This is a very good, simple butter-icing recipe. The ratio of butter to sugar is just right, creating a smooth, velvety icing.
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1 c butter, room temperature
5 c icing sugar
⅓ c milk (this makes a good spreading consistency – you may want a little more or less for decorating purposes)
2 t pure vanilla
Beat butter until fluffy.
Gradually add in the sugar alternating with the milk: 3 of sugar, 2 of milk.
Finally, beat in vanilla (or preferred flavouring).
2 T of lemon juice can be added as well, if you want a slightly lemony tang. More sugar may be required.
Another option is ¼ c of sifted cocoa. More milk may be required.
For colouring, use paste colours, in small amounts of divided icing.