Learn how to make the best buttercream icing with this step by step photo tutorial. This fluffy buttercream frosting is the only recipe you will need. Just try and not eat a few spoonfuls before icing your cupcakes. I dare you. This really will be the best vanilla frosting recipe you will ever find.
I’ll admit when I was a kid I seriously disliked frosting. I literally would turn my piece of cake upside down and only eat the cake part. What I didn’t realize was that it wasn’t frosting that I disliked, it was the KIND of frosting I didn’t like. That can of frosting we all know we have had, that tastes like nothing but chemicals to me, is what I disliked. However, real frosting- made with simple ingredients is completely another kind of frosting entirely. Homemade = 1000 % better everytime.
I have made my own frosting for a long time now, but it wasn’t until this frosting recipe that I truly reached frosting nirvana. Not every buttercream frosting is equal. You will never need another frosting recipe again. I promise.
This recipe has only five ingredients- butter, confectioners sugar, heavy cream (although in a pinch I’ve used milk), and pure vanilla extract. Oh a pinch of salt to balance out the sweetness. The key to this recipe is mixing the buttercream frosting in your mixer on high for a whole 8 minutes. Yup, a whole 8 minutes. It results in a perfectly light, airy, vanilla buttercream frosting from Cook’s Country. I’ve made it countless times and it never fails to get rave reviews.
Now basically this is an American buttercream.
What is American Buttercream?
American buttercream is probably that buttercream you had at that last kid’s birthday party you went too. Or that kind you grew up on. Sometimes it gets a bad rep for being too sweet. Or grainy. Ugh. But I promise you this recipe is not. American buttercream is one of the beaten butter types of buttercream. Flour and German buttercream also fall into this category. This type of buttercream is made by first beating the butter and then adding in a sweet base. In this case, powdered sugar.
Here is a breakdown of ABC:
Taste: This is the sweetest out of all the frostings. Can be a little too sweet for some people, but this is the classic type of buttercream most people are familiar with and grew up on.
Texture: Sometimes can be a bit grainy or greasy if not done properly.
Difficulty Level: The easiest to make out of all the buttercreams.
Pros: Easy to make. Kids (and most adults!) love it. Doesn’t require any special equipment to make. Easy to pipe and color.
Cons: Tends to be a bit too sweet. Doesn’t hold up well in warm conditions.
If you make this frosting for a cake or cupcakes and refrigerate before you are ready to use it you will need to put it back in your mixer again and mix it until the frosting becomes light and fluffy again. The same thing goes once you frosted your baked goods, you want to always bring them to room temperature before serving.
How To Make The Best Vanilla Buttercream Ever:
So simple, you ready? Ok here is a step by step photo tutorial of how to make this buttercream.
Step 1: Gather your ingredients.
Be sure to use unsalted softened butter. If you forgot to take your butter out ahead of time, here are 3 quick ways to soften it. And always use quality butter and pure vanilla extract.
Step 2: Sift Your Powdered Sugar
This makes for a super smooth buttercream!
Step 3: Cream your butter
You want to do this first before adding any powdered sugar. You can make this in your stand mixer (which is what I prefer) but you can use a hand mixer as shown below.
Step 4: Add your powdered sugar.
Do this a 1/2 cup at a time. Then mix until incorporated. Be sure to start your mixer on low or otherwise you will have it everywhere!
Step 5: Add in your heavy cream and vanilla extract.
You can use milk or half-and-half but I prefer the richness of heavy cream. And don’t skimp on pure vanilla extract and use imitation. Since this is not baked, you will notice!
Step 6: Mix until light and fluffy!
You want to do this for 8 minutes. Yup 8! But it’s worth it 🙂
Step 7: Frost and enjoy.
I used my perfect vanilla cupcake recipe for these. But it works great on these easy one bowl chocolate cupcakes as well. If you need some help baking the perfect cupcakes here are 15 tips to help you bake them a like a pro.
And if you need help frosting, then check out this post on how to frost the perfect cupcake (+ video!)
How To Make Ahead:
You can also store this in your fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer as well for up to 3 months. When ready to use, allow it to thaw then re-whip until it’s light and fluffy again!
Want more buttercream? Then check out my Buttercream Basics: Guide to Mastering Buttercream!
If you have any questions let me know in the comment section!
Until next time, happy baking!
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The Best Buttercream Frosting
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter 1 1/2 cups, softened to room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Combine the butter and confectioners sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix on low speed at first, then increase the speed until combined. Add in your heavy cream and vanilla extract, and mix on medium to high speed for 8 minutes until light and creamy. If not using immediately, store in a container in the refrigerator until ready to use, mix again until light and fluffy.
Recipe NotesBefore serving your cakes or cupcakes with this frosting, be sure to bring the frosting to room temperature due to the butter in the frosting.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
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