I’m not much of a cake decorator, which puts me in a bad spot at birthday time.  I would really, really love to be able to make gorgeous cakes for my kiddos’ birthdays.  I dearly would.

Instead, I make cakes that taste yummy and look crummy.

My children love me anyway.  🙂

Our little Miss E turned five this week.  Knowing my little diva, she probably had visions of a castle cake with princesses and unicorns all around.

She got plain old chocolate cupcakes.  And she loved them!

I still haven’t figured out how to make a decent gluten-free cake from scratch, so I rely on Pamela’s gluten-and-dairy-free chocolate cake mix to see me through birthdays.  (It sure does taste good!)

I wanted to try my hand at a fancy frosting, so I converted Wilke’s famous Butter Cream frosting over to something akin to healthy.  The main ingredient I wanted to get rid of was vegetable shortening

In it’s place, I used organic palm shortening, which is derived from palm oil (which is, in fact, very healthy).  Unlike the “junky” shortening sold at the grocery store, palm shortening is not hydrogenized and does not contain transfat.

It sure made a tasty frosting!  And it was ridiculously simple.

This rich and slightly-healthier-icing will make plain old cupcakes taste fit for a princess.  I call it “shortening free” frosting, but it’s really “unhealthy-shortening free” frosting.  You can call it what you want.  🙂

Recipe: Shortening-Free Butter Cream Frosting

Summary: A delectible frosting without the “bad” fat


  • 1/2 C palm shortening
  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 C powdered sugar
  • 2 TBSP water or milk


  1. In a small metal or glass bowl, whip together palm shortening, softened butter and vanilla.
  2. Add in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.
  3. Drizzle in just enough of the water or milk to reach your desired consistency. I used about half the liquid called for and had a delightfully fluffy frosting.

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4 thoughts on “Shortening-Free Butter Cream Frosting

  1. Kristy,

    here’s a gluten free cake recipe you might try.  It’s what I use when baking for my MIL who eats GF.  We all enjoy it!  I followed a recommendation to “flavor ” the cake by reducing sugar and adding jello mix in desired flavor.  I made a great strawberry cake and topped with fresh whipped cream and berries…tis the right time for strawberries!!http://allrecipes.com/recipe/gluten-free-yellow-cake/detail.aspx

    Posted on June 24, 2011 at 9:01 pm
  2. I always make buttercream frosting too!  I just use all butter though.  Does using palm shortening cut your costs?

    Posted on June 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm
  3. Thanks for the recipe!  I use lard, butter, olive and coconut oils. I haven’t made frosting (aside from cream cheese frosting) recently due to the shortening issue.

    J in VA

    Posted on June 24, 2011 at 2:27 am
    1. I think you’ll enjoy this frosting!

      Posted on June 24, 2011 at 2:03 pm