1/2 Cup of Softened Butter (salted or unsalted, depending on your preference)
1/2 Cup of Shortening (preferably vegetable shortening)
1 Teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons of Whole or 2% Milk
1 Pound of Confectioner's Sugar, Sifted
Optional: Several Drops of Food Coloring (to tint your frosting, if desired)
A Mixing Bowl
A Whisk or Electric Mixer
Cream the shortening and butter, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally as you mix.
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Slowly mix in the confectioner's sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl periodically as you add in the sugar.
Add the milk to the mixture to add moisture, and continue mixing until the frosting is fluffy.
If desired, you can add a few drops of food coloring to tint the frosting. If you plan to ice the cake with several different colors, separate the frosting into several containers before adding in the food coloring. Use the following guide to make different colors using basic red, blue, yellow, and green liquid food coloring:
Bluish Purple = 1 Drop of Red + 4 Drops of Blue
Bright Green = 1 Drop of Green + 6 Drops of Yellow
Bright Orange = 1 Drop of Red + 6 Drops of Yellow
Forest Green = 3 Drops of Green + 7 Drops of Yellow
Fuchsia = 1 Drop of Blue + 9 Drops of Red
Golden Yellow = 1 Drop of Red + 23 Drops of Yellow
Mint Green = 1 Drop of Blue + 3 Drops of Yellow + 6 Drops of Green
Pinkish Red = 1 Drop of Blue + 12 Drops of Red
Purple = 1 Drop of Red + 3 Drops of Blue
Red Raspberry = 1 Drop of Blue + 2 Drops of Red
Reddish Orange = 1 Drop of Red + 12 Drops of Yellow
Before you ice your cake, place strips of wax paper between the cake and its serving platter. This will keep the platter clean while you ice and decorate the cake.
Tip: If you're using store-bought frosting, whip it for a few minutes to loosen it up and make it easier to spread over the cake. You can also dip your spreading spatula in warm water before smoothing out the frosting.