Okay, this is the jazzed up, yummier than normal decorator frosting recipe that I use. This has gone on every cake I have sold, from birthday to wedding cake, and always gets rave reviews. Please note that the extracts only give a hint of flavor, and it will still taste like decorator frosting, just a little less intense-sweet and kind of richer.
1 cup solid white shortening (I like to use the sticks so I don't have to measure)
1 tsp butter flavor/extract (McCormick or Watkins have this, so does Wilton)
1 tsp other extract (vanilla, carmel, raspberry, vanilla nut, almond... have fun)
2 tbsp milk
1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar (sifting is recommended but necessary. Sift after measuring.)
1 tbsp Wilton Meringue powder if it is a really hot day or it will be in the car for a long hot drive.
In a bowl, cream together the shortening, milk, salt, and extracts/flavors. Add the sugar and meringue powder (opt.) and mix at medium speed until thoroughly combined. I then whip on medium high until really creamy and kind of fluffy. It takes about 2 more minutes in my kitchenaid.
This makes 3 cups of stiff buttercream. You would use this for roses and sweet peas. If it cracks coming out of the tube it is too stiff, add a couple drops of water at a time.
To make medium consistency, add an additional 1 tbsp milk or water to the whole batch, or 1 tsp per cup. This is for stars, borders, and all other flowers. Also for figure piping, like clowns or faces.
For thin, add an additional 2 tbsp milk or water to the whole batch, or 2 tsp per cup of frosting. Thin is what you will need for frosting a cake, doing vines and leaves, or for writing on the cake. For writing, leaves and vines, you can mix in a little corn syrup, but it will work fine without it.
If you want to know approximately how many cups of frosting you need to frost any given cake, let me know. For instance, 3 cups of frosting frosts, does borders, and top decoration for a one-layer 9x13 cake. That means one batch of this frosting, or just 3 cups of whatever frosting you are using. Enjoy!