How to Make Buttercream Frosting for Your Cakes

Cupcakes with buttercream frosting
Credit: Unsplash

Classic Buttercream Frosting

Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes


  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream or milk adjust as needed for consistency


  1. Soften the Butter: Allow the butter to come to room temperature. It should be soft but not melted. This ensures a smooth and creamy texture for the frosting.
  2. Cream the Butter: In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until it becomes pale and fluffy. This usually takes about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add Powdered Sugar: Gradually add the powdered sugar to the creamed butter, one cup at a time, while continuing to beat on low speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. Add Salt and Vanilla Extract: Once the powdered sugar is fully mixed in, add the salt and vanilla extract to the bowl. Continue to beat the mixture until everything is well combined.
  5. Adjust Consistency: Assess the consistency of the frosting. If it's too thick, add heavy cream or milk, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar.
  6. Beat Until Fluffy: Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat the frosting for an additional 2-3 minutes. This will make the buttercream light and fluffy.
  7. Taste and Adjust: Taste the frosting and adjust the flavor or consistency as needed. You can add more vanilla extract for flavor or more powdered sugar for thickness.
  8. Frost Your Cake: Once the buttercream is ready, use a spatula or piping bag to frost your cake or cupcakes. Get creative with different piping tips for decorative effects.
  9. Store: Store any leftover buttercream in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Before using it again, let it come to room temperature and re-whip it for a few minutes to restore its creamy texture.

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