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Bright White Buttercream Frosting

By: Pfoinkle
Category: Frosting Recipes

A fresh batch of Bright White Buttercream Frosting.

A fresh batch of Bright White Buttercream Frosting.

Bright White Buttercream is a great decorating frosting with a heavenly taste.

This frosting has a lighter taste than the shortening free Butteriest Buttercream, spreads easily, and is stiff enough to form lovely peaks. An easy decorator frosting that’s great for novelty cakes.


  • 8 oz (2 “sticks”) room temperature butter
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp clear vanilla extract
  • 7 cups powdered sugar (approximately 2 pounds)
  • 6 tbsp milk
  • <1 drop blue liquid food coloring (optional)


(See below for addition of food coloring directions.)

  1. In one bowl, thoroughly cream butter, shortening, and vanilla.
  2. Add one cup of powdered sugar and one tablespoon of milk. Beat thoroughly at medium speed.
  3. Repeat step #2 until you have added all of the milk and powdered sugar.
  4. Beat for an additional 3-5 minutes at medium speed.

Yield: Approximately five cups of frosting.

The blue food coloring used for whitening icing. One drop of coloring placed in tablespoon.

The blue food coloring used for whitening icing.

First, the easy way to get “white white” frosting is to replace the eight ounces of butter in this recipe with one cup of shortening (and be sure to use clear vanilla extract). But if you want to keep the butter and the buttery taste, you’ll want to “neutralize” the yellow color of the butter.

Rather than starting a lengthy discussion on Color Theory, I’m just going to tell you that the secret to a bright white buttercream frosting is the tiniest bit of blue food coloring. If you want more information on the science behind why blue “neutralizes” the yellow of the butter, read this Wikipedia article, but if you just want white frosting without all the theory stay here and read on.

CAUTION! The first time you experiment with adding blue food coloring to white icing should not be at the same time you’re making an important last minute dessert that must be perfect — if you’re not careful, it’s easy to cross from “bright white” right into “pastel blue”.

For “whitening” an icing, my preferred food coloring is the liquid blue coloring (McCormick) available at most U.S. grocery stores. With more concentrated food colorings (like Wilton’s), it’s difficult to get a small enough amount to keep the icing white and not blue.

Whitening Buttercream Frosting During Preparation

  1. Place one drop of blue food coloring in a measuring spoon (this makes it easier to control how much food coloring goes in the frosting).
  2. At the point you add the third cup of powdered sugar to the mix, carefully tip the spoon with blue coloring and add the tiniest amount possible to your frosting. Do not worry if the icing turns blue.
  3. Each time you stop to add another cup of powdered sugar, evaluate the color of the frosting. If the frosting appears yellow, again add the tiniest amount of blue you can manage. If the frosting doesn’t appear yellow, skip the coloring.
  4. Once you’ve added all the powdered sugar, evaluate the color. If the frosting is still yellow, again tip the spoon, dispensing the smallest amount of blue possible. You should never need more than the initial drop of blue food coloring to whiten the amount of frosting in the above recipe. In fact, the odds are strong that you will not use the full drop.

And there you have it — a wonderful decorating frosting that is bright white and tastes great. Now get spreading!

If you prefer a shortening-free frosting, check out the Butteriest Buttercream Frosting Recipe.

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from: Colouring in, for adults « Gentleman’s Corner

[...] The first fact: when icing a white cake, you should add blue food colouring. This is because it neutralises the yellow of the butter to provide a bright white finish (as seen here). [...]