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Decorator Frosting

Mom learned this recipe when she took a cake decorating class many years ago.  I always use butter in place of the shortening it originally called for.

One pound box of powdered sugar (whole box, about 3 1/2 C if sifted)
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat all ingredients together in a mixer for longer than you think you need to--about 7 minutes in the 1960s stand mixer we grew up with, about 4 minutes in my present kitchenaid, or 12-15 minutes by hand.  It must be absolutely smooth and lump free to go through the tips, and a good bit of air beaten into it will help keep the finished shapes from being breaking teeth when eaten.

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