Here are some icing recipes that I use most frequently on cupcake and cakes…
Easy Buttercream Icing
In a mixing bowl combine 1 pound powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 5 tablespoon softened butter. Beat until smooth (remember to scrape bowl).
My Favorite Decorator Icing
1 cup butter* (1/2 cup butter & 1/2 cup shortening works well in heat)
1 pound powdered sugar (4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons meringue powder (optional, but helps give a light crust)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (lemon, orange, etc.)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2-3 ounces heavy cream
In a large mixer bowl with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, meringue powder and 1/2 of the cream. Add salt, flavorings and enough cream to make the consistency you desire. Beat at medium speed until icing is fluffy.
*You may substitute vegetable shortening (Crisco) for part or all of the butter, but it will result in a different texture and taste. This will give you a more decorator friendly icing.
Follow the Favorite Decorator Icing recipe with the addition of 1/4 cup cocoa powder for a light chocolate flavor or 1/2 cup cocoa powder for a darker chocolate flavor. It may be necessary to add a little more cream for a desirable consistency.
Cream Cheese Icing
In a mixing bowl, combine 8 ounces (1 block) cream cheese*, 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract. Beat until creamy. Add one pound (about 4 1/2 cups) powdered sugar and beat well. Add more powdered sugar if necessary.
* I sometimes substitute neufchâtel (light or low fat) cream cheese.