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vanilla buttercream recipe

This is the best buttercream around if I-do-say-so-myself.  Sweet, rich, light and fluffy.  It is my go to frosting recipe.  I use it for cakes, cupcakes, decorating, whenever I need a frosting, this is the recipe that I use.  It is a basic recipe that can be tweaked and flavored in a thousand different ways.  You can replace some of the butter with cream cheese to make it a cream cheese frosting.  You can add lemon zest and a little lemon juice to make a nice lemon frosting.  You can also add about 1/2 cup of cocoa to make this a chocolate buttercream.  See, infinite possibilities.

When I am making this for a cake, or a lot of cupcakes, I double the recipe.  I would rather have extra frosting than have to make another batch in the middle of icing a cake.  I have done it more times than I would like to admit.

vanilla buttercream recipe2 sticks room temperature butter
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream

vanilla buttercream recipeCream the butter until it is really light and fluffy.  At least 3 minutes.

vanilla buttercream recipeGradually add the sugar.  I add about 1/2 cup at a time.  If you add too much you will be wearing it.  So will your counters.  And your ceiling.

vanilla buttercream recipeIt will be pretty thick.

vanilla buttercream recipeAdd the vanilla or whatever flavoring you are using.

vanilla buttercream recipeThis is what I think sets this buttercream apart.  The cream.  Add 2 Tablespoons of cream and beat the frosting for a few minutes. If the frosting it too thick, add a little more cream until you get the consistency that you like.

vanilla buttercream recipeIf I have a big cake making day, I will make this a day ahead of time and keep it covered in the fridge.  I hope that you like this buttercream as much as I do.

Vanilla Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks room temperature butter
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter until it is really light and fluffy. At least 3 minutes.
  2. Gradually add the sugar. I add about 1/2 cup at a time. If you add too much you will be wearing it. So will your counters. And your ceiling.
  3. It will be pretty thick.
  4. Add the vanilla or whatever flavoring you are using.
  5. Add 2 Tablespoons of cream and beat the frosting for a few minutes. If the frosting it too thick, add a little more cream until you get the consistency that you like.
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96 Responses to Vanilla Buttercream

  1. Oooh this looks like a perfect recipe! Great for so many things…! And we definitely double frosting recipes a lot…for frosting things…and you know, quality control…
    The Blue-Eyed Bakers recently posted..Fleur de Sel Caramels

  2. Cooking Mom says:

    This frosting looks perfect. I do have a question though, the butter. You say two sticks, but the butter you are using looks smaller then the sticks available at my supermarket. Would that be 1 cup of butter or 1/2 cup? Im still looking for a flavorful frosting and this one looks light and fluffy and I like the addition of the cream. thanks.

  3. Shannon says:

    Hi Bree!

    I just wanted to take a minute to let you know how much I enjoy your blog – I visit on a regular basis. :)

    Those cupcakes look so beautiful. Nicely done!
    Shannon recently posted..Breakfast In Hand

  4. absolutely stunning and looks incredibly delicious!
    Emily @ The Happy Home recently posted..Pumpkins!

  5. Michelle says:

    Yeah, I’m a frosting-doubler myself. Even if there’s only the slightest doubt I may not have enough.

    Hey, if I add the 1/2 cup of cocoa you mentioned, would I then need to add some extra cream? Or extra butter?

  6. Beth says:

    Hey! I was just looking through your site and im so inspired! I was wondering, have you ever posted a list of essential pantry items to keep in stock in the kitchen? As I was searching through your site, I thought it would be great if there were a list of the cooking basics so that I can print and take it with me to the grocery store or just to see what I should always have around for any quick meals or last minute (guests coming over unexpectedly!) baking :)

  7. Trisha says:

    looks great…how much cream cheese would you add if doing a cream cheese frosting and how much butter?

    • bakedbree says:

      I would probably do I stick of butter and 1 stick of cream cheese. You could replace all of the butter with cream cheese too. It is your preference.

  8. Marie says:

    This recipe looks amazing! BTW, with all the hustle and bustle going on at the blog conference today and having to leave early, I didn’t get a chance to come say hello and that I think your blog is awesome and your kids are simply adorable! :) Marie
    Marie recently posted..Yogurt Parfait Shots

    • bakedbree says:

      Thank you Marie. Yes, those events are hard to get to everyone, but I love them for this exact reason. Comments from other food bloggers. I now have even more blogs to read. :)

  9. Mia says:

    This is EXACTLY what I was looking for today to frost our “SPOOKY” cupcakes. If you don’t mind, I’d love to know how you got that beautiful swirl of color in the frosting on the 1st photo of the post. It looks like cupcake cones? They are just gorgeous!!

    • bakedbree says:

      It is easy really. I scattered a few drops of food coloring in my frosting and then gently folded it in. You want to mix it as little as possible. Then I put it in the piping bag and it makes it own swirls. They are cupcake cones and they will featured soon!

  10. Juliana says:

    i just made this icing and it is amazing! i have been searching for “the right one” and this one is it! thanks for sharing!

  11. Jen says:

    Made the cupcake cones with this frosting and oh my goodness I’m embarrassed to admit how much frosting I’ve eaten today. YUMMY!!! Thank you Bree!

  12. Rose White says:

    This one is perfect for some chocolate cupcakes or some pumpkin cupcakes. But my kids love it most with chocolate chips cookies. Vanilla and chocolate combination is truly the best for them. Thanks for this yummy recipe of yours. I will have to make this later and fridge it so that by weekend my kids will be surprised for their baking bonding.

  13. SarahJane says:

    Hi!
    I just stumbled across your blog while on a friend’s blog and I love this! I can’t wait to try this frosting on my next batch of cupcakes! I have a question though, do you need to keep this one in the fridge because of the cream or can the frosted cupcakes be left out on the counter?

  14. Melanie Big says:

    Those are truly awesome. I should try this one and add some to my cupcakes. It is more perfect if I add some chocolate syrup to make it sweeter. Yummy! I can’t wait! Thanks for sharing.

  15. [...] rich, chocolaty and classic.   The chocolate cake is an Ina Garden recipe and the frosting is my buttercream made into chocolate [...]

  16. Megan says:

    Oh, this looks amazing! I have a recipe that calls for shirtening and it is kind of gross. I’m definitely going to use yours. Thanks!

    • bakedbree says:

      I am really grossed out by the idea of shortening frostings, but I have to admit that I love the way that they taste.

  17. [...] some cute little girls, buttercream icing, and [...]

  18. Sue says:

    Great frosting! Made it today for cupcakes for my daughters preschool, thanks!

  19. [...] Vanilla Buttercream icing [...]

  20. Alesha says:

    OMG! I just made this to go on the Caramel Sea Salt cupcakes I made. First off SUPER easy, I don’t think I’ll ever buy canned frosting again. Second, SUPER delicious. Best frosting ever. Hands down. Thanks for the recipe!

  21. Lucille says:

    Amazing idea! I might be adding more sugar for my own tastes ;)!

  22. Marjorie says:

    Hi :)
    I’m French and I have never made a frosting with cream cheese. My question is probably ridiculous but I’m ready to risk being laughed at for a delicious cupcake. ;) Could you tell me if I should beat the cream cheese as you cream the butter in the first step please? Is it also supposed to be light and fluffy?
    Thank you. :)

    • bakedbree says:

      No question is stupid! Yes, you cream the cream cheese with the butter. It is supposed to be light and fluffy, but when you add the powdered sugar, it will stiffen a little.

  23. Marjorie says:

    Thank you very much for the quick answer. If I only make it a cream cheese frosting, no butter at all, I guess it’s the same then? I love your blog. Thanks for it too :)

    • bakedbree says:

      No, you need to add some butter too. I have never tried it with straight cream cheese. Thanks Marjorie!

  24. Courtney says:

    After reading 1. how easy this looks and 2. the positive comments, I think I’m going to use this frosting recipe for my son’s first birthday cake, but I’m debating how much I’ll need. We are going to make five 13×9 cakes and plan to stack two on top of two, to make a 26x9x4 rectangle, and the fifth cake will be carved into three shapes (square, circle, and triangle), stacked on top of one another on top of the main base cake. I hope that all makes sense! ANY idea at all how much frosting we’ll need? Would doubling this be enough?
    Courtney recently posted..Afternoon Outing

  25. This is just what I was looking for! I need enough for 4 dozen cupcakes (spreading not piping on top)…is a double batch enough??
    natalie (the sweets life) recently posted..Spiced Pear Bundt Cake

    • bakedbree says:

      I think that you might just make it. If you are spreading you should be fine, but not if you are piping, you will need more.

  26. Kristin says:

    I love that you use a high butter-to-sugar ratio. I want to taste the butter in a buttercream. My wedding cake had so much butter in the frosting you could have spread it on your toast. I will definitely make the vanilla and chocolate frostings, plus the chocolate roll recipe, plus the peanut butter cake!!

  27. Kimberly says:

    So what are your thought on adding Peanut butter to this to get a PB Buttercream frosting?

  28. Heather says:

    I used this recipe tonight to make peppermint frosting with candy cane pieces and also a salted caramel frosting. This frosting is to-die-for. It really feels like it melts in your mouth. Thank you for this!!!
    Heather recently posted..Buttercrunch Toffee – As Good As My Imagination

  29. [...] some cute little girls, buttercream icing, and [...]

  30. Cheryle Householder says:

    I made this frosting today for my husbands red velvet Birthday cake and it is so delicious! He absolutely loved it. It tastes like homemade vanilla ice cream. Very light and fluffy. I added a little extra vanilla and it is so yum! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe :)

  31. [...] rich, chocolaty and classic.   The chocolate cake is an Ina Garden recipe and the frosting is my buttercream made into chocolate [...]

  32. Megan says:

    if you make ahead do you take out of fridge and re-whip? Leave it for room temp until pliable then pipe?

  33. Meg says:

    This frosting looks amazing! I have one question, if I am using this to frost cupcakes, around how many cupcakes would one batch of this frosting frost?

  34. Donna says:

    Hi, this will be my first time trying this recipe out. I’ve been searching for the perfect recipe and from reading these reviews, it must be great. I was wondering if it would have the same texture if I use an hand electric mixer? Will it be the same but just take longer?
    Donna recently posted..Creme Anglaise

  35. Vivian says:

    What would happen if I used salted butter instead?

  36. afton says:

    about how much does this recipe yield? I’m making my own wedding cake, which will be a 3-tier cake. All i really have planned out at this point is that the bottom layer is probably going to be an 18″ round (feeding 150 people…YIKES)

  37. Allison says:

    Any idea how long this will last in the fridge?

  38. Crystal says:

    I plan to make an open book cake and this looks like the perfect frosting. About how much frosting would I need to cover 2 13x9inch cakes?

  39. Emily says:

    I want to make a strawberrie frosting?

  40. Marcela says:

    Hi : ) do tou use confectionary sugar 10x? For this recipe
    Thanks : )

  41. Sara says:

    Tested and approved! WONDERFUL :)

  42. [...] Jalapeno Dip from Plain Chicken Homemade Taco Seasoning (much less sodium) from AllRecipes.com Vanilla Buttercream Icing from Baked [...]

  43. Guzi says:

    Hi, I haven’t tried your recipe yet, but I was wondering whether this buttercream recipe could be used before covering the cake with fondant? I haven’t had many success with buttercream frosting so far, so hopefully this would do the trick =)

  44. Victoria says:

    Do you use salted or unsalted butter?

  45. Michele says:

    I made you recipe and tweaked it a little for my personal taste. I added some extra confectioners’ sugar and vanilla It taste awesome. It reminds me of the Buttercream my family made when I was growing up. Thank you!

  46. Giovanna says:

    I found this on pinterest and made it today. This was the best buttercream I have ever had! I doubled the recipe and had enough the very generously do a 3 layer cake. Thanks so much for this!

  47. Leona Kay says:

    Hi, I tried yr recipie with confectioners icing sugar. And i used simple cream. Icing was very good in taste but it didnt set well. In my country heavy whipping cream is not easily avaiable, can you tell some other substitute. Thankyou :)

  48. Brittny says:

    Not sure if you answered this in other comments but is the butter to be salted or unsalted ?

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