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I've been making cupcakes for a while now and I use butter icing. They come out pretty and taste nice, but they melt so quickly. Sometimes it's impossible to pipe, because the icing goes so sloppy. When I go to parties and see other cupcakes, they stay on the table all day and the icing doesn't melt.

Are they using something different? If so, does anyone know what?

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Are you sure they are using purely butter in the other cupcakes, and not a mix with shortening or other stiffer fat? –  mfg Mar 6 '12 at 1:07
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For the sake of the question, I think posting the exact recipe of your icing would be helpful. –  Jay Mar 6 '12 at 14:02
    
Just how hot is it where you are? –  uncle brad Mar 6 '12 at 15:39
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You have allowed you cupcakes to completely cook before frosting, correct? –  derobert Mar 6 '12 at 18:17
    
@derobert: Naturally, you meant to say 'cool' instead of 'cook' there. Sorry for the typo... –  derobert Mar 6 '12 at 23:26

2 Answers 2

Many frostings incorporate more than butter as the fat in the icing. I recently made ones using shortening, coconut butter, and coconut milk solids. These three are all fats that have higher melting points and are more reliable at higher temperatures in comparison to butter.

If you wish to retain as much of the butter mouthfeel as possible, you might consider switching to a buttercream mixture that splices in shortening or even margarine as both are more workable at room temperature. You might also try some of the other variations on buttercream.

Best practices for icing or frosting in any case are all over the web;


  • As alluded to in the comments, don't put meltable frosting/icing on a hot cake.
  • If you are going to keep the frosting in the heat and sunlight, you are definitely going to want to add some shortening or coconut butter in there; that's why it's called Decorator's icing, they put shortening in it so it can hang out at summer weddings.
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Once I had such a problem so I thought of adding some All purpose flour to it. It somewhat stiffens.

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That seems like it would impart an unwanted taste. –  Preston Fitzgerald Mar 15 '13 at 13:47
    
@Preston : many have starch in them, because they use powdered sugar, which contains some cornstarch. I'd personally use Wondra over AP flour, or cornstarch, but the starch will help to stiffen it and protect slightly against slumping from heat. –  Joe Mar 18 '13 at 12:52

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