Back in my day (ugh, when did I get old?) special occasion cakes - birthday, class parties, etc - came from the bakery section of our local grocery store 95% of the time. If you're familiar with a good ol' basic grocery store cake, then you've probably noticed that grocery store frosting has a very distinct flavor.
Why does grocery store frosting have such a unique flavor? Primarily, the taste you remember from your childhood is caused by using most or all shortening (instead of butter) in the recipe. Also, since most supermarket icings begin as bright white, they only use imitation flavorings which won't add any unwanted tints to the frosting. These artificial flavors have a different essence than their natural counterparts. Finally, many grocery store cakes are decorated with brightly-colored piped designs using lots of food coloring which can add a tang or slight bitterness to the flavor.
Some would argue that this kind of frosting is inferior to the more pure types of buttercream using real butter and pure vanillas/other flavorings. Even if that's true, there's still something so nostalgic about the flavor of a grocery store buttercream.
I tweaked a couple of recipes together to come up with a frosting that does use partial butter but still maintains that special supermarket flavor from our childhood birthday parties. If you're after that kind of specific taste, I think you'll be very happy with this recipe! Enjoy!Print
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