STOP! Put the jarred frosting back on the shelf. One thing that you really shouldn’t skimp out on is the frosting. Jarred frosting has a weird taste to it, and it’s super difficult to spread. If you go through the trouble of fixing up the box cake, you’ll undo all of your efforts if you don’t make your own frosting. Thankfully, frosting is pretty easy to make, and you can keep all of the ingredients you need in your pantry at all times just in case the urge strikes.

Ingredients

1 cup Shortening
4 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream or milk (even water might work in a pinch)
Chocolate icing: add cocoa powder or melted chocolate (to taste)
Optional: add food coloring or other flavor extracts like mint or lemon

Directions

  1. Cream shortening in a mixing bowl until fluffy.
  2. Add confectioners sugar slowly and cream together until blended.
  3. Add salt, vanilla, and 1/4 cup of your liquid and blend on low speed until moistened.
  4. Check the consistency of your icing, if it’s too thick, slowly add more milk. You do NOT want to add too much liquid or it will be watery and won’t spread. If you substitute the shortening for butter, use less liquid as well. If your frosting is too thin, try creaming together small amounts of shortening and sugar and then adding it to your main frosting to thicken it.
  5. Optional: color your icing with food coloring, or add some flavor extract or cocoa powder/chocolate to taste
  6. Allow your frosting to sit on the counter with a towel or plate over it while your cake is baking/cooling. I find this allows it to set to the perfect consistency for spreading.

Feel free to play around with different methods for adding flavor to your frosting, but be cautious of how much liquid you are putting in. If necessary, replace the liquid ingredient for something else (like maybe some pureed fruit?) to ensure your frosting does not turn out too watery. Always add it in slowly, because if you make it too thin there is really nothing you can do to save it… take it from my experience.

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