Buttercream is a staple in my baking, mostly because it’s a low effort, delicious frosting that lasts a very long time if refrigerated. The buttercream recipe I use is always the exact same, sometimes with added flavor such as dulce de leche or cocoa powder.
This is tried and true; it’s perfect for crumb coats but softens up nicely once it’s brought back to room temperature. But it also works perfectly if you want to make cupcakes in advance and keep them in the fridge overnight.
Because I’ll be using it a lot, I’ve left not only the recipe, but a couple tips to make sure your buttercream turns out perfectly every time:
- Air is your friend. I’m sure you know you need air to breath, but it works wonders in a buttercream. Lots of people have problems with their buttercream tasting like butter, and it’s because there’s not enough air whipped into the frosting. To make sure your buttercream is as fluffy as it can be, whip your butter for at least 4 minutes before adding any powdered sugar at all. This helps incorporate air into the butter itself. Also, before you frost, let your finished buttercream whip for another 5 or so minutes.
- Don’t overdo the sugar. Powdered sugar is delicious, but too much of it in a buttercream makes it rather stiff, especially after chilling in the fridge. The less sugar you use, the better your frosting will fare after being set overnight or refrigerated, and the softer it will be when you serve it.
- Quality control. I know it’s hard to stop eating frosting once you’ve started, but it’s really important to check to see if the buttercream tastes good. When adding in any flavoring, make sure to periodically check your frosting. You can always add more, but it’s hard to undo your work without compromising the buttercream.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 ½ – 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip up the softened butter for 4-6 minutes on high until it is fluffy and doubles in size.
Once the butter has been whipped, turn the mixer down to medium-low and add in the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
Once all the sugar is incorporated, add in the vanilla and salt, then turn the mixer to high and whip for another 5-6 minutes, until the buttercream is light and fluffy. If it doesn’t taste right, add more vanilla.
Any flavorings can be your choice, depending on your cupcake, and these additions will all be in individual recipes. This buttercream will keep at room temperature for 3 days and refrigerates and freezes very well.
Note: Some good additions include things such as 1/4 cocoa powder, 1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (like Nutella), 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste and 1/4 cup melted butterscotch chips.