I don't do a lot of cake or cupcake decorating, but when I do, I like to use my own icing. The flavor, in my own opinion, is so much better than the ones made with shortening (I cannot stand the taste of shortening!) It pipes nicely, and blends colors beautifully.
I started with a recipe given to me by a cake decorator friend, and tweaked it until it could satisfy two main criteria: Can stand up to the demands of decorative icing (stiff enough,won't ooze all over,or bleed color) and the demands of my taste buds!
1cup butter softened
2 tsp vanilla
2½ cups of powdered sugar
4 tablespoons of milk (as needed)
1. In a large bowl, cream
together the butter and vanilla.
2. Blend in the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Beat in the milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered until ready to decorate.
This is great for making sugar flowers!