Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

In the first Slice & Torte episode, we demonstrated the ‘naked cake’ technique.  Personally, I like my naked cakes to be a little prudish…a little less naked... especially if there is an actual filling (instead of just a layer of buttercream) in between the cake layers.  Otherwise, there’s just not enough frosting to make the cake taste complete.  In order to achieve this look, you simply fill the cake as usual and then spread a thin layer of frosting around the cake.  Then, using a bench scraper or other flat surface, remove frosting from the sides of the cake until you have achieved your desired coverage. 

This recipe is for a vanilla buttercream but can easily be changed by substituting the vanilla extract for another flavor/extract.  Mint, lemon, orange, coconut...the possibilities are endless!

This recipe makes about 1 pound of buttercream frosting.


  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons water or milk


  1. Combine butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl.  Using an electric mixer (stand with a paddle attachment is preferred, but not necessary), mix on a medium-high speed until well combined, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the vanilla extract.
  3. Begin to add powdered sugar (make sure the mixer isn’t running!).  If using a stand mixer, add the entire amount.  If using a hand-held mixer, add half of the powdered sugar, mix until mostly combined, then add the remaining portion.
  4. Mix until all ingredients on a medium-high speed.  As you mix, add the water/milk one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.  For frosting a cake, you’ll want a thinner frosting.  For decorative elements, a thicker frosting is needed.  Total mixing time for this step should not exceed 3 minutes. 
  5. Frost your cake….or cupcakes…or just eat it out of the bowl!  No judgment here.