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4 Hacks for White Buttercream Frosting

How to make white buttercream frosting is one of the most commonly asked questions about cake decorating so in this tutorial I'll share four hacks to help you say goodbye to yellow buttercream!

#1 Beat the butter

The first hack for white buttercream frosting is also the very first step of making it. I'm using my 4 Minute Buttercream recipe in this tutorial and I use it for all of my cakes.

how to make buttercream whiter

Beat the butter first, all on its own for a few minutes at medium speed. You want it to be completely smooth and move easily around in the mixing bowl. This only happens if butter is at room temperature so take it out of the fridge about 4 hours before.

beat butter to lighten it

Now add the icing sugar or powdered sugar, which will lighten the butter a lot more. Continue with the recipe and your buttercream will be whiter than if you hadn't beaten the butter alone. Look at how much lighter the buttercream is after beating it for five minutes, compared to one minute:

beat butter for 5 minutes to make white buttercream frosting

#2 Add violet to make white buttercream frosting

If the buttercream is still yellow, add a tiny bit of violet. This has to be violet - purple won't work because it's the blue tint of violet that offsets the yellow. Dip a toothpick into the bottle to get a tiny amount because a full drop will be too much.

how to make white buttercream frosting with violet get color

Drag the toothpick through the buttercream to leave a streak behind.

how to use violet to make buttercream white

Mix it in and look at the difference before and after adding violet:

add violet to make white buttercream frosting

You could add white colouring or white icing color but you'll need a lot for a full batch of buttercream. There are two negative side effects: an unpleasant flavour and it will make the buttercream very runny.

white icing color for buttercream

#3 Choose your background

This third hack for white buttercream actually has nothing to do with the buttercream itself. You only notice off-white isn't bright white when it's next to something that is bright white. So after making a cake, choose your background wisely. Opt for colourful decorations and don't display the cake in front of a white background either. Look how different this white buttercream frosting looks when the background is white compared to colourful. The cake looks whiter when the background isn't white.

white cake with white background
white buttercream cake with colorful background

#4 Use shortening for white buttercream frosting

If none of these hacks make your cakes look white enough, the final hack is to tweak your buttercream recipe. As you saw at the beginning, the butter in buttercream is yellow and gives buttercream that yellow tint. You can replace the buttercream with a vegetable shortening like Trex or Crisco.

make buttercream with shortening instead of butter to make it white

These are white, not yellow, so your buttercream will be bright white. Think of the cakes you can buy from a grocery store or supermarket - those are made with shortening instead of butter.

buttercream with shortening

The flavour will be different without butter so with this substitution, you're sacrificing that. An alternative is to substitute half of the butter with shortening. This will make the colour whiter but you'll keep the delicious buttery flavour. An added benefit of using all or half shortening is that the buttercream will be more stable. This is a great option in hot climates when the cake will be served outside.

ways to make white buttercream frosting

I hope this tutorial has been useful. Visit my cake school to learn hundreds of cake decorating techniques and designs, with courses and membership options too, to take your buttercream cake skills to the next level.

You can also watch a video of this tutorial on 4 hacks for white buttercream frosting:
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2 comments on “4 Hacks for White Buttercream Frosting”

  1. I had forgotten the shortening hack. My ex-sister-in-law used to only use shortening, now I know why! Thank you for these tips!

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