Vanilla-Bean Buttercream Icing

This is a modified version of the frosting recipe my grandmother always used.  She was a big proponent of shortening as it was her belief that it stood up well in the heat at family gatherings.  I make this recipe in two stages, then combine the two separate recipes together.  This makes a boatload of frosting, which is easily stored in the freezer.  I divide them into 9.5 c storage containers and pull them out as the need arises - makes life so easy!

4 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 whole eggs + 4 egg whites
1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1.5 lb (3 sticks) regular shortening sticks, room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla-bean paste

Place sugar and water into a medium saucepan and bring to boil, cook until a candy thermometer reaches softball stage (235-240 degrees).  Remove from heat and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat 4 whole eggs and 4 egg whites, then slowly pour in the hot syrup.  Once all the syrup is added, set timer and allow mixture to whip for ten minutes.  Pour syrup into a pitcher to cool.  You will want to refrigerate the syrup for at least four hours, or overnight - you can also leave it on the counter to cool as well.  Once syrup has cooled, take a spoon and remove the foam that has risen to the top (there is no need to get every ounce of it, just the majority).

Place clean bowl back in the mixer and add the butter and shortening with whisk attachment.  Beat on high speed, stopping 2 or 3 times to scrape the bowl - ingredients should be light in color and have a whipped texture.  Add the vanilla bean paste and slowly pour in the syrup.  Place mixer on low and edge up to medium high until all of the ingredients are incorporated and the icing looks fluffy.

16 oz. cream cheese room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 lb. powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste

Place cream cheese and butter into a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix to combine well.  Add powdered sugar and mix again until no visible lumps appear, finally adding the vanilla bean paste at the end.

Combine STEP 1 & STEP TWO, mixing well until it is completely incorporated.  Should be at room temperature to frost cake.


  1. In step 1 - do you remove all the foam and use only the clear portion. When I made it there was only 3/4 of an inch of clear syrup. Is that the only portion that gets added to the butter?

  2. Your cake is fabu! You have been widely reprinted. Many many congrats! I DO have a question. When your buttercream icing was halved, the shortening was listed as 3/4 CUP (3/4 stick). Your full recipe calls for 1 1/2 POUNDS(3 sticks). Since each Crisco stick is, in fact, 1 cup, I assume your full recipe is correct. SO. Is the half recipe 3/4 POUND (1 1/2 sticks? Please, please let me know! Thanks! TGormley

  3. Yes, you are to remove the foam. It is nearly impossible to remove all of it, so just try to get most.

    AND yes again, it is 1.5 sticks - Kim Ode realized her error the day after and figured folks would be able to correct her mistake on their own.