The Best Buttercream Frosting
This is absolutely the best buttercream frosting recipe ever!
You'll Ever Taste
As much fun as decorating with rolled fondant is, when you want pure deliciousness, nothing compares to a true buttercream frosting.
I get compliments on it every single time I serve it, and no one has ever left this frosting on the plate. It is hands-down the best buttercream frosting you'll find anywhere!
Oh, and if it's chocolate that floats your boat, we have a fabulous chocolate buttercream icing recipe too.
Following this recipe, I explain the adaptations you'll need to make in order to use this frosting for decorations (flowers and borders) —please read them before you get started!
Now for a few important points:
- I'm not a fan of vegetable shortening in frosting, so you'll see that my first recipe calls for butter only. There's no question that an all-butter buttercream has the best taste. (Can you tell that I'm very passionate about this?!)
- There are two issues with an all-butter buttercream frosting, however. The first is that using only butter will not produce a white buttercream. This has never been an issue for me, because I often add food coloring anyway. I also happen to like the look of ivory buttercream. You'll also note that I use real vanilla extract which would discolor the frosting even if you used all vegetable shortening and no butter. This is why some recipes will call for a clear (imitation) vanilla extract, but believe me, it just doesn't taste as good as the real thing.
- The second issue is that butter is not as stable as shortening and will melt if the weather's hot. For that reason, on warm days I'll use half shortening and half butter. It's far better tasting than using all shortening and gives the frosting some extra stability.
- If you plan on making buttercream flowers (especially the kind where the petals are upright) or piped borders, I would then use an all-shortening buttercream because those decorations have to be stiff (it's horrible to see your petals go all droopy!).
- For stiff consistency buttercream icing replace all of the butter with vegetable shortening in the recipe below (you'll probably want to cut the recipe in half since you're only using it for decorations).
The Absolute Best Buttercream Frosting Recipe
Cream the butter, vanilla and milk (use a medium mixing speed so you don't get air bubbles in your icing).
Gradually add the sugar, salt and meringue powder and mix until creamy.
*Note: This consistency is good for writing on your cake, too.
Makes about 6 cups.
- 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 lbs. confectioner's sugar (use a new bag so you don't have to sift it first)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (you can use other flavorings if you prefer)
- 8 tablespoons milk, light cream, or water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tblsp. meringue powder (you can find this at craft stores in the cake decorating section)
Stiff Consistency Buttercream for Making Buttercream Flowers with Upright Petals
Follow the same method as the recipe above.
- 1 cup vegetable shortening (use a good quality brand)
- 1 lb. confectioner's sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk, cream or water
- 1 tablespoon meringue power
- a pinch of salt
This recipe will make about 3 cups of the best buttercream frosting you've ever tasted. If you don't think you'll need this much, you can reserve 2 cups of it and make a medium consistency icing which is perfect for piping borders and making flowes that lie flat.
Medium Consistency Icing for Making Buttercream Flowers that Lay Flat
To the above stiff consistency icing add:
1 teaspoon of liquid (milk, cream or water) per cup of stiff icing and mix well. So, if you reserved 2 cups of stiff icing, add 2 teaspoons of liquid.
You might also be interested in these pages:
Our Chocolate Buttercream Icing Recipe
Our Easy Marshmallow Fondant Recipe
Birthday Cake Decorating Ideas
Birthday Cake Theme Ideas