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 don’t tend to add any milk so that 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 right back up.
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 6-10 cupcakes):
- 3 oz. unsalted butter, Softened (but not melted). An ideal texture would look like ice cream!
- 6 oz 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’l get the perfect consistency!
- Vanilla extract – I would simply use 1 cap measurement, but you can add extra for taste if you wish
- Up to tablespoons of milk or heavy cream
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.
2. Start to sieve in the powdered sugar. I would usually do 3 lots of 2 ounces so that it is easier to stir in and get a soft and creamy consistency.
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!
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 buttery colour – add food colouring to come up with different effects.
The below cupcake has been created by adding purple food colouring to half the mixture. When putting it into the piping bag, add the purple butter cream mix to one side of the bag and the normal butter icing to the other. When you bring the bag together and pipe, you should get this lovely swirled effect.
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 (like the cupcake above!).
Have fun with it as the possibilities are endless with different flavours, colours and piping techniques to be tried.