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Basic Frosting

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  • 1 (1 pound) box confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 to 1/4 cup Crisco
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 scant teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, or flavor desired


  1. Mix all ingredients together and beat at medium speed with mixer for 7 to 8 minutes, or until smooth and lump-free. Stop, then beat again. If too thick, add drops of water while beating until of desired consistency.
  2. Tint icing the color or colors desired using a paste cake coloring such as Wilton. Regular food coloring tends to run.

Icing or icing leftovers will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator. To use later, beat again to make smooth. A little water may need to be added. Icing may be spread directly on cake or piped through decorative tips.