July 21, 2017

What is White fat used for?

I couldn’t create my cakes without this very useful product!

White vegetable fat (shortening), is a solid white fat that has traditionally been used in pastry making, however in cake decorating it has a number of uses:

· Rolling out: sugarpaste/rolled fondant, modelling paste, flowerpaste, and pastillage. Smear a thin layer of white fat over your work surface before rolling out – use instead of icing sugar or cornflour.

· Dry paste: Knead a little white fat into your sugarpaste, modelling paste or pastillage to help change the consistency of the paste, to make it more pliable. You may also find a little water kneaded in also helps.

· Reduces stickiness: knead into soft paste that has become too sticky.

White vegetable fat (shortening) is often known by a brand name: in the UK, Trex or White Flora; in South Africa, Holsum; in Australia, Copha; and in America, Crisco. These products are more or less interchangeable in cake making. You will find it in the chiller counter of your supermarket near the butters and margarines.

Hope this helps



  1. I am very pleased to read this as I was never sure when I could use white fat, I do tend to get cracks in my sugarpaste so hopefully I will now be able to over come this problem.

  2. shelley says:

    I also use trex to make my buttercream…half trex half marg/butter. i find it a lot lighter and not as sickly…also great used on its own with icing sugar to make ‘pure white’ buttercream…people are abit apprehensive to try it as its pure fat…but its really nice…apparently its how the Americans make ‘frosting’ !!!

  3. Hi Shelley
    Thanks for adding your comment, I’ve done this as well and it works a treat. I also used white buttercream on the unicorn cake in my Storybook Cakes book – it works and as you say its how buttercream is made in the States. I know it sounds horrible to us brits but I’m not a buttercream fan, so I actually prefer the flavour of pure white buttercream especially if I’ve added a drop or two of vanilla.
    Back cover of Storybook Cakes  by Lindy Smith showing Unicorn cake

  4. sarah oates says:

    Hi there,

    I am fairly new to the cake world, but I too make my buttercream with the vegetable white fat (TREX), and it tastes wonderful, so light and airy. Also I dont think it can be overwhipped.

    My 6 year old gorl certainly approved of the trex frosting rather than the butter frosting.

    Loving your work Lindy, you are my inspiration x

  5. ciao,sto imparando anche io, per cui seguo il tuo blog oltre avere qualcuono dei tuoi libri. dunque, qui in italia si trova questo trex? o con che cosa si può sostiutuire questo grasso bianco puro di cui parlate? I MIEI COMPLIMENTI PER IL VOSTRO LAVORO .STELLA

  6. Lars MHR says:


    I don’t think shortening/Crisco can ever change the taste of real butter. Never ever. Neither can unsalted butter even though you add salt. I know, I’ve tried. And unsalted butter tends to melt more easily when exposed to the outside world of the fridge.
    Guess I’m a bit old-fashioned, but who can blame me 😉

  7. Ciao Stella,
    Trex = grasso vegetale bianco

    Hope this helps

  8. I live in Turkey, but we dont have any of the white vegetable fat products you mentioned above (only normal butter, unsalted butter & margarine). Could I use anything else to substitute white vegetable fat?

    Thank you!

  9. Hello Leigh,

    The white vegetable fat is hard block of white fat which we use in England for making pastry.
    We are not familiar with the product name in Turkey.
    Can anyone else help?

  10. I read a sugarcraft book-But when i read white fat,I was’nt sure what it was or what you would buy. So I want to the suppermarket and a little help later, I bought trex. Read the recipe again and then googled it. Thank you all for your tips and the internet. I bought the right thing! charlottex

  11. Excellent Charlotte, hope you have fun with your creations!


  12. Thanks you for clarifying that trex could be used for buttercream frosting. I was searching for an alternative to crisco when i stumbled upon trex and cooken another vegetable fat..but alas the frosting tasted horrible as i chose to use cooken… i will be trying trex for my next frosting..and hope it turns out well

  13. Hello Lindy,

    I own a few of your books and love them, thank you. I’m still very much a beginner but learning a lot along the way! :)

    I was just wondering if Cookeen is the same as Trex here in the UK? It’s a hard vegetable fat suitable for pastry here in the UK. Website: http://www.cookeen.co.uk/

    I tend to shop at both Asda and Tesco equally and neither sell Trex but sell Cookeen. I did visit Sainsbury’s especially for the Trex. Cookeen seems different and seems to stay hard when at room temperature. So, do you think it’s the same thing or just strictly for pastry?

    Thanks in advance.

  14. Hi Lisa,
    We buy our Trex or white flora in our local supermarkets such as tesco, sainburys, morrisons and asda. Cookeen is the same and will be ok to use.
    Have fun creating!

  15. I’m thinking of trying this white frosting tomorrow on a cake but I’m scared that I’ll ruin it! Is it better than buttercream for fixing rolled fondant?

  16. Hello Hayley,
    Assuming you are using white fat in your buttercream instead of butter, this will work in exactly the same way as conventional buttercream.

  17. Hi Lindy, your cakes are just amazing! Such an inspiration. Im new to the cake world and enjoy trying out novelty cakes for family occasions. I’m currently planning on baking cupcakes for my nieces 18th birthday, thinking of a black and white theme, hence searching on tips to make white buttercream. The Wilton recipe states to add vanilla extract. Do I have to add vanilla extract to the buttercream? Please could you share the buttercream recipe you use and the measurements. If I was to make black buttercream, am I correct in thinking that I should add a few drops of black colouring? Thanks for your help in advance.

  18. lizzy AZU says:


    please has anyone used trex to bake a cake, i like using trex for my buttercream, very nice. please advise

  19. Hello Lizzy,
    We have not tried using trex to bake a cake, we prefer the texture and taste of butter.
    Has anyone else baked cakes using Trex?


  20. Hi All!

    Lizzy & Marina I am going to bake some cakes using Trex instead of butter in the next few days. I will let you know how they turn out. 500g of Trex @ Tesco online £1.28 cheaper than 500g of butter :)

    I also found the Trex Website http://www.trex.co.uk/recipes/


  21. Hi Lizzy, as above post, I made cakes and frosting with Trex only no butter at all. The cake and cupcakes were the best I have ever made… give it a go see what you think. I like it better than butter


  22. Hi Sabina
    The recipe Lindy uses is:
    110g unsalted (sweet) butter, 350g icing (confectioners) sugar, 15-30ml milk or water, a few drops of vanilla extract or alternative flavouring.
    1. Place butter in the bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
    2. Sift the icing sugar into the bowl and continue to beat until the mixture changes colour. Add just enough milk or water to give a firm but spreadable consistency.
    3. Flavour by adding the vanilla or alternative flavouring, then store in an airtight container until required.
    You do not need to add the vanilla extract or alternative flavouring. If you want white buttercream, you can replace the butter with a white vegetable fat, and if you are trying black buttercream, just add a few drops of food colouring.
    Good Luck with your cakes!

  23. Melanie Crouch says:

    Hi all,
    I’ve been using white Flora to make flower paste and find it works really well, but I’ve nearly run out and I’ve just discovered that they don’t make it any more. I’m so disappointed, as I don’t like Trex at all, I can’t stand the smell of it! Do any of you have any alternatives that will make a good gum paste with no odour or funny taste?

  24. Hi Melanie

    Unilever have stopped making white Flora, however it is still on sale in some stores until stocks are sold out, so it may be worth looking around! We have used Trex, however, Cookeen is another white vegetable fat, but we haven’t used it yet, so if you fancy giving that a go, let us know how you get on!!!!

    Good Luck

  25. Earlyer today I bought trex because I was told if I used it instead of butterr it would make a butter cream like they sell in cosctco, but when I finished it it had a funny taste, what did I do rong? The recipie I used was trex, icing sugar, a little water and some lemon flavouring. It tasted like old grease. I cat see people wanting icing this way so I definatly dd somthing rong. Please help I realy want to get this type of icing right xx thanks

  26. Hi Amy
    That is the right recipe, it may have had something to do with the lemon flavouring you used. Using trex does give a different flavour than using butter.

  27. This summer I had problems with condensation on buttercream coating a cake that was to be sugarpasted. I had crumbed and lightly coated a sponge cake which had been sandwiched with buttercream. This was placed in the fridge to firm up but when I took it out to sugarpaste it condensation started to appear. This made the sugarpaste so sticky that I couldn’t smooth it. Luckily the cake was for my daughter so I had time to start again. What can be done to prevent this in future?

  28. Hi Nicola

    It sounds like the cake got really cold in the fridge, then heated up when you have taken it out of the fridge, was it a very hot day, or was the kitchen very hot? Butter can have condensation appear on it when it has been taken out of the fridge. We would suggest using only a very thin layer of buttercream, it is only being used to act as glue, and avoid extremes of temperature, so do not chill it for so long, and place it in a cool room when removed from the fridge.

    Let us know how you get on!

  29. Hi all
    I want to know what can I use in place of white vegetable fat.

  30. Hi Ane

    It depends what you are using the white fat for, but if you are rolling out sugarpaste, you can use icing sugar instead, but it does dry the sugarpaste a little.

    Hope this helps.

    Lindy’s Team

  31. Samantha says:

    Whats best to use for sugarpaste moulds to prevent the sugarpaste from sticking?


  32. Hi Samantha

    Lindy uses modelling paste in the moulds. This is sugarpaste with gum tragacanth/CMC Sugarcel kneaded in.