There’s nothing worse than the sickeningly sweet and artificial-tasting frosting that comes prepacked or that’s loaded onto grocery store birthday cakes.
I seriously despise that stuff and would rather eat nothing (which is saying something for this sweet toothed girl). That’s why making buttercream from scratch is the only way to go. It may seem complicated but it’s actually ridiculously easy and this post is all you’ll need to not just learn how make the best buttercream, but how to make it ahead of time and how to customize it with over a dozen flavor options.
Check out the step-by-step video below so you can actually see what every step looks like, which if you’re a visual learner like myself you’ll find super helpful. The flavor ideas and full printable recipe are just below, plus some more links to other posts you’ll love.
You may need to adjust the powdered sugar ratio depending on your flavor preferences and adjust the cream ratio depending on your texture preferences.
Add 1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
Add 1/3 cup seedless strawberry preserves and a few drops of red food coloring
Add 1/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves and a few drops of red food coloring
Add 1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder and 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Use 3/4 light brown sugar in place of all powdered sugar, add 1 1/4 cups flour, and garnish with mini chocolate chips
Add 1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 cup malted milk powder, and use 1/4 cup milk, plus more if needed
Add 1 cup creamy peanut butter and reduce the powdered sugar to 2 1/2 cups
Irish Cream Buttercream
Use Bailey’s Irish Cream instead of cream
Add in 1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/2 cup Kahlua in place of the cream
Add 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract and a few drops of green food coloring
Add in 2/3 cup Nutella and reduce powdered sugar to 2 cups
Lemon (or any other citrus)
Add in 2 tablespoons lemon zest and 3 tablespoons lemon juice and increase powdered sugar to 3 1/2 cups
Add in 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
Add 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Add in 1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, remove cream
Add in 1/3 cup caramel topping and increase salt to 1 teaspoon, remove cream
Photos by Constance Higley.
How to make the Best Buttercream
This makes enough buttercream to frost about 12 to 15 cupcakes. Double this recipe to frost a 8 or 9-inch two layer cake.
3 cups (375 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
8 ounces (227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the salt, vanilla, and cream and beat on medium for 1 minute, adding more cream if needed.
Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let come to room temperature and re-whip in the stand mixer until light and fluffy again. Add a tablespoon or 2 of powdered sugar if it needs to thicken.
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