Wedding Cake Frosting Dilemma, Please Help!

I have lifelong distaste for buttercream frosting, and by that I mean buttercream made with lots of butter, which when refrigerated becomes hard like butter. My wedding is in just over 2 weeks in Los Angeles, and I haven't found a bakery yet that makes a non-buttercream frosting. In my research it seems like what I'm looking for might be "American Buttercream", made with butter, or "phoney" buttercream, made with shortening. I'm looking for a birthday cake like frosting, the kind that becomes crusty when left out.

Anyone know what I should ask for when I'm calling around?

I'm looking for a berry filled white cake, very simple, no designs, even a simple round would work.

  • Posted by: Dalila
  • April 20, 2016


Dalila April 22, 2016
Thank you everyone!
BerryBaby April 22, 2016
The only frosting that I know of that become 'crusty' when left out is 7-Minute Frosting made with egg whites on the stove. It was a very popular frosting back in the 50' and 60's. I loved it. Recipes can be found online on numerous sites.
Amy April 21, 2016
I am a pro cake decorator. I have to admit, I'm not a fan of shortening at all, but if that is what you are looking for, I have some info... You want the kind of icing I call "grocery store icing". Basically hydrogenated fat of some sort and sugar. Also called "bucket icing".
sdebrango April 21, 2016
Here is a recipe from a blogger I know, her Mom owned a bakery and she calls this Wedding Cake Icing, here's the link:
BakerRB April 20, 2016
You're right - American buttercream is what you want in modern parlance. (Not a European buttercream, not whipped cream base (also pretty common from bakeries; there's a particular commercial product that whips up and is pretty stable)) Maybe it would work to describe it as like the recipe on the back of a powdered sugar box. Lots of sugar, less butter. Unless you're only calling high end bakeries I bet that's what some/most of the places are actually making (and probably with shortening for temperature stability and price) unless they're specifically telling you they're making European style buttercream. American buttercream was never called anything but buttercream or frosting until fairly recently in CA too. There was more crusting with margarine (my childhood) than with butter (my preference now). Maybe it's due to more water in butter so things don't dry out the same way. I just checked the wedding cake option list from a local bakery ( and "wedding white" and "buttercream" are base price, so neither of those are full of butter$$$. There's a surcharge for French, Fondant, and a couple others, so maybe you can call them and ask what each exactly means so you can find a term other bakeries would recognize. I've had just on cakes from that place, but I didn't buy them so I'm not exactly sure what was ordered. Asian bakeries will generally have a a whipped cream style frosting.
jeinde April 20, 2016
This might be what you are looking for. A friend gave me it years ago and it is like a bakery frosting...very stable..
1 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
Cook above in a heavy bottomed saucepan, stirring until thick. Cool and blend in one tsp. vanilla. Whip together 1/2 c. Crisco and 1/2 c. butter. Combine with above mixture and whip until light and fluffy. Hope this is what you are looking for.

Jas3 April 20, 2016
You want a crusting buttercream - a professional baker will understand that term. I think those typically contain both butter and shortening and powdered sugar. People call just about anything buttercream. What you DON'T want is a meringue buttercream (either Swiss or Italian). Good luck! Finding a wedding cake on short notice can be tough.
Susan W. April 20, 2016
My mom always made birthday cake frosting with fat (could have been Crisco, but then she switched to butter), powdered sugar, milk or cream and different flavorings and/or colors depending on the birthday. And yes, that would sort of crust over if not refrigerated. Not in a bad way necessarily. It would almost glaze over and develop a slight crunch.
Dalila April 20, 2016
Thanks guys. I'm really looking for old fashioned birthday cake frosting, not cream cheese frosting. Not sure what it technically would be called. I'm from the Midwest, and it's everywhere there, but here on the West Coast it's hard to find.
Annie S. April 20, 2016
My wedding cake frosting was cream cheese buttercream. It is about 2/3 cream cheese and 1/3 butter. It needs to be stored in a refrigerated space though.
hardlikearmour April 20, 2016
Rose Levy Beranbaum has a recipe for a cream cheese buttercream that could work. It does contain butter, but the notes in The Cake Bible mention that Shirley Corriher has made it with a very large reduction in the butter. You definitely don't want American butter cream.
Cav April 20, 2016
I think what you're looking for is Royal Icing.
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