Traditional Vanilla Buttercream

As traditional as it gets - butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. This classic Vanilla Buttercream goes perfectly on any cake, cupcake, cookie, or other sweet thing that you'd like to make sweeter and even more delicious. 

I simply don't understand how some people aren't a fan of buttercream or frosting. I also don't think I'll ever figure out the difference between frosting and buttercream. Pretty sure its pronounced differently depending on where you live. What do you call it?

Wherever you live, you can never go wrong with this classic buttercream. It's a staple in every baker's recipe book, and you always need a reliable recipe to grab when you need it. This is the one!

Making your own buttercream from scratch is the easiest thing, and I promise it tastes way better than anything you can buy in the grocery store. And, we're not fooling around with any shortening in this buttercream. Only the best! Pure butter. That's the best way to do it.

Ingredients You'll Need for Traditional Buttercream:

- Butter: Only use very softened butter. Otherwise, it will not cream with the powdered sugar properly. We don't want chunky buttercream. I recommend using unsalted butter, so that you can more easily control how much salt goes into the buttercream yourself. But using salted butter will not be the end of the world. You can swap a non-dairy or vegan butter for this as well. 

- Powdered Sugar: Make sure to sift your powdered sugar for the buttercream after you weigh it out. It weighs slightly different when its sifted, versus when it's not. 

- Heavy Cream or MilkJust a 1/4-1/3 cup is added to the buttercream to adjust the thickness and consistency of the buttercream to suit your needs. Add less for a stiffer consistency for detailed piping, and add a bit more cream/milk for a thinner consistency for fillings and covering cakes.

- Vanilla Extract: Every buttercream needs a splash of vanilla extract. It's a given!

- Lemon Juice: This is an optional ingredient, but I love adding a splash just to cut some of the sweetness.

- Salt: Salt is needed in every single recipe! It helps bring all the yummy vanilla out in this icing. 

How to Make Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the softened butter until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the powdered sugar and cream together on low for 30-60 seconds - so you don't end up with a face full of powdered sugar. Raise speed to high and beat for 3-5 minutes until very pale and fluffy. Thankfully, you can't overmix this buttercream. 

3. Add vanilla extract, lemon juice, and salt and mix. Add cream or milk (starting with 2-3 tablespoons at first), as needed, to adjust the consistency and thickness to fit your needs.

Consistency Tip: You have the ability to control the consistency of the buttercream. Depending on what you're using it for, you might have a different desired consistency. You can add up to 1/2 cup more powdered sugar if the buttercream is too thin, or you can add more cream more milk if it is too thick. Only add cream/milk in 1 Tablespoon increments, beating in between, tasting, checking the consistency, and adding more only if needed. 

4. Store in an airtight container (covered tightly) in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature and rewhip when you're ready to use it.

However, if you're planning on using it immediately or within an hour or two, feel free to leave it at room temperature - covered well. The top of the icing will dry out. So, I like to place plastic wrap touching the surface of the buttercream to prevent it from drying out.

Freezing Buttercream:

I always freeze leftover buttercream! You never know what you might be able to use it for, or when you might need buttercream for a random recipe.

You can freeze this buttercream in an airtight container, or you can wrap it up in plastic wrap. I typically do this, to save myself from having to give up one of my storage containers for .. who knows how long.

I just lay out several large pieces of plastic wrap and scoop the buttercream out onto the center of the plastic wrap, and fold the plastic wrap over it. Wrapping it up really tight ensures it stays really fresh in the freezer for up to 6-9 months. Crazy, right?

Make sure to label your buttercream and date it with what date it was made. Happy buttercream freezing!

   Other Buttercream Recipes

- I'm a huge cake person.. which means that I am also a huge buttercream person. While I do love vanilla buttercream, I also ADORE chocolate buttercream. There is nothing better than this Milk Chocolate French Buttercream that tastes just like a chocolate mousse. I mean, duh. It's so luxurious. 

- As a summer fruit lover, this fresh Blueberry Buttercream is very tasty. It can be made with either fresh or frozen blueberries, and it couldn't be any easier to make. To make it, you can use this buttercream recipe, too. It really is so easy, and it really is so delicious.

- A bit of an adult favorite is this Brandy Italian Buttercream. It's more delicious than one could ever imagine. The slow cooking of the brandy in the sugar syrup brings out so many flavors that I didn't know brandy even had. It's fruity, floral, nutty, and a little dried-fruity. Most of the alcohol cooks out, but there's an option of adding more in towards the end of the whipping process. Choose your fate. But, either way.. it's a tasty one.

- Who doesn't love peanut butter? This Peanut Butter Italian Buttercream is all I could ever dream of in a perfect buttercream. Salty, sweet, peanut buttery. If you're a fan of peanut butter - you'll love this.


Made the recipe?
Mention @rosemarywhisk or tag #rosemarywhisk!