. :)

And it's what is on the cake on top of the page. I use it with my four-egg cake recipe that you can find here.


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