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 ¼ 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 tablespoon 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
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 -3 tablespoon 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 tablespoon liquid
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon 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 - ¼ 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 tablespoon 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
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
¼ teaspoon salt (skip if using salted butter)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ 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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Thanks for stopping by.
This is the BEST buttercream recipe I’ve ever tried, hands down!! I think it’s the double sifting of the sugar. Somehow it has a much more “less sweet” taste on the palate than unsifted buttercream. It really is wonderful. I will use this one again and again.
The only thing I noticed and maybe I had my cups packed too much, was that mine needed at least twice as much liquid. It was over dry pretty bad, but heavy cream fixed it in a jiffy.
can I use homemade butter (Makhan) for this recipe? I stay in India and we buy full fat milk which yeilds lot of Malai so thought if you can help.
Hello Breny, my aunt and cousins back in India do make buttercream with homemade butter. So I would say why not!
first of all, let me tell you that your recipes are brilliant. i have made your chocolate cake and vanilla cake so many times and have never ever failed to impress! the recipes are brilliant,
i m planning take your chocolate cupcakes (about 40) for my son’s birthday to school and want to make buttercream for the first time and had few questions.
– how many cupcakes (your chocolate cupcake recipe) will this frosting recipe can cover?
-how much margarine to butter ratio should i use as i live in a hot country?
-i need to make it red colour frosting (my son wants a superhero frosting!) so at what stage should i put the red colour and how much.
thank you so much,
keep up the brilliant work 🙂
Hello Hema, I am glad you are loving the cake recipes. Answering your questions below-
– how many cupcakes (your chocolate cupcake recipe) will this frosting recipe can cover?
My chocolate cake recipe makes around 14-15 standard size cupcakes. My butter cream recipe makes around 2 cups of frosting enough to swirl these cupcakes.
-how much margarine to butter ratio should i use as i live in a hot country?
You can do 50:50 margarine and butter room temperature not melted .
-i need to make it red color frosting (my son wants a superhero frosting!) so at what stage should i put the red color and how much.
You may add coloring towards the end after the frosting is ready. Add and whip until blended well.
Thanks a lot for the recipe .. tried ur eggless choclate , vanilla cakes n butter cream frosting . They turned out so well .. My son loved the cake .. and enjoyed decorating the cake by himsef … i cant say how much satisfied and relieved to feed the cake to my son who has food allergies .
Hi, I have tried Baking chocolate cake, Indian butter cookie. Both came out awesome. Everyone in my family loved it. Thanks for the recipes.
I plan to make vanilla cake 2 tier for my daughter’s birthday with buttercream frosting. Can you please let me know how much buttercream I need for frosting.
Hello Priya, thank you for the lovely feedback. For the two-tier cake, it depends on the size and height of the cake. And also the decoration. I suggest doubling the recipe. Leftover if any can be frozen for a long time.
Hi Khushboo, I’m planning to try buttercream frosting on cake. Pls tell me if the cake needs to be moisturized the way we do whipped cream cakes?
Hello Nitika, you may use simple syrup to moisten the cake. Completely your choice.
A big shout out to you and even bigger Thank you for sharing such and amazing recipe. For my daughters birthday party I made this buttercream for my chocolate cupcakes ( again using your recipe)and it was beyond delish and supersmooth…was a big hit. Everyone loved the taste. Thank you again for Sharimg such amazing recipe. Would have loved to show you the final presentation, not sure how to upload a pic here. Thanks.
Happy Birthday to your daughter Sneha! thank you for a lovely feedback. I would love to see your hardwork. Message me the pictures on my facebook page CarveYourCraving.
Where in Mumbai can I get Shortening or Margarine?Could you give the brand name?
Veg margarine is readily available in all bake supply stores or even grocery stores selling oil and flour . Try Arife la moulde
What butter brand will be the best to use? Which one did you use? Does homemade white butter give better results?
Unsalted butter is ideal. But salted butter works too. I haven’t used homemade butter for the same , but you may try!
I tried both cream cheese and buttercream frosting and they turned so yummy and perfect. Getting such results on trying first time is actually unbelievable.. your detailed write up made it possible. Thanks so much.
I had a query regarding food color. I am trying to get bright red by adding Wilton red gel color but the color is still pink even I added half of the bottle and the buttercream changed its texture and taste. How do I address this? Any tips to get bright red color?
Thank you for a wonderful feedback Roopali . Red color is tricky to achieve . I have only had great results using Americolor red red. I have mentioned that in my red velvet cake post.
Hi khushboo, tried this today, but its grainy!! I sifted it twice though…how can i proceed now? What should i do to fix it? Thanks
Hey Sargam may I know which sugar did you use ?
Hi Khushboo, loved all your recipes. You make it sound so simple and easy. What type of food colours do you use in the butter cream? And when to add them in buttercream?
Thank you Sneha , I use gel colors . I prefer wilton and americolor . I make a batch of buttercream without tinting it . I add few drops of color as needed .
I came on this post after trying out your cupcake recipe. I don’t have any electric beater or hand mixer so can buttercream be made using a hand whisk? I could experiment but I rather hear out your expertise
Supriya, for buttercream you can’t use whisk. You can try beating it with a wooden spoon by placing butter in a glass bowl, but honestly speaking not great results. I have been there so commenting what I had experienced . It’s lot of effort beating the butter with hand and result isn’t satisfactory . I would suggest go for ganache or whipped cream one instead.
I used a dark chocolate ganache for my cake. Thanks a bunch Khushboo 🙂
great , hope it turned out well. Would love to see.
Thank you….!!! I’ll wait for your mail on Chocolate buttercream
Great , will email you in a day or two.
Hi Khushboo..!! I have been following your blog since long now…!! And whether I bake or not, I simply love reading your write ups with all the pretty pictures…!! For me they are my bed time bake stories…!!
Well, I have few queries as far as buttercream is concerned…
1. Can I use powdered color to color my buttercream ? As I am running out of gel color
2. Isn’t 1:3.5 going to be toooo sweet ?? I generally tend to add 1:2
3. Can u please give us recipe of Chocolatey buttercream??
Hope I am not bothering you much..!! 😉
“Bed time bake stories” , this makes me feel fabulous. Thanks hun. I will email you the chocolate buttercream recipe as it’s in my folder. I have experimented various versions which will soon be posted. Which one do you prefer – with cocoa, with real chocolate, hybrid .. All are really good but did not get a chance to post yet.
yes you can use food grade powdered color. Just add little bit at a time with small amount of butter ,like a teaspoon of butter before mixing into the buttercream to avoid lumps and even distribution. And buttercream is sweet. The ratio I use is perfect for many designs, they come out neat and crisp and hold well. If you are just going for simple swirls go ahead with your tried and tested measures.At the end the ratio depends on the design.
I have a Philips hand beater and it has 2 attachments one is like a whisk which I use for whipping cream and another one for making the dough. Not sure if I can use the whisk for beating butter cream ? please help.
Also, can I use dairy butter (the white one)for making buttercream ?
Hi Shelley , i am sorry to say but neither of the attachments will work . Buttercream needs a beater attachment. I am not sure which butter are you referring to . Can I have the name or link to the same as all butter’s have dairy.
Hi khushboo, thanks for the reply, actually I don’t have the name of the butter. I am in India, so we get it at local dairy. Also I have an option of Amul butter if that works?
For beater I will check if can get an attachment.
Yes amul works , just skip the salt called in the recipe.
you are welcome 🙂
Love this recipe and plan to try it soon. I need to use shortening. Can you tell me which brand is good? And how to use it/when?
I plan to do 50-50 butter-shortening to be safe.
Hi Sujata, brand doesn’t matter , but find shortening with high fat content . I use crisco if that helps. Use it with butter since the beginning and whip it together.
Iam Chitra from singspore, I was searching for a buttercream icing n came across this recipe. I have baked very few times n since not an avid baker I don’t have a mixer/ beater handheld or anything. Is it possible to make this buttercream using a manual egg beater?? In that case how long will it take for me to achieve the desired consistency??
Hi Chitra . As long as it is a beater and not a whip , it’s fine to use. But it will take way too long and lot of muscle exercise to achieve the perfect consistency . You will have to use a glass or wooden bowl – something sturdy and tall and hold it tightly with one hand , beating it continuously with another.
Hi Khushaboo, Thanks for wonderful recipes. However I am having difficulties in replicating the butter creme frosting at home . The texture is a bit thin, not fluffy & its too sugary to taste. I am using 3 cups Sugar for 1 cup butter , using Philips hand mixer in hot & humid weather.
Hi Shweta, did you use butter that is soft to touch or melted butter? Lets work it out. Very hot weather calls for shortening that is mentioned in the post too.
I wanted to try butter cream frosting.its my 1st time trying for butter cream.so iwanted to know which butter u use for butter cream frosting.i mean which brand of butter.
Hi Shagufta, brand doesn’t matter as different countries have different one’s . Just use good quality butter, unsalted one is better.
Hi kushbhoo, would love to try these for my daughter’s first birthday and am all excited :)… but I don’t have a beater attachement I have Black & Decker 6-speed hand mixer. Can I use that??? Please let me know. Thank you.
Shilpa does it have a beater attachment?
Your recipe helped me a lot . Thank you . I got perfect yummy frosting .
Sounds great Ankita , glad it worked 🙂
Hi kushal… Does butter Cream happen to be little grainy, or my icing suger is not right. I buy Bluebird.
It isnt grainy, sift your sugar twice before using, read the post patiently for all your answers 🙂
Which frosting is better? Whipped cream or butter cream?
Both have their own beauty Mamta, it depends on cake type , decorating and preference .
Hi khushboo , loved the recipe and want to try it . I tried the chocolate cupcakes , turned out well but found them less sweet . So can i increase sugar proportion in this recipe?
Also i have a hand blender , can i use that?
Thanks Hiral, you can reduce cocoa powder by a tablespoon , keeping sugar the same and reduce water by 2 teaspoon . And are you referring hand blender for the cake or buttercream.
Great recipe. Just like how we prepare chocolate ganache.. I am looking fr a vanillas version of it..so that I can do diff flavours like pineapple. Strawberry.
Basically I am looking fr vasnillas frosting without butter
thank you, you can use white chocolate ganache
How do i make a chocolate flavored butter cream…this seems to be super easy..
thanks, there are couple of ways you can do it , with cocoa or melted chocolate or both, I generally eyeball ingredients and make chocolate buttercream . Th proportions I suggest is , 1 cup butter 4 cups sugar , 1/4 cup cocoa , 1/2 cup semi sweet choco chips melted , 1/4 cup or more milk to adjust consistency. Beat butter until fluffy , add sifted cocoa , mix well , add all sugar , mix until blended , add some milk , melted not so warm chocolate , more milk if needed.
Thans a tonn for a prompt response…i hv to make one today….By the way i hv a Christmas Carnival and m following ur cake n ganache recipe to the T…So u can say it a Khushboo special cake…mayb the Death by Chocolate Kinds…
By the any other way i can share a pic with u…i m not on FB…
haha, great , email me carveyourcraving(at) gmail(dot) com
Heyyy…i emailed u the pics…
I won the 2nd prize…Thanx a tonnnnn to u…..
That’s a fantastic news Dipti , I saw the picture – its a pretty cake , congratulations!
Hi khushboo, I have tried ur buttercream recipe and it turned out grt..
Would like to know more about modelling choclate.
U make it at home??
sure meena, glad to hear that buttercream worked for you. I am working on modeling chocolate post. May be after christmas I will do one, its a pretty standard process though. I have always made modeling chocolate at home. Will surely cover it in coming days . I have been using modeling chocolate for years now and would be happy to share my expertise
Hi Khushbooji, I am enjoying your blog …. please help for stabilized whipped cream as you know jains don’t eat butter … I too get orders of cupcake but this whipped cream peaks in this hot climate of Mumbai sometimes kill me ……..
I used tropolite whipped cream ..
please give some home made remedy for this …….
glad you like . Stabilized whipped cream is done either by adding gelatin – you can use veg gelatin , or cornflour . I will be doing post on it soon. I know jains dont eat butter . But its funny how whipped cream is fine and not butter . I don’t want to get into do ‘s and dont’s details here , will soon make post on fresh cream frosting.
Very valuable tutorial for a beginner.thanx so much khushboo
Very nice recipe n nicely explained too. Would u please share d recipe of ur modeling chocolate 2 ! Thank u.
hello, I follow all your recipes, all are exceptionally well but these cup cakes are excellent..my query is can I use simple home mixer grinder for butter cream, and what is hand beater ? Or the hand mixer which we use for mixing cake batter will do this..please..I am totally new to baking …thanks in advance
Thanks poonam . I will update my post with a beater picture to give you clear info .
Loved the way you explained everything and loved the cakes and cupcakes!!
Thanks a lot
Very informative post treasure for a newbie like me
Thank you so much for detailed step by step , it’s so nice for any beginner to follow and try , it gives good confidence to try
I have one question , I don’t have stand mixer or hand held mixer, can I use hand blender and how to use it , or what else I can use ?
Thanks again I love to see your all posts 🙂 🙂
Hey dear , it’s found very simple and great. Thanks a lot for the recipe.will definitely give it a try. I have Panasonic hand mixer n it has only two attachment …one is for whipping n the other is for dough…what r my chances of getting good consistency …Thsnks in advance …
thanks , are you sure its not beater attachment because that attachment is quiet common
Hi Khushboo maam,
Even I don’t have beater attachment. I have got Philips beater. Can u please suggest me alternate option.
hey Namrata , I am a bit confused you mentioned you have Phillips beater and you then mentioned it doesn’t have a beater attachment .. Can you send me picture of the same as a message on my fb page.
its very easy…i will also try…and m biggest fan of ur butter cream icing..:-)
glad to hear that kajal , do try it and send me the feedback
I got everything what a bigginer needs….u have sensed every detail …..will save this precious post
you are welcome .. I have tried to simplify it as much as possible 🙂