Buttercream Icing Mix Basics

Essential Tools

  • Electric Mixer with Paddle Attachment / Hand Mixer with Beater
  • Softened Butter 
  • Cool Water
  • Measuring Spoons, Cups, Food Scale
  • Spatula / Bowl Scraper
  • Bench Scraper - for cutting out portions of product from the pail 
  • Turntable, Piping Bags, Piping/Decorating Tips - for decorating


Getting Started

Step 1: Prepare ingredients – Electric Mixer with Paddle or Hand Mixer with Beaters, Buttercream Icing Mix, 4 Tbsp softened butter (per 1lb Icing Mix), 1 Tbsp cool water (per 1lb Icing Mix)

Step 2: Add Buttercream Icing Mix and butter to mixing bowl. Mix medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes until butter is incorporated, scraping sides as necessary

Step 3: Mix low/medium speed, slowly add water until incorporated

Step 4: Mix low/medium speed another 1 to 2 minutes until smooth  

How much buttercream does a 2lb pail of Icing Mix make? 

2 lb Buttercream Icing Mix yields 4.5 cups of buttercream using recommended recipe 
2 lb Buttercream Icing Mix yields 5 cups of buttercream using ‘fluffy’ recipe
It takes about 2½ to 3 cups of icing to generously fill and frost a two-layer 9-inch cake.
For a three-layer cake, plan on using 3½ to 4 cups

What kind of butter can I use?

For most versatile use, we recommend ½ salted, ½ unsalted. For dietary considerations, shortening or vegan butter can be used in place of butter. Be sure to use butter that is softened to room temperature.  

Butter/fat level can be adjusted to achieve desired consistency, recommended range is 2-4 oz per 1 lb of icing mix

BUTTER SUBSTITUTES: High ratio shortening, Vegan butter alternatives, Margarine

What speed should I use on the mixer?

 We recommend to always mix on low to medium speed as it prevents air bubbles.

How do I color the buttercream?

Once you have the Buttercream Icing Mix completely combined, you can add color. Gel colors are recommended as the consistency will blend best with the buttercream. Dip a clean toothpick into the gel color and add to the buttercream. Use a spatula or electric mixer to mix the color in. For black buttercream, we recommend starting with chocolate buttercream.

How can I change the consistency to suit the project I'm working on?

By adjusting the amounts of butter or water that are added to the Icing Mix, you can create a buttercream consistency that is soft, medium or firm. 
Tip: If needed, double the water for dry climates

Icing MixButterWater
Recommended1 lb (454g)4 Tbsp (57g)1 Tbsp (14g)
Firm1 lb (454g)4 Tbsp (57g)1.5 tsp (7g)
Softer1 lb (454g)4 Tbsp (57g)1.5 Tbsp (21g)
Extra Buttery1 lb (454g)8 Tbsp (114g)1.5 tsp (7g)

For more information on buttercream consistencies read this blog post by artist, Liz Shim of Eat Cake Be Merry.

How can I make a fluffy buttercream for fillings? 

  • Aerating the Buttercream Icing Mix during mixing will create a fluffier buttercream.
  • Use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment  
  • Measure Buttercream Icing Mix and butter into your mixing bowl and mix on low speed until combined
  • Add half of water on medium, mix on medium until combined. 
  • Scrape sides of bowl & paddle as necessary.  
  • Mix on medium-high for 8-12 minutes to aerate, volume should increase and mix will become very smooth & fluffy.
  • Add remaining water and mix on low until fully incorporated, buttercream should be very smooth.

How do I make it less sweet?

A pinch of salt or small amount of lemon juice can be added to taste, or to cut sweetness. For best results, dissolve salt first in the water/liquid before mixing in. For any lemon juice added, subtract from water quantity. 

What water substitutes could I use?

Milk, Cream, Nut Milk, Coconut Cream, and Concentrated Fruit Compounds are all great alternatives to water for creating recipes to suit dietary needs or flavor adjustments.

Will adding flavor and color make it too soft?

Adding color and/or flavor should not affect the consistency of the buttercream. However, if you find the buttercream softer than you desire, add in a small portion of powdered sugar until you reach the consistency right for your project. 


How do I avoid air bubbles?

Over mixing at high speeds can also introduce more air into the buttercream, be sure to mix until ingredients are fully blended in and smooth but no more than necessary. If there are bubbles after mixing, take your spatula and use it to push the buttercream against the bowl, almost slapping it.

I added too much liquid, how can I bring it back?

If you’ve added too much liquid, continue to mix at low speed and add in a small portion of powdered sugar. If the powdered sugar doesn’t stabilize the buttercream, add in a small portion of Buttercream Icing Mix.

Why is the buttercream separating?

If buttercream breaks during mixing and maximum liquid level (1.2oz liquid or 1.5oz in dry climates per 1lb of Buttercream Icing Mix) was not exceeded, keep mixing on low/medium speed and the buttercream will come together.

How can I keep the buttercream from crusting?

To slow crusting, corn syrup may be mixed in an additional 1-2%. Add syrup in first mixing step, and reduce water added accordingly to achieve desired consistency. Also, extra butter can be added – see “extra buttery” recipe and modify as desired.


How do I store the Buttercream Icing Mix?

Product should be stored/warehoused below 80°F. The temperature of the product is important mostly to the end user and should be between 68°F - 80°F (20°F - 27°C) before handling. 

How do I store the finished buttercream?

While buttercream can be stored and used later, it's important to note that the fresher the buttercream, the better it will work especially for detailed piping and decorative work. 

AIRTIGHT CONTAINER: Place the buttercream frosting in an airtight container. A plastic container will work as long as the lid is tightly sealed. 

REFRIGERATE: Buttercream frosting can be refrigerated for up to one week without losing freshness. Be sure to keep it away from fragrant foods while in the fridge. When you remove the buttercream from the fridge, let it sit until it gets to room temperature, then stir to regain original consistency. 

FREEZE: Buttercream frosting can remain in the freezer for up to one month without losing freshness. When you're ready to use the buttercream, take it out of the freezer a day before and let it thaw overnight. 

How do I store a cake covered in buttercream?

ROOM TEMPERATURE: If you're serving your cake within 3 days, it can remain at room temperature and remain safe to eat. 

REFRIGERATE: A buttercream cake can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. If the mixed buttercream was stored prior to being used on the cake take that into consideration in calculating how much time the cake can be stored.

What is the shelf life?

UNUSED: 12 months     
MIXED BUTTERCREAM: airtight containerseveral days, refrigerated - one week, frozen - one month

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