Vanilla Buttercream is one of those frosting recipes that every baker should know, so it deserves a post of its own.
Since it can be the base for other flavored buttercreams, I feel it’s essential to get it right from the beginning. But don’t worry there’s nothing fancy or even complicated about this recipe.
I have done my fair share of baking in professional bakeries, and I have come to love this recipe because it’s quick and creamy. It’s beyond perfect for cake decorating beginners.
You can use this vanilla buttercream on any cake or cupcakes like vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and lemon. You can even add different extract flavors and food coloring to customize your buttercream.
This frosting is an American style buttercream which means its made up of butter and powdered sugar. Mix the two together, and you get a creamy buttercream.
Once you’ve mastered the American buttercream style, then you’ll have more confidence to try other buttercreams like Italian, French and Swiss Meringue Buttercreams.
I remember the first time I made frosting from scratch it was so new and exciting. Then I accidentally turned up the speed on my KitchenAid mixer, and the powdered sugar went flying all over my kitchen. It was a total mess.
So I laughed it off because what else would you do when you are covered in powdered sugar head to toe. Of course, I spent the next hour cleaning the kitchen so it wouldn’t get sticky. I quickly learned my lesson that day make sure you have the mixer on a lower speed before gradually adding the powdered sugar rather than dumping it all at once.
Get your mixers ready and let’s get started!
How to Make Vanilla Buttercream
Start with a stand mixer bowl, I use my cherry red KitchenAid mixer for everything If you don’t have a stand mixer I highly recommend getting one.
Next, add the unsalted room temperature butter and mix on medium-high until the butter is light in color and fluffy. Every few minutes stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the butter is well blended. This step can take up to 5 minutes because it’s essential for achieving the creamy texture we’re looking for.
Once the butter is light in color and fluffy, continue to mix on medium and add the vanilla extract and salt. The buttercream becomes balanced and not too sweet with the vanilla extract and salt. If you don’t want the yellow tint to your buttercream, then use some clear vanilla extract instead. Its still the same excellent vanilla taste but won’t change the color of your frosting. Continue to scrape down the sides of the bowl before moving to the next step.
Then gradually add half of the sifted powdered sugar to the butter mixture. We want to sift the powdered sugar to avoid any lumps in the buttercream. There’s nothing worse than chewing onto a clump of powdered sugar. While mixing add 1 ½ tablespoons of the heavy cream. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl and especially the center of the mixing bowl to make sure all the powdered sugar is getting incorporated.
Finally, add the last half of the powdered sugar and mix on medium-high. Continue to mix and scrape down the sides of the bowl until you don’t see any more powdered sugar. If the buttercream is a little stiff, then mix add an additional ½ tablespoon of heavy cream. Continue to mix until you have a creamy and smooth buttercream.
Now the vanilla buttercream is ready to use. Now is the time where you can have some fun and play around with food coloring. I like to use AmeriColor Gel Food Color because it’s more concentrated so a little goes a long way and it doesn’t mess with the consistency of the frosting.
Time To Decorate
Fill a pastry (piping) bag with your vanilla buttercream and begin frosting cupcakes. Or you can use an offset spatula and fill and frost a cake. A tip for frosting a cake, frost a thin layer all around the top and sides of the cake this is called a crumb coat then place in the refrigerator or freeze it to set and chill for 20 minutes. Once chilled, you can add another layer of the buttercream to finish your cake. This helps avoid any crumbs getting into the final layer of the buttercream.
Something to note about this vanilla buttercream is that you can make it ahead of time and keep it in your refrigerator to use later. Just store in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. When you’re ready to use the vanilla buttercream, place it on the counter to let it come back to room temperature. Then mix it on medium-high in your stand mixer to make it smooth and creamy once again.
You can now make fun cake creations like these below. Click each cake photo to see the tutorial.
You May Also Enjoy:
- Cute Fat Unicorn Cake (tutorial)
- Simple Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Buttercream (recipe)
- How to Cut & Serve Cake (free guide)
- Common Baking Mistakes & How to Avoid Them (free ebook)
- How to Decorate Your First Cake (free course)
There you have it! Now you’re an excellent buttercream maker! This vanilla buttercream will be sure to be a crowd-pleaser. It’s not only fantastic for cake decorating but easy for you to use with any cake flavor! I’d love to see how you use this frosting to create your own cake creations. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!
Hey, if you liked this tutorial, you really should check out, Cake Decorating Creator Program, my online cake program. I coach you on everything I teach on these cake tutorials so that you can uplevel your baking and decorating skills. We 10x it so you get the results you want most. Like any new skill, it’s important to learn from the ground up to build a foundation, so you can take on any cake challenge. It is an investment your future self will thank you for. Check it out at XOKatieRosario.com/creator-program. I will see you there!
Watch the How-to Video Below:
Learn how to make vanilla buttercream recipe for cake decorating. Use this vanilla buttercream to create all kinds of cake creations.
- 4 sticks or 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- food coloring, optional
In a stand mixer bowl, add the unsalted room temperature butter. Mix on medium-high until the butter is light in color and fluffy. Stop the mixer every few minutes to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the butter is well blended. This step can take up to 5 minutes and is essential to whipping air into the butter, so your buttercream is the creamy smooth texture we want.
Once the butter is light in color and fluffy, continue to mix on medium and add the vanilla extract and salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again before moving to the next step.
Then gradually add half of the sifted powdered sugar to the butter mixture. Next, add 1 ½ Tablespoon of the heavy cream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and especially the center of the bowl to make sure all the powdered sugar is getting incorporated.
Finally, add the last half of the powdered sugar and mix on medium-high. Continue to mix and scrape down the sides of the bowl until you don't see any more powdered sugar. If the buttercream is a little stiff, then mix an additional ½ tablespoon of heavy cream. Continue to mix until you have a creamy and smooth buttercream.
The vanilla buttercream is ready to use. Fill a pastry (piping) bag with the buttercream for frosting cupcakes or a cake.
For later use store in airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. When you’re ready to use the vanilla buttercream, place it on the counter to come back up to room temperature. Then mix it on medium-high to make it smooth and creamy once again.
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