BUTTERCREAM FROSTING is quick and easy to make at home. This buttercream frosting recipe makes great cupcake frosting or cake frosting. Tried and true, this easy buttercream frosting is a great recipe to add to your collection.
It’s hard to top a rich and creamy buttercream frosting. My love of cakes and cupcakes is really a love of frosting. Don’t get me wrong, cake and cupcakes are great, but they are a carrier for the star of the show. The frosting.
This has been my go to frosting recipe for years. The recipe makes a frosting that tastes delicious and can easily be piped or spread onto cakes and cupcakes. You can color this frosting or even flavor this frosting. It’s one of those work horse recipes that you can depend on, and will use often.
Best Buttercream Frosting
I love this frosting so much that used it in a variety of recipes in my recent cookbook, The My Little Pony Baking Book. It really is the best buttercream frosting recipe that I’ve tried. It’s the perfect addition to so many recipes.
What Is Buttercream Frosting
Buttercream frosting is a term that can have a lot of variation. There are a variety of different ways to make buttercream. This recipe, which is considered an American Buttercream, is really the easiest of all of the bunch.
- American Buttercream – This is the common frosting recipe that many of us grew up watching our mothers and grandmothers make. It’s made by combining butter and/or shortening with powdered sugar, vanilla extract and a splash of milk or cream. Quick and easy to make, it’s a go to frosting recipe for most home bakers. It’s what I think of as birthday cake frosting.
- Italian Buttercream – This is the most difficult of the buttercream options. More specifically known as Italian Meringue Buttercream, it involves hot boiling sugar syrup, egg whites and cooking to a specific temperature. It’s less sweet than American Buttercream, and more stable at higher temperatures.
- Swiss Buttercream – For this buttercream, egg whites and sugar are gently heated, then whipped until fluffy before butter is added. It’s lighter and smoother than American Buttercream.
What Ingredients Are In Buttercream Frosting?
One of the great things about this recipe is that it uses simple and common ingredients.
- Butter or Shortening
- Powdered Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Whipping Cream, Half and Half or Milk
- Salt (optional)
BUTTER: My personal preference is to use UNSALTED BUTTER in this recipe, and add in my own salt to taste.
SHORTENING: When I need a frosting that will develop a bit of a crust, becoming firmer to the touch, I will use half SHORTENING and half butter. If I will be traveling with my cake or cupcakes, or have them in the heat, I usually rely on this CRUSTING BUTTERCREAM. If I really want it to hold it’s shape and firm up, on occasion I will omit the butter and just use shortening. This gives you that sweet frosting you often find on grocery store bakery cakes.
VANILLA: Whenever possible, use a pure VANILLA extract. The flavor simply cannot be beat. However if you want a pure white frosting, a clear imitation vanilla extract will help give you that look.
LIQUID: To get frosting to the desired consistency, I prefer to use HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM. However if this is not available, I have no problem using half and half or just milk. Remember, always start with a few drops and increase as needed. It’s much easier to thin out your frosting than it is to thicken it back up.
SALT: I always prefer to balance my sweets with a bit of SALT. Everyone’s tastebuds are different, so I suggest you salt to taste. Or, if it’s not your taste, skip it all together.
How To Make Buttercream Frosting
This frosting can be whipped up in no time. If I’m making a cake or cupcakes, I typically will make it while they are cooling.
First, the butter is creamed until light and fluffy. This takes approximately 3-5 minutes. It’s pretty obvious when you’ve gotten it where you need it. The texture changes and it becomes a pale yellow color.
Next, the powdered sugar is added. Adding the powdered sugar a cup at a time and mixing well after each addition is ideal.
Finally, vanilla and salt are added. If a thinner consistency is desired, then cream, half and half or milk can be added. Adding just one teaspoon of liquid at a time, then mixing, prevents the frosting from becoming to runny.
Then it’s time to pipe or spread onto your cake or cupcakes.
Recipes To Use With This Frosting
One of the best things about this recipe is that it works with so many other recipes. I love it on cakes, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls even cookies! Here are some great recipes you can use with this frosting.
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BUTTERCREAM FROSTING RECIPE
- 1 cup butter softened
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar sifted to remove any lumps
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Pinch salt optional
- 2-3 tbsp heavy whipping cream half and half or milk can also be used
- food coloring if desired
- With an electric mixer, cream butter together until light and fluffy, approximately 3-5 minutes. Butter should become a very pale yellow color.
- Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. After each cup, mix well until powdered sugar is fully incorporated. Continue until you have added four cups of powdered sugar.
- Add vanilla, salt and 1 tbsp of heavy cream, and mix until well combined. If a firmer frosting is desired, add more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time). Add more heavy cream (a tsp at a time) if a thinner frosting is preferred.
- Pipe or spread onto cakes, cupcakes, cookies or brownies