Okay here's the Wilton recipe for "buttercream" frosting. There is no butter involved...instead its shortening -- aka lard. Wilton would have you frost your entire cake with it. Which is fine if you're not planning on eating it. However, most people like to eat the cakes they make-and I would never eat a cake frosted with this frosting. I think the lard makes it disgusting. Bleech.
I always frost the entire cake in real buttercream (see previous post for recipe).
I use this recipe only for decorations. Roses, borders, writing, etc., not only because its easier to work with but also because Crisco is cheaper and easier than using butter and it lasts longer, a plus if you like to make your roses ahead of time:
1 Cup solid white vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring
2 Tablespoons of water (more if need/wanted--this is thick consistency recipe)
4 Cups of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon of meringue powder-its not a big deal to skip, but I guess it helps stabilize the frosting. I haven't noticed much difference using. Plus meringue powder isn't that cheap.
Cream shortening, flavoring and water. Add rest of ingredients and mix until creamy.
Tip: Mixing with a hand mixer may seem quicker, but it causes air bubbles which you do not want. Air bubbles cause major problems. Just hand mix if you are just doing one batch. It will save you the time of going through and smoothing the air bubbles out with a spatula and saving the annoyance of whatever problems may come from the air bubbles (trust me, you'll have problems!). So in the end hand mixing is actually faster (who would have thought!).