How To Make Buttercream | Super Easy Recipe

My all-time favourite buttercream icing recipe… it’s so simple and needs just two ingredients! Plus it’s absolutely perfect for icing your favourite cakes, birthday cakes or cupcakes!

A piece of white vanilla butter cake with pink creamy buttercream icing.

Buttercream is by far the most popular and commonly used icing recipe for cakes and cupcakes. It’s so simple to make and is perfect for your favourite mud cake recipe, vanilla or chocolate cupcakes or a classic butter cake. Check out my top tips below for making perfectly smooth and creamy buttercream every single time. 

Homemade vanilla cupcakes with icing and sprinkles.

Buttercream Ingredients

A super basic buttercream recipe requires only 2 ingredients:

  • butter –  you can use either salted or unsalted butter when making buttercream. My personal preference is to use unsalted butter and then add a little pinch of salt to your buttercream as this allows you to control the saltiness. Ensure your butter is at room temperature before using.
  • icing sugar (also known as powdered sugar or confectioners’ sugar) – this gives the buttercream it’s delicious sweetness! You can use either pure icing sugar or icing sugar mixture (pure icing sugar will make a firmer buttercream, whereas icing sugar mixture will make a smoother buttercream). 

Optional:

To make the buttercream super creamy and luscious, I also recommend adding:

  • a dash of milk (or cream) – for the ultimate creamy finish. For best results, use full fat milk or pouring (thin) cream. 
  • vanilla extract – this gives the buttercream a beautiful vanilla flavour.
  • pinch of salt – if you’ve used unsalted butter, then add a little pinch of salt to your buttercream. If you’ve used salted butter, there’s no need to add any extra salt. Adding a touch of salt to your buttercream, minimises the super sweetness of the icing sugar and brings out the icings beautiful creaminess.
  • food colouring – you can also colour your buttercream using 1-2 drops of food colouring. 

The ingredients for buttercream frosting.

The Equipment You Need To Make Buttercream

Making your own homemade buttercream could not be easier!!! You can use any of the following pieces of equipment to make buttercream:

  • hand-held beaters or a stand mixer – this is such an easy way to make buttercream. Simply beat the butter until pale and creamy on medium-high power. Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low until combined, then increase to medium until smooth and creamy. 
  • a Thermomix – mix the icing sugar on Speed 9 to remove any lumps. Add the remaining ingredients and mix for 30 seconds, Speed 4 or until combined (it’s a good idea to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally).
  • a wooden spoon – I would only recommend this option if you don’t have beaters, a stand-mixer or a Thermomix AND you’re after a really good arm workout. In this case, you can use a wooden spoon to beat the room temperature butter until pale and creamy, then add the remaining ingredients and continue to beat well. 

A white butter cake with homemade pink buttercream icing.

How To Make Buttercream In 2 Simple Steps

Step 1 – Beat the butter

It’s important to make sure that the butter is at room temperature before using. Beat on medium/high speed for approximately 3 minutes or until very pale and creamy. 

 

Step 2 – Add the remaining ingredients

Add the icing sugar, cream (or milk) and optional vanilla extract, salt and food colouring and beat on low until combined and then increase to medium speed for approximately 2 minuets. 

Pink buttercream icing in a bowl.

Tips For Making Perfect Buttercream

  • make sure your butter is at room temperature before using
  • for a smooth result, ensure that you sift your icing sugar (powdered sugar) before using
  • add vanilla extract for a creamy vanilla flavour
  • adding a pinch of salt minimises the sweetness of the sugar and brings out the creaminess of the buttercream
  • use hand-held beaters, a stand-mixer or Thermomix to make the buttercream
  • if you don’t have any of the above equipment, you can use a wooden spoon (and a whole lot of muscle power!)
  • to make chocolate buttercream, add 1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder and an extra tablespoon of cream, and use 1/4 cup less icing sugar than the recipe states
  • if your buttercream is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of extra cream (or milk) and beat again
  • if your buttercream is too thin, add half a cup of extra icing sugar (powdered sugar) and beat through
  • if your buttercream is too sweet, add a small pinch of salt and beat through
  • buttercream is best used immediately – iced cakes or cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. 

A piece of white butter cake with pale pink buttercream frosting.

Cake & Cupcake Recipes Made With Buttercream Icing

Our buttercream icing is perfect for using on these delicious cakes!

Chocolate cupcakes with icing and sprinkles.

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My all-time favourite buttercream icing recipe... it's so simple and needs just two ingredients! Plus it's absolutely perfect for icing your favourite cakes, birthday cakes or cupcakes!

Basic Buttercream Icing

My all-time favourite buttercream icing recipe... it's so simple and needs just two ingredients! Plus it's absolutely perfect for icing your favourite cakes, birthday cakes or cupcakes!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: desserts
Cuisine: cakes and cupcakes
Keyword: buttercream
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12 serves
Calories: 217kcal

Ingredients

  • 185 g butter room temperature
  • 300 g (2 1/4 cups) icing sugar powdered sugar/ confectioners sugar
  • 2 tbs (30g) cream or milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract optional
  • pinch of salt see notes
  • 1-2 drops food colouring optional

Instructions

Conventional Method

  • Beat the room temperature butter with hand-held beaters or a stand-mixer (see notes) in a bowl until pale and fluffy (approximately 3-4 minutes).
  • Slowly add the icing sugar, milk/cream and optional vanilla extract, pinch of salt and food colouring and continue to beat until smooth and creamy.
  • Spread the buttercream frosting over a cooled cake or cupcakes and serve.
  • Store the iced cake or cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Thermomix Method

  • Place the icing sugar into the Thermomix bowl and mix for 10 seconds, Speed 9.
  • Add the butter, cream/milk and optional vanilla extract, pinch of salt and food colouring to the bowl. Mix for 30 seconds, Speed 4 (scraping down the sides occasionally).
  • Spread the buttercream frosting over a cooled cake or cupcakes and serve.
  • Store the iced cake or cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Notes

RECIPE NOTES & TIPS
Ingredients notes:
  • butter –  you can use either salted or unsalted butter when making buttercream. My personal preference is to use unsalted butter and then add a little pinch of salt to your buttercream as this allows you to control the saltiness. Ensure your butter is at room temperature before using.
  • icing sugar (also known as powdered sugar or confectioners’ sugar) – this gives the buttercream it’s delicious sweetness! You can use either pure icing sugar or icing sugar mixture (pure icing sugar will make a firmer buttercream, whereas icing sugar mixture will make a smoother buttercream). 
Optional ingredients (optional but totally recommended!!!): 
  • a dash of milk (or cream) – for the ultimate creamy finish. For best results, use full fat milk or pouring (thin) cream. 
  • vanilla extract – this gives the buttercream a beautiful vanilla flavour.
  • pinch of salt – if you’ve used unsalted butter, then add a little pinch of salt to your buttercream. If you’ve used salted butter, there’s no need to add any extra salt. Adding a touch of salt to your buttercream, minimises the super sweetness of the icing sugar and brings out the icings beautiful creaminess.
  • food colouring – you can also colour your buttercream using 1-2 drops of food colouring. 
Equipment: To make buttercream you'll need either (recommended) hand-held beaters, a stand-mixer, a Thermomix or ... (not recommended) a wooden spoon ...and lots of arm muscles!
Tips For Making Buttercream:
  • make sure your butter is at room temperature before using
  • for a smooth result, ensure that you sift your icing sugar (powdered sugar) before using
  • add vanilla extract for a creamy vanilla flavour
  • adding a pinch of salt minimises the sweetness of the sugar and brings out the creaminess of the buttercream
  • use hand-held beaters, a stand-mixer or Thermomix to make the buttercream
  • if you don’t have any of the above equipment, you can use a wooden spoon (and a whole lot of muscle power!)
  • to make chocolate buttercream, add 1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder and an extra tablespoon of cream, and use 1/4 cup less icing sugar than the recipe states
  • if your buttercream is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of extra cream (or milk) and beat again
  • if your buttercream is too thin, add half a cup of extra icing sugar (powdered sugar) and beat through
  • if your buttercream is too sweet, add a small pinch of salt and beat through
  • buttercream is best used immediately – iced cakes or cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. 
 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 217kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 4mg | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 421IU | Calcium: 5mg
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