This vanilla buttercream frosting is the perfect homemade buttercream for your cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. It’s creamy, light, sweet, and so delicious you’ll want to eat it with a spoon.
Buttercream frosting is a simple, homemade frosting that is a great sweet topping to almost any cake, cookie, cupcake, and other baked goods. It’s a great way to up some simple baked goods, like our vanilla cupcakes, or even a simple boxed cake, and is so much better than a store-bought frosting.
This American Buttercream is a delicious frosting that is rich, sweet, and creamy. It has a smooth, silky texture, and a nice buttery sweet, and vanilla flavor that complements many different cakes, and other desserts.
This frosting is easy to make, only needs a few ingredients, and is such a popular choice for home bakers, and professional chefs alike. It will be your favorite frosting to add to all your baked goodies.
This recipe makes about 2 and 1/2 cups of frosting, that is enough to generously frost a batch of 12 to 14 cupcakes, a 9×13 cake, or a light layer of frosting on an 8 or 9 inch layer cake.
This is a quick overview of the ingredients you’ll need for this Vanilla Buttercream Recipe. Specific measurements and full recipe instructions are in the printable recipe card below.
- Unsalted Butter – I always recommend using unsalted butter because different brands add different amounts of salt to their butter, so you can get the exact amount of salt you want. If you use salted butter I recommend leaving out the salt as called for in the recipe.
- Powdered Sugar (Also known as Confectioner’s Sugar) – if it looks extra lumpy, I recommend sifting it before you add it to the frosting. Measure it out, then sift.
- Heavy Cream – this thins out the frosting, and gives it the perfect smooth consistency. Add more as needed to get a nice fluffy, smooth texture.
- Vanilla Extract – this adds a great flavor to the buttercream. If you want a whiter frosting you can use a clear imitation vanilla extract.
- Salt – just a dash, taste the salt and add more if you want more
How to make Vanilla Buttercream Frosting?
Add the softened butter to a stand mixer, or large mixing bowl (personally I like to use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment), but another electric mixer with a whisk attachment work as well. Beat the frosting for a couple of minutes until it is nice and smooth.
Add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition until you have added the 4 cups. This will help prevent the powdered sugar from shooting over the sides of the bowl (hopefully). Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed to make sure the butter is getting mixed in.
Add in the heavy cream, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt and beat it until you have a nice, smooth, and fluffy consistency. Add in a little more cream as needed to get a smooth consistency and texture in the frosting.
Add the fluffy frosting to a piping bag with your favorite piping tip, or spread it with a knife onto your baked goods.
Tips and Tricks:
- Make sure your butter is softened to room temperature, this will help it cream into the frosting easier, for a smooth consistency.
- Sift the powdered sugar after you measure it, then add it to the frosting to avoid any lumps in the frosting.
- Add a little more powdered sugar about 1/4 cup at a time, or more heavy cream, 1/2 TBS at a time, to get the right consistency of your frosting. More heavy cream can make the frosting extra smooth and spreadable for a sheet cake.
- Add additional extracts to your buttercream as desired for different flavors, some favorite options are almond extract, peppermint extract, orange extract, etc.
- Add a little food coloring to your frosting when you add the vanilla extract if desired to make the frosting different colors.
- If you want enough frosting to pipe extra decorations on your cake multiply the recipe by 1.5 to 2.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How to store leftover frosting?
If you make your frosting ahead of time, it can be stored in an airtight container and chilled in the fridge for up to 3 days. Let it warm back up at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes, then add it back to your mixing bowl and whip it back up to soften if back up. Add a little more cream as needed to thin it out.
This frosting can be left at room temperature because it does not have any ingredients that need to be chilled. If the frosting is added to a cake, or cookies, or other baked favorites they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container. The frosting will form a slight crust on the outer layer, and will stay fairly smooth inside, but should keep its structure and shape.
What are the different types of buttercream?
This classic vanilla buttercream is also considered an American buttercream. You can also find Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and Italian Buttercream frostings.
An American Buttercream is the most common type of buttercream, made with butter, powdered sugar, and cream. It’s super easy and can be customized easily.
A Swiss meringue buttercream is made with cooked egg whites and regular granulated sugar that are whipped until fluffy. It’s smoother than an American butter cream and doesn’t develop a crust. It’s also less sweet.
An Italian Buttercream is similar to a Swiss Buttercream, but the sugar is cooked alone, and then poured over the whipped egg whites, because of this it is more stable than a Swiss Buttercream.
You can also find a French Buttercream and German Buttercream which are delicious options as well.
When to use Buttercream Frosting?
American Buttercream is a very popular frosting in the United States, and can be used to frost a variety of baked goods, here are some of my favorites:
- Sugar Cookies
- Vanilla Cupcakes
- Chocolate Cupcakes
- Layered cakes – such as vanilla cake, chocolate cake, or even red velvet
- Cinnamon Rolls
- Gingerbread Cake or Cookies
- Carrot Cake
- Pound Cake
This buttercream frosting is a delicious vanilla flavored frosting that is great for your favorite cakes and cupcakes.
More frosting recipes:
- Best Cream Cheese Frosting
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Coconut Pecan Frosting
- Strawberry Buttercream Frosting // Dessert Now Dinner Later
- Lemon Buttercream Frosting // Taste and Tell
- Peanut Butter Frosting
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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 3.5 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
- 3-4 TBS heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 dash salt
- Add the butter to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer. Beat it for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth.
- Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing on low speed until each cup is mixed in completely. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Add in the heavy cream (start with 3 TBS), vanilla extract, and salt and mix on medium speed until everything is well combined.
- Mix the frosting for another 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed until the frosting is smooth and fluffy. Add a little more powdered sugar, or heavy cream as needed to get the right consistency.
- Use the frosting to pipe, or spread onto your favorite cake, cupcakes, or other baked goods.
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