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Easy, Perfect Buttercream Frosting Recipe With Photo Guide

Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over 20 years. She has cooked on multiple television stations, including the Food Network.

Sweet, silky, and oh-so-delicious, buttercream frosting is a snap to make at home!

Sweet, silky, and oh-so-delicious, buttercream frosting is a snap to make at home!

Super-Easy, No-Fail Buttercream Frosting

Buttercream frosting is one of the best tools you can have in your arsenal. Absolutely delicious when homemade, it can be used on any number of cakes or cupcakes exactly as it is.

You can also vary the recipe in almost endless ways, changing the extracts, the liquid used, or adding any number of additions. Instead of cream, use orange juice and orange zest, or replace part of the cream with a tablespoon of bourbon or apple juice. Add cocoa and a little more cream to make a rich, fudgy version. You really can tailor buttercream frosting into the perfect match for any dessert.

However, you'll never go wrong with using this simple buttercream frosting recipe exactly the way it is. Once you know how to make it, you'll never want the stuff from the store again. Using real, fresh ingredients makes all the difference in the world—and you'll realize that since it takes almost no time at all, it's easier to make from scratch than it is to go to the store!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional flavorings:

One of the glorious things about this frosting is that you can flavor it in almost endless variety. Try any of the following as a substitute for the vanilla extract above:

  • almond extract
  • peppermint extract
  • lemon extract
  • bourbon (nice on caramel cookies)
  • Chambord (for a raspberry flavor)

Seriously—you can do anything with this stuff!

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed. Beat until light and fluffy—the mixture will almost resemble coarse sand.
  2. In a second small bowl, mix together the heavy cream and vanilla. Slowly drizzle in the cream mixture, a tablespoon at a time, beating and scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the frosting is at the correct spreading consistency.
  3. Use however you'd like—we love it on chocolate cakes especially, but it's also perfect on simple white cake as well.

Note: Watch the consistency of the frosting as you add the last tablespoon or so of the cream. If your frosting is too loose, don't add the last little bit. If the frosting is too stiff, add a teaspoon or so extra cream. This often can happen as the temperature fluctuates, so use the cream to make the frosting the exact, spreadable, consistency you want.

Step-by-Step Photo Guide

Start with a cup (2 sticks) of real butter, at room temperature. Room temperature butter will whip more easily and become fluffier. It's also easier to incorporate the powdered sugar without lumps. Real butter (not margarine) is a must.

Start with a cup (2 sticks) of real butter, at room temperature. Room temperature butter will whip more easily and become fluffier. It's also easier to incorporate the powdered sugar without lumps. Real butter (not margarine) is a must.

Beat together the butter and powdered sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. It will almost resemble coarse sand, and you shouldn't see any obvious lumps of butter. Beating well at this stage helps ensure the finished frosting is super smooth.

Beat together the butter and powdered sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. It will almost resemble coarse sand, and you shouldn't see any obvious lumps of butter. Beating well at this stage helps ensure the finished frosting is super smooth.

Mixing the vanilla into the heavy cream and adding them together helps ensure a very even distribution of the vanilla extract. Use real vanilla here; the flavor is central, so it's important.

Mixing the vanilla into the heavy cream and adding them together helps ensure a very even distribution of the vanilla extract. Use real vanilla here; the flavor is central, so it's important.

Adding the cream a little at at time allows you to control the consistency of the finished frosting. I've found 4 tablespoons is almost always perfect, but if you want a stiffer frosting, use less. If your frosting is too stiff, add just a touch more

Adding the cream a little at at time allows you to control the consistency of the finished frosting. I've found 4 tablespoons is almost always perfect, but if you want a stiffer frosting, use less. If your frosting is too stiff, add just a touch more

Beat, beat, beat... after adding the cream, you're almost done. Scraping down the sides of the bowl, beat the frosting until it reaches the desired consistency.

Beat, beat, beat... after adding the cream, you're almost done. Scraping down the sides of the bowl, beat the frosting until it reaches the desired consistency.

Homemade buttercream frosting ready to use. This stuff is fabulous! Perfect for almost any cake or cupcake, knowing how to make buttercream frosting will give you super powers in the kitchen!

Homemade buttercream frosting ready to use. This stuff is fabulous! Perfect for almost any cake or cupcake, knowing how to make buttercream frosting will give you super powers in the kitchen!

© 2017 Jan Charles