homemade buttercream

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homemade buttercream

homemade buttercream

  • Author: olivia hartwellen
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Enough to frost a 9-inch cake or 24 cupcakes


Indulge in the creamy delight of Homemade Buttercream, a rich and silky frosting that promises to transform your cakes and cupcakes into irresistible masterpieces. Made with only the finest ingredients, including real butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a touch of powdered milk, this buttercream recipe is not just about adding a layer of sweetness; it’s about elevating your baking creations with a smooth, spreadable texture that holds beautifully on any treat. Perfect for decorating, piping, and spreading, this Homemade Buttercream is a versatile essential that every home baker should master for truly memorable desserts.


  • Butter: 226 grams (equivalent to 2 sticks or 1 cup at room temperature)
  • Powdered Sugar (Confectioner’s Sugar): 480 grams (approximately 4 cups)
  • Vanilla Extract: 15 ml (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 packet of powdered milk (Incorporating 1 packet of powdered milk, approximately ¼ to cup or 32 to 43 grams (about 1.13 to 1.52 ounces), into your Homemade Buttercream recipe significantly enriches the frosting. This precise quantity offers a deeper, creamy flavor and aids in achieving a stable, smooth texture suitable for intricate decorations.)


  1. Prepare Your Ingredients: Ensure your butter is at room temperature before you begin. It should be soft to the touch but not melted. Sifting your powdered sugar is also crucial to avoid any lumps in your buttercream.
  2. Cream the Butter: In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to beat the softened butter until pale and creamy, about 2-3 minutes on medium speed.
  3. Add Vanilla Extract: Incorporate the vanilla extract into the creamed butter, continuing to mix for another minute. The vanilla extract will enhance the flavor of your buttercream.
  4. Gradually Add Powdered Sugar: Start adding the sifted powdered sugar to the bowl in small increments, mixing on a low speed after each addition. This gradual process helps prevent the sugar from creating a mess and ensures a smooth incorporation into the butter.
  5. Incorporate the Powdered Milk: Add the powdered milk to your mixture. The powdered milk not only contributes a subtle depth of flavor but also aids in stabilizing the buttercream. Mix until fully combined.
  6. Beat Until Smooth and Fluffy: Once all the powdered sugar and powdered milk have been added, increase your mixer’s speed to medium-high. Beat the mixture for 3-5 minutes or until it becomes smooth, light, and fluffy. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically to ensure an even mix.
  7. Adjust Consistency (Optional): Depending on the desired consistency, you might need to make slight adjustments. If the buttercream is too thick, add a tablespoon of milk or cream at a time, mixing until you achieve your preferred consistency. Conversely, if it’s too thin, incorporate more powdered sugar until it thickens.
  8. Decorate Your Cake: Now that your buttercream is ready, you can begin decorating your cake. Whether you’re using a spatula for a smooth finish or a piping bag for intricate designs, this buttercream will hold up well for both applications.


  1. Butter Temperature is Key: The texture of your buttercream heavily depends on the temperature of the butter. It should be at room temperature, which means soft enough to easily mix without being so soft that it’s melting. If the butter is too cold, your buttercream may turn out lumpy. If it’s too warm, the frosting could become too runny. Achieving that perfect balance is crucial for a smooth, spreadable buttercream.
  2. Gradual Addition of Ingredients: To ensure a silky-smooth texture, it’s important to add the powdered sugar and powdered milk to the butter gradually. This method prevents the powdered ingredients from clumping and allows for even mixing, resulting in a consistent buttercream without any gritty sugar particles. Rushing this step can lead to a less-than-ideal texture and could make the buttercream difficult to work with.
  3. Adjusting Consistency: The final consistency of your buttercream can vary based on several factors, including the humidity and the exact ingredients used. Be prepared to adjust the consistency as needed by adding a bit more powdered sugar if it’s too thin or a little milk (or cream) if it’s too thick. This flexibility allows you to tailor the buttercream to your specific needs, whether you’re spreading it smoothly over a cake or piping detailed designs.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: Enough to frost a 9-inch cake or 24 cupcakes
  • Calories: 3870 kcal

Keywords: Buttercream Frosting, Cake Decorating, Smooth Texture, Consistency Adjustment,

In the heart of every baker’s kitchen, the quest for the perfect homemade buttercream frosting takes center stage. This creamy, fluffy concoction not only elevates cakes and cupcakes from good to sublime but also acts as the canvas for culinary artistry. From the first velvety taste to the last crumb, buttercream frosting transforms baking into an experience. But, what’s the secret behind crafting the perfect batch? Ah, let me take you on a journey through the sweet science and art of making homemade buttercream, guiding you through every tip and trick, flavor variation, and troubleshooting solution. So, grab your whisk, and let’s dive into a world where sugar and butter dance in harmony.

Introduction to Homemade Buttercream

A Sweet Embrace: The Allure of Homemade Buttercream

Imagine the swirls and peaks of buttercream frosting as soft as clouds and as rich in taste as pure joy. Yes, homemade buttercream is more than just a topping; it’s the heart and soul of baking delights, from towering wedding cakes to simple, comforting cupcakes. This magical mixture, when done right, not only adds flavor but also texture, beauty, and an undeniable sense of homemade warmth to every bite.

The Roots of Sweetness: A Brief History

The journey of buttercream began long ago, with its simplicity becoming its ultimate form of sophistication. It started as a basic mixture of butter and sugar, but oh, how it has evolved! Today, we find a plethora of variations, each with its unique twist and technique, from the silky Italian meringue versions to the rich, chocolatey depths of American buttercream.

So, why opt for homemade? Well, besides the obvious joy of whisking up your own batch, homemade buttercream offers a freshness and quality that store-bought versions struggle to match. Plus, it’s a canvas for creativity. Want to add a dash of vanilla, a swirl of caramel, or even a burst of berry flavors? Go ahead! The world of buttercream is your oyster.

The Building Blocks of Buttercream

In the world of homemade buttercream, starting with the right ingredients is key. Here’s what you need to whip up a batch of this creamy delight:

Butter: You’ll need 226 grams, which is the same as 2 sticks, or 1 cup. Make sure it’s at room temperature. This is the star of the show, giving the frosting its rich flavor and silky texture.

Powdered Sugar (Confectioner’s Sugar): Get 480 grams ready, roughly equivalent to 4 cups. This sweetens the buttercream and helps achieve that smooth, spreadable consistency.

Vanilla Extract: Just 15 ml, or 1 tablespoon. This adds a lovely, warm flavor that complements the sweetness of the sugar and the richness of the butter.

Powdered Milk: Incorporate 1 packet, about ¼ to ⅓ cup or 32 to 43 grams (1.13 to 1.52 ounces). This secret ingredient enriches the frosting, giving it a deeper, creamier flavor. Plus, it helps in getting a stable, smooth texture perfect for those intricate decorations.

With these ingredients, you’re well on your way to creating a buttercream that’s not only delicious but also versatile. Whether you’re aiming for simple swirls on cupcakes or elaborate designs on a tiered cake, these basics set the foundation for creativity. Remember, the magic of homemade buttercream lies not just in its taste but in the joy of making it. So, let’s keep things light, fun, and oh-so-sweet as we move forward in our buttercream adventure.

Whipping Up the Perfect Buttercream

Getting Ready: The Prep Work

First things first, let’s get our butter ready. It should be soft but not melted. You know it’s perfect when it gives a little under a gentle press. And, don’t forget to sift your powdered sugar! This step keeps those pesky lumps away from our buttercream.

Mixing Magic: Creaming the Butter

Grab your mixer and beat that butter until it looks pale and feels like cream, about 2-3 minutes on a medium setting. This is where the fluffiness starts!

A Dash of Vanilla

Next up, add your vanilla extract. Mixing it in for another minute will make sure your buttercream is not just sweet but also bursting with flavor.

The Sweet Sift: Adding Powdered Sugar

Time to slowly add your sifted powdered sugar. Do it bit by bit, mixing slowly to avoid a sugar snowstorm. This step is all about patience; it’s what makes the buttercream smooth.

The Secret Ingredient: Powdered Milk

Now, sprinkle in that powdered milk. It’s like a magic dust that makes everything better – deeper flavor and a firmer texture for those swoops and swirls you’ll be making.

Fluff It Up!

With everything in the bowl, crank up your mixer to a higher speed. Let it whirl for 3-5 minutes until you see it transform into something light, fluffy, and oh-so-spreadable. Don’t forget to give the bowl a good scrape now and then to mix everything evenly.

Just Right: Adjusting Consistency

Here’s where you play Goldilocks. Too thick? A splash of milk or cream will loosen it up. Too runny? More powdered sugar will thicken it. Keep tweaking until it’s just right.

The Finale: Time to Decorate

With your buttercream ready, it’s time to let your creativity shine. Grab a spatula for sleek surfaces or a piping bag for fancy flourishes. This buttercream is your best friend for decorating, holding its shape whether you’re going for simple or stunning.

And there you have it, your guide to making the dreamiest homemade buttercream. Whether it’s crowning a cake or gracing cupcakes, this buttercream is sure to steal the show.

Advanced Tips and Tricks

Elevating Your Buttercream

So, you’ve got the basics down. Nice work! Now, let’s sprinkle in a little extra magic to make your buttercream truly unforgettable.

Flavor It Right

Don’t stop at vanilla. Experiment with extracts like almond, lemon, or mint for a twist. A bit of espresso powder can give a mocha vibe, while citrus zest brings a fresh zing. Remember, a little goes a long way!

Getting the Color Just Right

Aiming for that perfect hue? Gel food coloring is your best friend. It’s strong, so you only need a tiny bit. Plus, it won’t thin out your buttercream. Want a deep color? Add the color a bit at a time and let it sit. The color deepens as it rests.

Smooth Moves: Achieving Perfection

For a silky-smooth buttercream, beat it on low after adding all your ingredients. This method gets rid of air bubbles, giving you that professional finish.

Keep It Cool

Warm hands can melt buttercream as you pipe. If you’re decorating for a while, take breaks to chill the buttercream or swap between two piping bags. Keep one in the fridge while you use the other.

Fixing Mistakes

Made a boo-boo? No stress! If the buttercream is too soft, a quick chill in the fridge firms it up. If it’s too stiff, a tad more milk softens it. Always start with tiny adjustments—you can add more, but you can’t take it away.

Practice Makes Perfect

Lastly, don’t be afraid to practice. Your first buttercream rose might not win any beauty contests, but each one gets better. Enjoy the process, and remember, it’s all about having fun in the kitchen.

With these tips and tricks up your sleeve, your buttercream game will be stronger than ever. Ready to tackle any cake, any time, with confidence and a dash of flair.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

No Need to Panic!

Hey, not everything goes as planned, right? But that’s okay. Let’s look at some common buttercream troubles and how to fix them.

When It’s Too Thick or Too Thin

Got buttercream that’s more like concrete or soup? No worries. If it’s too thick, a splash of milk or cream will loosen it up. Just add a little at a time and mix well. Too thin? Sift in more powdered sugar until it feels right. Remember, tiny steps!

Lumpy and Bumpy

If your buttercream is looking a bit lumpy, it might be the sugar. Always sift your powdered sugar to keep things smooth. And if you missed a few lumps, a longer beat on a lower speed can help smooth things out.

Too Sweet?

If your sweet tooth is saying “too much,” you can cut the sweetness. Adding a pinch of salt or a bit of lemon juice can balance things out. Go slow, though. You can always add more, but you can’t take it back.

Melting Away?

On a hot day, buttercream might start to wilt. If that happens, pop your cake or your piping bag in the fridge for a bit. It’ll firm up in no time. Working in a cooler spot can also help keep things stable.

Colors Running

Using too much liquid food coloring? It can make your buttercream a bit runny and colors might bleed. Gel food coloring is a great solution. It’s vibrant without adding extra liquid.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Lastly, remember that making the perfect buttercream comes down to practice. Each batch teaches you something new. So, don’t get discouraged. Have fun with it, and you’ll get better every time.

With these fixes in your back pocket, you’re ready to tackle any buttercream challenge. Keep calm and bake on!

FAQs for Homemade Buttercream Recipe

Can I make buttercream without a mixer?

Yes, you can make buttercream without an electric mixer, but it requires more effort. Use a wooden spoon or a whisk and ensure your butter is very soft to make the process easier. The key is to mix vigorously to achieve a smooth and creamy texture.

Why is my buttercream too runny?

Runny buttercream can result from butter that’s too soft or from adding too much liquid. To fix it, add more sifted powdered sugar, a little at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. If it’s a hot day, chilling the buttercream briefly in the refrigerator can also help.

Can I make buttercream in advance?

Absolutely! Buttercream can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to three months. Before using, allow it to come to room temperature and then re-whip it to bring back its creamy texture.

How can I flavor my buttercream?

Aside from vanilla extract, you can flavor your buttercream with a variety of extracts, zest, melted chocolate, pureed fruits, or even nut butters. Start with a small amount, mix well, and taste; then adjust according to your preferences.

My buttercream has air bubbles; how can I fix it?

To minimize air bubbles, mix the buttercream on a low speed after all ingredients have been combined. If you’ve already finished and noticed bubbles, use a spatula to press the buttercream against the sides of the bowl repeatedly; this motion helps to push out air pockets.

Is it necessary to use powdered sugar?

Yes, powdered sugar (also known as confectioners’ sugar) is necessary for making smooth buttercream. It dissolves easily and contributes to the frosting’s creamy texture. Granulated sugar is not a suitable substitute because it won’t dissolve properly and will leave the buttercream gritty.

Can I use margarine instead of butter?

While butter is preferred for its flavor and texture, margarine can be used in a pinch. However, the water content in margarine can vary, potentially affecting the consistency and taste of your buttercream. For the best results, stick with real butter.

How can I color my buttercream naturally?

For natural coloring options, consider using fruit and vegetable powders, beet juice for red, spinach powder for green, or turmeric for yellow. These natural colorants add beautiful hues without the artificial ingredients found in traditional food colorings.

Can buttercream be left out at room temperature?

Buttercream can be left out at room temperature for a day or two because the high sugar content acts as a preservative. However, if it’s very warm or if you’ve used milk to thin it out, it’s safer to refrigerate it to prevent spoilage.

How do I achieve perfectly smooth buttercream?

Achieving smooth buttercream is all about the consistency and mixing. Ensure your powdered sugar is sifted, your butter is at the right temperature, and mix at a low speed once all ingredients are combined. If applying to a cake, use a spatula dipped in hot water to smooth out the frosting effortlessly.

By addressing these common queries, you can master the art of making homemade buttercream and feel confident adapting it to suit your baking needs.

2 thoughts on “homemade buttercream”

    • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


      1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, at room temperature
      4 cups of powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar), sifted
      1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
      1 packet of powdered milk
      3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted


      Prepare Your Ingredients: Ensure your butter is at room temperature. It should be soft but not melted. Sift your powdered sugar and cocoa powder separately to avoid lumps in your frosting.
      Cream the Butter: In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to beat the softened butter until it’s pale and creamy, about 2-3 minutes on medium speed.
      Add Vanilla Extract: Mix in the vanilla extract with the creamed butter, continuing to mix for another minute. This enhances the buttercream’s flavor.
      Gradually Add Powdered Sugar and Cocoa Powder: Start incorporating the sifted powdered sugar and cocoa powder into the bowl in small increments, mixing on low speed after each addition. This method helps to prevent a mess and ensures smooth incorporation into the butter.
      Incorporate the Powdered Milk: Add the powdered milk to your mixture. This not only adds a subtle depth of flavor but also helps in stabilizing the buttercream. Mix until fully combined.
      Beat Until Smooth and Fluffy: Once all the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and powdered milk have been added, increase the mixer’s speed to medium-high. Beat the mixture for 3-5 minutes or until it becomes smooth, light, and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically to ensure an even mix.
      Adjust Consistency (Optional): If the buttercream is too thick, you can add a tablespoon of milk or cream at a time, mixing until you achieve your preferred consistency. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar until it thickens.
      Decorate Your Cake: Your Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is ready for decorating. It’s perfect for achieving both smooth finishes with a spatula or intricate designs with a piping bag, and will adhere well to your cake.
      Prep Time: 20 minutes

      Servings: Enough for 1 large cake or 24 cupcakes


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