I was reading this recipe for cake icing and was wondering what would happen if I substituted sunflower oil or coconut oil (which is thicker and may better model the texture of the shortening) for vegetable shortening. I don't eat vegetable shortening/margarine/crisco and am looking for a way to adapt this recipe.

4 lb powdered sugar
1 TB cream of tartar
1 1/4 c. of white shortening (crisco ... the sticks are easy to measure)
a pinch of salt
1 TB extract of your choice
3/4 to 1c. of water (maybe more depending on humidity)

Put all ingredients except the water into a mixer. Add 3/4 c. water, and slowly add more to make the consistancy of your choice. Mix on low speed 'til mixed, then on #6 or 8 for 6 to 7 minutes. Consistency should be "creamy" -- like cream cheese when soft. Stiff icing should be creamy also.

  • 1
    I've been meaning to try my buttercream with coconut oil, if I give it a shot I'll report back
    – wax eagle
    Jun 4, 2014 at 18:02

1 Answer 1


I don't know for sure, as I've never tried, but I doubt it would whip up into the right texture. Shortening is already a solid, so you're just introducing air. Sunflower oil is a liquid, so you'd want to solidify it somehow to make frosting.

  • I was just going to edit the question to include coconut oil as another possible substitute - good thinking.
    – tM --
    Jun 4, 2014 at 17:37
  • I think coconut oil would be fine.
    – Jolenealaska
    Jun 4, 2014 at 18:11
  • I'd agree, coconut oil should work. You might want to avoid virgin coconut oil, though. Its melting point is only about 80F, so it could wind up liquid if you're working in a hot kitchen, or if you'll be serving the cake in warm weather.
    – logophobe
    Jun 4, 2014 at 20:44

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