Icing breaking down

by Becky

I am using the same recipe that I have always used and my mother used. It is a buttercream using Crisco, flavorings, powdered sugar and less than 1 cup of water.

In the last year or so, the icing has started breaking down. If it is white, there will be a little bead of oil at the edge of the cake. If it is a colored icing, it will bleed the color that it is tinted.

When put in a bowl to store, it will separate and leave a little "oil" on it or in the bowl. Any ideas? I feel like it might be that Crisco has had to change their product. I have used high ratio shortening, and don't like it as well because it doesn't want to smooth down. I have even tried 1/2 & 1/2.

Any ideas on what can be done to preventing the icing from breaking down.

Lorelie's Response
Hi Becky, I have only used the Crisco based frosting a couple of times over the years I have been decorating wedding cakes. I don't recall this problem. But after looking at one of the Wilton recipes for their buttercream, it looks like maybe you are adding too much water.

They suggest 2 Tablespoons of milk to 1/2 cup of shortening and 1/2 cup of butter, 4 cups of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon flavoring. Or 2 Tablespoons of milk to 1 cup of shortening for a pure white icing.

Try this and see if that takes care of your issues with the icing breaking down. I will be asking my Facebook cake decorators to see if they can be of help to you as well.

Have you considered using a frosting made with butter only? There are two on this website that you may like. the Italian meringue wedding cake icing and the easy buttercream recipe with confectioners sugar and vanilla. Here is the link to the main page or icing

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