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Decorating Icing

1 1/2 c shortening
2 lbs confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon vanilla (cake decorators use clear to make the icing really white)
1 teaspoon van-o-van (found at a cake decorator's store)
1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring

about 1/2 cup water
about 1 teaspoon salt

Cream the shortening and flavorings together. Then add the sugar,
a little at a time, until the mixture begins to look like coarse
crumbs. Then add salt water a little at a time until the mixture
begins to get smooth and becomes the consistency of icing.

Cake decorators generally like their icing on the stiff side, but
it is a matter of personal taste. Add the salt water until it is
the consistency you want.

After you ice the cake, and it sits for a couple of hours, it should
have that "micro-thin" crust your looking for.

As a personal side note, I usually add more liquid vanilla flavoring
and butter flavoring to my icing, because I want the taste, not
the terrible sweetness of some icings. Almond extract can also be
used in place of the vanilla, if you want to try something a little
different. If you do use almond, I'd use less than the vanilla,
because it tends to be a stronger flavoring.

Note: Van-o-van is a powdered vanilla flavoring that is used (as
far as I know) only by cake decorators. Every cake decorating
store that I have been in has it in stock. I'm not really sure of
the significance of it on the whole, perhaps Wilton could answer
that. I do know that if you add more than what the recipe calls
for, it makes your icing bitter. I have run out of it before and
can certainly tell the difference.

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