How To: Make the Perfect Butter Cream Frosting

I absolutely LOVE butter cream frosting. It has to be my absolute favourite, and to me, plain Jane Vanilla is the best! Made with powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and (optional) milk, this frosting works great for spreading on cakes, cupcakes, and/or for decorating.

It’s important to note that when preparing a batch of frosting you  adjust the consistency of the buttercream for what you plan on using it for.  The easiest way to do this is by adjusting the amount of milk you use. The less milk you pour in, the more stiff your frosting will be. Because I usually pipe my icing on top of each cupcake, I only add a teaspoon of milk at a time so my frosting is of a stiffer consistency. This means that my piping tips will show more clearly and be more defined. If you choose to add milk and you pour in too much, you can always add more sifted powdered sugar to stiffen it back up! (phew!)

Get your aprons at the ready and come bake with me as I’ll demonstrate in these easy step by step instructions how to make classic vanilla buttercream.

Ingredients (which will happily ice 12 cupcakes):

  • 150g unsalted butter, Softened (but not melted). An ideal texture would look like ice cream!
  • 300g powdered sugar (sieved)
  • TIP: This recipe is so easy, because you can easily change the amounts without having to worry! What ever measurement of butter you use, double in powdered sugar. Each time you’ll get the perfect consistency!
  • Vanilla extract – I would simply use 1 cap measurement, but you can add extra for taste if you wish
  • Start with a teaspoon of milk, and add extra depending on the consistency you want

Now for the fun part:

1. Beat butter for a few minutes until it becomes soft and creamy. It should also become a bit paler in colour.


Step 1

2. Start to sieve in the powdered sugar. I would usually do 3 lots of 100g so that it is easier to stir in and get a soft and creamy consistency.


Step 2

3. When all the powdered sugar has been sieved into the butter, add about a cap of vanilla extract. If you wish for a stronger vanilla flavour add another cap. But always remember to taste the butter cream first before adding extra as you can’t take it out once its been added!


Step 3

And there you have it! Simple, easy to make butter cream frosting.

Now its time for you to decorate as you wish.  Remember, butter cream doesn’t have to stay a yellowy butter like colour – add food colouring, to come up with different effects (for tips on colourings, check out my “Wilton Magic” post!)


And you can be creative in your colouring as well. Why not try a mixture of two colours? Divide your mixture into two halves and colour accordingly. Then, get your piping bag and add the one colour to one side, and the other colour to the opposite side. When you squeeze the piping bag together, the colours will merge and you should get a lovely swirled effect of the two colours!

Have you a habit of making a mess? (I know I do!)

Top Tip for less mess! Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap or cling-film on your work surface and spoon the frosting into the middle. Fold each side over so that the frosting is now wrapped in the middle. Twist both ends so that the frosting is now compact within the plastic wrap and snip one end. Then place the snipped end into the piping bag and pipe as you normally would! I find that if you use a material piping bag, this method makes it much easier to clean and is also great for combining colours!

Have fun with it as the possibilities are endless with different flavours, colours and piping techniques to be tried.

Enjoy x


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