Best Crusting Buttercream Frosting Recipe and Smoothing Technique

I was going to add this recipe to the “Best Buttercream Recipes” page, but I thought it needed to have a post all it’s own.  It’s that good!! Well that, and I’ve added the very important Smoothing Technique you’ll need to know how to do if you want your cake nice and smooth for decorating!

If you need a smooth finish for your cake but you don’t want to use fondant, this Crusting Buttercream Frosting Recipe and Smoothing Technique works great and it tastes really good too!  It uses a Viva paper towel to give it a nice smooth finish.  It’s creamy and works great for cake decorations too.  Your flowers and other cake decorations will keep their shape and stay soft, so you can cut easily through them. So make at least a double batch because it’s perfect for everything!

Things You’ll Need

  • Hand or Stand Mixer
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Angled Spatula
  • Fondant Smoother (Optional)
  • Viva Paper Towels


  • 2 lbs. sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter (for whiter frosting, use butter without dyes)
  • 1-1/2 cups shortening
  • 2 tbsp. clear vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup water for frosting the cake or 1/4 cup for decorating
  • 1/4 tsp clear almond extract or any flavor you like
  • If you live where it is very humid, add 1 or 2 tbsps meringue powder


  • Mix shortening, butter, and extracts until creamy.
  • Gradually add water
  • SLOWLY add powdered sugar, a little at a time, being careful to not have it poof in your face
  • Mix thoroughly just until smooth and creamy.  Do not mix on high speed or over mix it.
  • Now you’re ready to frost your cake.
  • Frost your cake with an angled spatula.  Get it as smooth as possible.
  • Then let stand for 15 minutes or until dry to the touch.
  • Using Viva paper towels and either your hand or a fondant smoother, you’re going to smooth the sides first and then the top.
  • Rip off about 5 sheets of paper towels and have them handy.
  • Take one of the paper towels and lightly place it onto the top of the cake, and with your hand or fondant smoother, lightly rub the paper towel to smooth the top of the cake.
  • Now do the same on the sides.
  • If your paper towel begins to stick, exchange it for a new one and continue until smooth.
  • Then work the corners, still with the paper towel and smoother, pressing very lightly until you get a nice sharp corner all around.
  • Now you are ready to decorate!


  • Store leftover frosting in an air tight container.
  • Frosting can be stored for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy!  And don’t forget to tell us about your experience with this frosting….we’d love to hear from you!

Filed under: Cake & Frosting Recipes