Baking 101: The Perfect Classic Vanilla Buttercream

Because it is such a staple — for cupcakes, whoopie pies and layer cakes — I am often in need of a batch of vanilla buttercream.

Yet the “perfect” recipe eluded me for many years. Seriously, I was like the Goldilocks of buttercream.

The basic back-of-the-box confectioner’s sugar recipe was quick and easy for sure, but way too sweet — or too greasy (or both) — for my taste.

And the more complex buttercreams — the Swiss and Italian meringue varieties —while superior in taste and texture, were too much effort for what should be a relatively quick and simple process.


And then a number of years ago a baker/blogger/friend introduced me to “the one:”

classic vanilla buttercream

The perfect buttercream. Like, lick-the-bowl-clean good. It only requires a few basic ingredients, yet quickly and easily whips up into a fluffy, delicious frosting. It spreads and pipes like a dream, and keeps quite well, too.

Everyone should have this recipe in their arsenal of “basics,” and I think you’ll agree this one’s a keeper.

So go find something that needs frosting, stat!!

Classic Vanilla Buttercream * courtesy of Sara Bakes Cakes

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), room temperature
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 pounds confectioner’s sugar (5 1/4 cups)
2 t. vanilla extract or paste (for a pure white hue, I suggest using clear vanilla extract)
1 1/2 T. meringue powder or powdered egg whites
2 1/4 oz. whole milk

Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, beat the butter till very soft and fluffy. Scrape down the sides. Add the salt and confectioner’s sugar. Beat on low till the sugar is mostly incorporated, then increase the speed to medium till well blended. Scrape down the sides. Add the vanilla and powdered egg whites and beat again till blended. Slowly add the milk and increase the speed to high. Beat for 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides.

Use immediately or place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to five days or in the freezer for up to 3 months (beat again prior to using to restore consistency).

* Note: this recipe makes enough frosting for a 9″ layer cake or 2-3 dozen cupcakes. For a smaller amount simply halve the ingredients.

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Article Posted 3 years Ago

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