When I first started baking, I used to avoid making buttercream whenever I could. I mean I really didn’t like it and thought that it was just one of those frostings that would never be a favourite of mine or one that I wouldn’t use often, until I discovered this recipe 🙂
Everything I knew about buttercream changed and since then, this has been my go to recipe for frostings whether it’s vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, peanut butter pretty much any flavour.
I’ve learned a few things while perfecting this frosting and have managed to make it amazing and spot on every time. I think that buttercream can be easily misunderstood which is a shame for such a classic frosting!
These are some of the main issues that people, including myself, face with buttercreams are:
- That it’s way too sweet! Yes this is one of the most popular complaints i have seen and heard about buttercream and was one of the main reasons why I disliked it.
- Too buttery. Although we are dealing with butter, if the frosting is not made correctly you will pretty much feel like you’re eating sweetened butter! That’s a no go for sure.
- Texture. This mainly depends on the icing sugar and technique of mixing but through my experience I noticed that the quality of butter plays a major role in both texture and flavour.
That brings me to my number one rule to perfecting buttercream:
- GOOD QUALITY butter. You have no idea how much of a difference this makes in buttercreams. In most recipes its okay to buy lower quality butters, you will probably get away with it, but for this type of frosting you MUST splurge a little on the butter.
- To make sure the buttercream is not too sweet, use salted butter instead of unsalted. Of course this is not mandatory since you can simply add in salt to taste but I find that when you do that, the salty flavour is quite noticeable and unpleasant. Therefore using salted butter is better and ensures the overall flavour and texture of the buttercream.
The second most important rule is whisking the butter:
This is key to making the most delicious buttercream you’ve ever eaten. The butter needs to be whisked until it’s very pale, almost white, in colour and very fluffy and creamy. Depending on your whisk and butter type this can take up to 10 minutes of whisking. Let it. As long as it takes, just keep whisking. Its that simple 🙂
The next step is to add in the icing sugar, cream and vanilla. Sometimes you may find your frostings a bit grainy so to remedy that just make sure to sift the icing sugar before adding to the frosting.
While milk can very well be used to loosen the frosting, cream is highly recommended (i never use anything else) to give the buttercream that sought after creamy texture.
On a final note, unlike the general idea that the butter flavour needs to be covered, vanilla is really only used to highlight the delicious buttery and creamy flavours of the frosting so not much is needed. Just a little splash is required and it makes the buttercream taste like ice cream! So tasty!
The Ultimate Buttercream
Recipe makes enough to cover a layered 9 inch cake or 24 cupcakes. Recipe can easily be halved or doubled 🙂
- 1 1/2 cups (300 gms) salted butter*
- 4 1/2 cups (560 gms) icing sugar
- 3 – 4 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream (not milk)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
First and most importantly, use a really good high quality butter for this recipe. Even though you can substitute in most treats, vanilla buttercreams and frostings need to have the best butters since that’s the primary flavour. The whiter the colour the better.
- Place butter(s) in bowl and whisk on high speed using an electric whisk. The trick for great buttercreams is to really whisk the butter well until its really fluffy and pale, almost white in colour. This can take up to 10 minutes but its a necessary step.
- Add in the powdered sugar 1/2 – 1 cup at a time, whisking for about 30 seconds between each addition.
- Add in cream until it reaches desired consistency. Whisk in vanilla to taste. The buttercream should not need alot of vanilla because you don’t want to overpower the creamy taste so even less than 1 1/2 teaspoon may be used.
- Whisk the frosting again after everything has been added, for about two minutes (or more if making whipped buttercream frosting) to make sure that it’s really whipped and fluffy.
- Add in colours if desired.
*Half salted and half unsalted can be used to balance out the sweetness, otherwise just add salt to taste but I highly recommend to simply use salted butter.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy