How To Make German Buttercream
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5 from 10 votes

German Buttercream

This buttercream is made with a custard to sweeten it! It's less sweet than traditional American Buttercream but not as difficult as Swiss Meringue!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: cupcakes
Keyword: buttercream, cupcakes
Servings: 3 cups
Author: Heather Perine

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar divided
  • 3 large egg yolks at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks 8 ounces unsalted
  • butter softened

Instructions

  •  Combine the milk and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Set aside.
  • In a separate medium mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk vigorously, until the mixture is combined and little bit foamy. Set the mixture to the side for the moment.
  • With the saucepan from step 1, heat the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching and for the sugar to dissolve. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then remove from heat.
  • Pour about 1/3 of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking the egg mixture as you pour the hot milk (this keeps the eggs from "setting" and forming lumps). Whisk vigorously to combine. Slowly add the remaining milk mixture, whisking all the while. The mixture will be quite liquidy.
  • Pour the mixture back into the same saucepan; no need to wash. Place the saucepan back over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard mixture becomes thick. At the first sign of bubbling, remove the mixture from heat.
  • Transfer the custard to a bowl and immediately cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a “skin” from forming. 
  • Place the custard in the refrigerator; let it cool completely, until it feels cold to the touch. This can take up to 2 hours. Don’t rush this step — it is key in attaining a smooth texture in your buttercream.
  • Once your custard mixture has chilled completely, it’s time to finish your buttercream. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes on high speed.
  • Add the custard mixture to the creamed butter and continue mixing on high speed until the frosting is smooth and creamy, anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes. 

Notes

  • This icing has the best consistency right after it's made. But if you make it ahead, store in the refrigerator. Then let it sit at room temperature to warm slightly, then re-whip before spreading as usual. 
  • This buttercream is sensitive to heat. It is not recommended to use this frosting if you plan to serve it outside at outdoor summer events.
  • Plan on refrigerating a cake or cupcakes in German buttercream until ready to serve!