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I have recently became disabled, have worked all my life, now I am bored to tears. I have decided to teach myself cake decorating. Are there any inexpensive recipes, to use for practice with the different tips, until I gain confidence to use real icing?

Bethany - from Chattanooga, TN

It's great that you are teaching yourself. Cake decorating can be very fun and rewarding! Here is a recipe for practice buttercream. It is inexpensive, and best of all, you can scrape it off of your cake boards or cake pans and use it over and over. 

Practice Buttercream (Medium Consistency)

1 cup solid vegetable shortening

4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.) 

5 tablespoons water 

In large bowl, beat shortening with electric mixer. Gradually add half of sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Add half of water and beat until well combined. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. Add remaining sugar and beat until well combined. Add remaining water and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covred with a damp cloth until ready to use. 

Makes about 3 cups. 

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The Public Television cake decorating show providing easy projects for special celebrations. Not intended to replace instructional classes.