Buttercream , Basic Buttercream ,American buttercream , baker’s buttercream whatever you want to term it , this frosting is by far the most easiest and widely used / preferred frosting in the world. Be it filling, icing, crumb coating, piping and decorating – you can use it many ways and for various other baked goods apart from cakes. You can never go wrong with buttercream as its very sturdy and forgiving in nature . I think this is the main reason it is a perfect frosting to start with for every beginner.
As the name suggests – it is made up of 3 main ingredients
butter + sugar + some liquid = simple buttercream
It is a simple process of creaming butter , adding icing sugar and thinning it with some liquid like milk/ cream or water – that’s it . The entire process takes less than 15 minutes.
So easy to make that you won’t buy ready made buttercream again . I have bought it once and let me tell you it was crazy sweet , not made for my palate.
Agreed that buttercream is a sweeter than whipped cream , but its very sturdy and versatile design wise and somehow buttercream made from scratch / homemade aren’t that sweet because I think you can easily manipulate the sugar content to some extent , add salt, flavoring etc to balance the taste.
Eggfree / gelatin free
Easy and forgiving
Loved by all
Endless design possibilities
Once you master this simple buttercream with handful of tips and ingredients , you can play around with it – infuse flavors , tint it in your choice of color ,endless design possibilities – sky is the limit.
If you haven’t tried your hands on buttercream yet , please do – its simplest of all frostings and loved by all especially the kids. It’s the most commonly used frosting for any occasion and even under fondant cakes.
There are few versions of simple buttercream and you can pick and choose which one is right for you .
- The classic way
- Butter + Sugar
- Shortening + sugar
- ( Butter + Shortening ) + sugar
Why different versions and why on earth shortening.?
The most important reason is heat / weather conditions.
If you are having a party where the cake is going to be out for hours you might want to make the buttercream sturdier so that the cream and the deco doesn’t melt .
Butter is a bit sensitive to heat , while shortening / margarine can withstand high temperatures very well.
Shortening whips up fluffier than butter and also the end result is very very white buttercream . Generally buttercream made with butter isn’t ultra white , it’s a bit creamish .If you your cake calls for true white buttercream then you might want to consider shortening / margarine.
If you want a crusting buttercream then shortening is your answer.
Most bakeries across the world use shortening instead of butter because it has a longer shelf life and its cost effective too.
How does shortening cake tastes?
Well if its made tactfully then they taste good actually but if you ask me what I like – I prefer butter or a fifty fifty mix of butter and shortening . At the end of the day decision is based on seasonal conditions – hot weathers and bbq or beach parties then shortening is the safest bet.
Make ahead of time and Shelf life of buttercream
Buttercream has a pretty long shelf life because all the added sugar acts as a preservative . So it can be made ahead of time .
If you have made a big batch of buttercream and have leftover do not throw it. Leftover buttercream can be stored beautifully 2 days at room temperature , for a week in the fridge and up to 3-4 months or long in the freezer.
Just blob leftover buttercream on a plastic wrap – fold it well , put it into a ziplock bag , take out excess air if possible, flatten it and pop it in the freezer . You can also freeze it in freezer safe boxes or air tight containers . Though I make small batches and hardly have left overs , I like to freeze buttercream in divided small portions using ziplocks so that I don’t have to thaw the entire batch.
Just thaw buttercream over the counter for 3-4 hours until comes to the room temperature , re whip it and use . It will pipe beautifully and no change in taste just as the day you made it.
The key to best buttercream is PATIENCE
To achieve smooth and creamy buttercream following the steps are very important than following the recipe .
Below is step by step butter cream tutorial followed by the recipe and few variation possibilities
Use a beater attachment not a whip- I am using a stand mixer but hand held mixer works the same way.
Important :Stick of Butter should be at room temperature -soft to touch not melted and not directly out of the fridge. Just take it out of the fridge 2-3 hours before you decide to make buttercream
In a stand mixer / by a hand mixer start beating the butter on slow speed for 30 secs
Now increase the speed to high and beat it for atleast 5 minutes
Sift the confectionary sugar well – Please dont skip this step unless you want a gritty and grainy buttercream
After 5 -7 minutes of beating you will get white fluffy and creamy butter
Add your flavors and essences and salt at this point
Slowly add the sifted sugar 1/4 cup at a time . Mix on slow and let it get incorporated
Follow this until you have used all the sugar and mix it on low speed and scraping the sides occasionally to make sure that the sugar is combined well
Now add liquid (lukewarm cream/milk/water) a tbsp at a time to thin it down – don’t worry if it looks separated .. it will come together in few minutes
Now increase the speed on high – on stand mixer i keep it 7 and beat it for 3 more minutes
test it with the spoon or spatula if its holding shape and you are happy with the consistency . Or else add more sugar or more liquid for desired consistency
and there you have beautiful creamy melt in mouth buttercream ready to be piped and decorated!
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temp .. Not cold nor melted
- 3 - 3.5 cups confectionary sugar / icing sugar sieved 2 times- don't skip
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 -3 tbsp milk ( not cold or hot milk - but Luke warm
- For piping 3 d roses more sturdier buttercream ratio 1:4
- 1 cup butter
- 4 cups confectionary sugar
- 2 tbsp liquid
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp desired flavoring
Use a beater attachment not a whipper
In a big bowl Beat the butter on low speed for 1 minute .
Then increase speed on medium - beat it for 5 minutes..
Increase speed on high- beat it for 3 more minutes- yes total beating - at least 8-10 mins - scraping sides of the bowl in intervals to beat butter well..
Butter will turn white fluffy and creamy ..
Now it's time to add vanilla essence and salt sprinkle
Now beat everything on low
Beat it until mixed - about 30 secs
Add sieved confectionary sugar a little at a time - 1/4 cup at a time not all at once .
Beat on low speed until incorporated.
After adding 2.5 cups of sugar
scrape sides occasionally throughout the process to make sure sugar is mixed well.
Add 2tbsp liquid - milk / water / cream whatever you have .
It will look a bit separated first but after beating everything comes together.
Beat on low for 1 minute .
Add rest of the sugar .
Once everything is incorporated . Chk if u need to add 1 tbsp mil or not .
Now its time to beat on high continuously for 5-6 minutes.
Scoop buttercream on a spoon or spatula and turn over.. Buttercream should hold and not drop down
You can adjust proportions now- add more sugar or liquid to get the desired consistency
Taste test , make sure you don't slurp up the entire bowl
Viola - u did it .. Creamiest buttercream
Do not use granulated sugar
Use store bought confectionary/ icing sugar has a bit cornstarch mixed which gives nice stability to the buttercream
For liquid part - if you have heavy cream on hand then use it - it adds to the creaminess
Always sift the sugar.
Shortening can be used instead of butter for hot weathers
Salted butter can be used - just skip salt part
Use good quality butter and sugar for great results.
Store over the counter in a air tight container in a cool place for 2 days
In fridge upto one week
Freezer - long long time 3-4 months
Let it come to room temp
Re whip whenever using it again
I prefer making smaller batches
1 cup butter at room temperature, not melted
3 – 3.5 cups confectionary sugar sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt (skip if using salted butter)
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1 – 2 tablespoon milk/water/heavy cream
Beat butter until fluffy like the original buttercream above.
Add in lemon zest , essences beat it for 1 minute more .
Add in the sugar in increments. Towards the end add the liquid. After everything is incorporated , beat it on high for 4-5 minutes as mentioned in the original buttercream recipe above.
The peach floral cupcakes photo credit goes to a friend.
Its piped with soft buttercream 1 : 3.5 ratio butter: confectionary sugar and piped with wilton 127 petal tip
I will be doing many more exciting buttercream posts in the future.
this is one more buttercream cake and cupcakes that I made for a friend’s daughters birthday – mini mouse theme
It’s all buttercream roses with homemade modeling chocolate accents.
Meanwhile you can have a look at quick tutorial on beautiful buttercream hydrangeas here.
and a quick tutorial on piping quick beautiful roses – recipe link here
Hope you like this recipe and do give it a try. I would love to hear from you. If you have tried any of my recipes do drop in a feedback in the comment section or on my Facebook page carveyourcraving in messages section and follow me on Pinterest .
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