1. Dissolve the sugar (and salt, if you're using it) in the boiling water, and cool to room temperature.

  2. Use a mixer on low speed to beat in the meringue powder, until the powder is dissolved and the mixture is foamy.

  3. Increase the speed and beat until soft peaks form.

  4. Beat in the vanilla, then the confectioners' or glazing sugar.

  5. Add the soft butter or shortening a few tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Frost cake immediately; or store buttercream at room temperature, covered, for a few hours before using.

Tips from our Bakers

  • For zesty lemon or lime frosting, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup lemon juice fruit powder or lime juice fruit powder to the frosting along with the confectioners' sugar.
  • For coconut frosting, add 4 to 5 drops coconut flavor and 1/4 cup (1 ounce) coconut milk powder along with the confectioners' sugar. Or flavor to taste with almond extract; coffee flavor; 2 teaspoons espresso powder dissolved in the boiling water; butter-rum flavor, or 2 tablespoons fruit purée, added after the confectioners' sugar. Be aware that adding fruit or espresso will change the color of the frosting.