How to Make Pure White Icing

If you’ve ever wanted to make white icing for cake, you may have found yourself a little frustrated that your regular recipe didn’t quite cut it.

But the good news is, there really isn’t any big secret to pure white icing.

All you have to do is use vegetable shortening, instead of butter and clear artificial vanilla extra, instead of the real stuff (sorry). It is possible to use cream cheese, but in my experience, it produces an icing that is just as sickly sweet as this one and is far more expensive to make.

Of course, it comes down to preference. If you’d like, you can substitute half of the shortening in this recipe for cream cheese.

This is enough to ice 1 – 8″ cake.


  • 4 cups vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoons of clear artificial vanilla extract
  •  7-8 teaspoons of water
  • 3 1/2 cups icing sugar (up to 4 cups for thicker icing for decorations)

How to Make It

With a mixer, blend the shortening, sugar and vanilla extract until creamy.

Creaming Shortening

Creaming the Shortening, Water and Vanilla

Then add the icing sugar, a little bit a time, and blend until very creamy and smooth.

Adding Icing Sugar

Adding the icing sugar, bit by bit and blending.

To get your icing to the right consistency, add some water. Add about 2 teaspoons of water for medium consistency and another 2 teaspoons for thin. Thin is suitable for icing the cake itself and medium can be used to piping decorations on your masterpiece.

Pure White Icing

Icing ready for use or storage

Your icing doesn’t need refrigerating as it contains no dairy. That’s another plus if your cake will need to be out of the fridge for a while.

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