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White frosting for amateur first-time wedding cake baker


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Greetings, baking experts! Somewhere out there is a recipe for a bright white frosting, wedding-cake style, that spreads and smooths easier than a classic buttercream. I thought I saw one once, and it had (gasp) shortening in it? I need a recipe for success, as I'm attempting my first wedding cake, and a satiny smooth frosting is what I'm hoping for. Any tips?




"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

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In the cake decorating class I took we used a mixture of shortening and powdered sugar. Easy to work with and lasts forever but... um... I wouldn't want to eat it. Do you have any go-to frosting recipes for other types of cakes you make? I'm very partial to Italian-style buttercreams myself.

Chris Hennes
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I don't think you can get a bright white frosting other than using shortening. Butter will give you more of a off white color and much better flavor, I know I wouldn't want to eat shortening.

I've always used an Italian Meringue Butter Cream because it seems the most stable and always smooths out nicely when you finish with a hot spatula.

I have seen white color for frosting, but have no idea if it works.

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You can sometimes get butter that isn't colored...you may have to source that from someone nearby that actually makes it. Unsalted butter seems less yellow to me that salted, so that's what I use. I think you can get undyed butter at health food stores, also.

Most recipes you will find on cake websites call for a mix of butter and shortening - this will give you the 'crusting' that you want if you are piping onto it.

Cakecraft.net sells white food coloring that will produce a white frosting - it is a paste, so presumably you wouldn't need to add gallons of it.

You could also consider icing the cake with something tasty and then covering it with a marshmallow fondant - that would be bright white.

Edited by Badiane (log)

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There's a recipe from epicurious for an egg-white buttercream that comes out white that's part of a birthday cake recipe. It was the cover photo of Gourmet one month, and they got hate mail for doctoring the photo to make it look that white--but they hadn't--it really is that white. It tastes good, too.

Edited to add: I just noticed you wanted smoother and easier than a classic buttercream. This won't get you that--whoops--sorry.

Edited by faith (log)
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If it's the colour you're worried about, then perhaps some food-grade titanium dioxide powder can help? Titanium Dioxide is the most commonly used pigment in the world - it's white. It's used in toothpaste, powdered milks, and a bunch of other stuff you've probably already consumed today. It's safe to consume, pretty cheap and not too difficult to find online.

Adriano Zumbo is a famous Australian Pastry Chef. Thanks to the TV show "Masterchef", his "V8" cake has become a cult celebrity in its own right. He uses titanium dioxide in the recipe to ensure the cake is white, not yellow.

If you have a recipe that you're comfortable with but your concern is the colour, then maybe titanium dioxide will help you out...

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I suggest using the recipe for House Buttercream found in The Whimsical House Bakery book. When clients request a sweeter frosting (our house buttercream is an Italian Meringue BCRM) this is what I use and people are happy with it. I have only ever used it with a high ratio shortening (I still have that stuff :( and I think this is a key to success but I don't know. Maybe the book is on amazon and maybe you can find it by glancing through the online pages that are available with some titles. Otherwise, do a google search and I'm sure it's been discussed in other cake forums and people have posted their adaptations and notes...

When freshly made, it spreads easily, can be smoothed very nicely; I've never kept it for longer than a few days but I would guess you'd need to rebeat it if you chill it or have it stand at rm temp in a bowl for a few hours....

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