{Recipe} Simple Vanilla Buttercream

All my life I've never been much of a frosting girl.  I was a cake lover and my sister would always eat my frosting.  That was until I had the most amazing buttercream frosting a few months ago here in Vegas at a place called Project Cupcake. I am now obsessed with buttercream and I vow today to figure out how to make the heavenly concoction.  Maybe Project Cupcake will hook me up with some lessons…

With that said, I am going to start simple and work my way up.  Here is a fabulously easy buttercream recipe that anyone can master.  


The trick… make sure the butter is at room temperature!  Do not put it in the microwave to soften. Plan ahead and take the butter out of the fridge an hour or two before you need it and you will have the most divine frosting.


Simple Vanilla Buttercream

1 cup of unsalted butter {2 sticks ~ softened}

2-4 cups of powdered sugar {sifted}

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of good vanilla extract

2~4 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream

In a mixing bowl fited with the paddle attachment, mix the butter at medium speed until nice and smooth.  Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add 3 cups of the sifted sugar.  Once sugar is fully incorporated turn the mixer up to medium and add salt and vanilla.  Add 2 tablespoons of cream and mix for 3 minutes.  Check the consistancy of the buttercream.  If it is to loose, add more sugar. If it is stuff, add more cream.  This recipe is really forgiving so work with it until you have the consistancy that you are looking for.

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  1. says

    Thanks for the recipe Heather. I'm always searching recipes for a good buttercream. I'm always missing one ingredient but this one is just perfect. Thanks for sharing. I'm putting that 'in the vault'.
    Anne @ Domesblissity xx

  2. says

    This is the buttercream that I have been using. The heavy cream and mixing it for several minutes seems to make all the difference in the world. I have found it to refrigerate nicely, too. Your pictures are amazing!!

  3. says

    I've always been a frosting girl, but it's been from those little cans in the grocery aisle. Now that I've discovered buttercream… My kids' birthday cakes will NEVER be the same. Or my own. Or my husbands. Or anyone else that needs a cake… {:

  4. says

    Add the caviar of a vanilla bean and a little salt — it will change your life!  I love, love, love buttercream and your photos are great!

  5. says

    Your pictures look fabulous.  Thanks for sharing this recipe.  Growing up my mom alwyas made and decorated cakes and she always used buttercream for the frosting.  Soooo delish.  Looking forward to your post on how to make the frosting look so decadent on the cupcake soon.

  6. lynda says

    I love the cupcakes but I want the cupcake liners! were could i buy them from.
    please send me the address or company name.

    Lynda E

  7. Amber S. says

    I just made this buttercream and I am so excited! It was easy to make for a novice baker. The buttercream isn’t too sweet, it’s the perfect texture and it’s absolutely delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  8. says

    I have tweaked the wilton buttercream recipe and come up with this recipe that everyone seems to like and it is great for decorating (makes enough to cover and decorate a 2 layer cake):
    2 lbs Powdered Sugar (I have found that it changes the taste if you use the generic. I prefer Cane)
    1 Crisco Stick (1 cup)
    1/2 cup Margarine- softened but not melted
    2 tsp clear vanilla extract
    1 1/2 tsp butter extract
    1/2 tsp almond extract
    1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (less for a thicker frosting-to decorate; a little more for thinner frosting – crumb coat)
    dash of salt
    Mix the crisco stick and softened margarine until it is smooth. Add the extracts, heavy whipping cream, and salt and mix. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low/medium for 1 1/2 minutes.

  9. says

    Thanks so much, the buttercream frosting looks divine. I will definitely try this recipe. Also, would you kindly tell me what font you have used in the first image for ‘Simple Vanilla’ – I love it!

  10. Melissa says

    I made this frosting today for a first bday party. The frosting was delicious! Very light. Thank you for the recipe!

  11. Faith says

    This is the third week in a row that I have found an excuse to make this frosting. Delicious! I added a tsp of cinnamon to it today to frost a Rumchata cake that I made, and it was a nice addition and paired wonderfully with the cake.

  12. Jenny says

    FINALLY!!!!! OMG you have no idea how many recipes I have tried ! This is the BEST. Simple, delicious and perfect for PIPING ! thank you thank you thank you =]

  13. Terri says

    I just used this recipe- the only thing I changed was adding the pulp of a vanilla bean. Oh my goodness! I'm not an icing fan- but whoooa, Nelly! This was AMAZING, Bravo! 

  14. Andrea says

    Fantastic! This recipe worked out perfectly with a hand mixer and made enough to generously ice a double layer cake. It's not sickly sweet (something I find with some recipes) and was incredibly easy to spread. Some pink food colouring and sprinkles helped to create a lovely and delicious cake for my daugher's first birthday. :)

  15. Mahnaz says

    Will this buttercream recipe ice a 2 layer cake? Please let me know.

    looking forward to hearing from you soon.  thank you.

  16. Melissa says

    This has been my go to recipe for the last year and it's amazing on so many levels…super easy and super delicious!!  Also it freezes awesome, so any leftovers never go to waste!!  Going to attempt to make a white chocolate butter cream with this base recipe!!  fingers crossed!!

  17. helen says

    I tried the vanilla which is amazing. Now I’m just wondering if it would work to put peanut butter in instead of the vanilla to make it peanut butter butter cream icing?

  18. Tammy says

    I tried this recipe without changing a thing, and it was by far my most successful frosting ever. Thank you so much!


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