Thursday, January 26, 2012

Perfect Vanilla Buttercream

This is my very favorite frosting that I have ever made, and it is my most used frosting. It’s smooth and creamy, spreads beautifully, and isn’t to sweet.

I have made several variations by adding different flavorings and mix-ins, but the simple, sweet vanilla will always be my favorite.

Perfect Vanilla Buttercream [Printable Recipe]
Makes about 24 ounces


1 cup (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb. (about 4 cups or 500 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) heavy cream
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
Food coloring (optional)

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes. Beat in the sugar and salt until combined. Add 2 tablespoons heavy cream and whisk on high for 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add more cream, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Stir in the vanilla and food coloring.

Recipe by Darla

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jewel May 4, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Hi!!! Can I ask if you sift the confectioner sugar before using it? Thanks!


2 Darla May 9, 2012 at 6:42 am

You certainly can. I’ve found, over time, that it isn’t necessary, but it doesn’t hurt either.


3 CHeng June 21, 2012 at 11:43 pm

hi.what kind of a heavy cream are you using?tnx!


4 Darla June 27, 2012 at 7:42 am

Just basic heavy whipping cream.


5 Anna July 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Hi Darla – what is the best way to make this chocolate? Cheers!


6 Darla May 29, 2013 at 4:11 pm

You can try adding unsweetened cocoa powder, but you may need to add additional cream.


7 tamera encarnacion July 3, 2012 at 5:11 am

Hi Darla, I just found your site and LOVE it! With your buttercream, is it good for piping? and to use underneath fondant? I’m new at baking and creating… although I’ve been told that I’m pretty good at it! Feel free to visit my blog… (which is also a “new” venture of mine).
:) Thanks!!!


8 Darla May 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Hi, I use this buttercream for all sorts of cake decorating, including as a base for fondant. It pipes beautifully.


9 Karyl July 4, 2012 at 9:37 am

This made a beautiful, smooth buttercream. Thanks for the recipe. I had to double it (with some left over) to cover 24 cupcakes with the taller piped icing. If I was just doing dollops, I think the single batch would be fine.


10 Andy July 16, 2012 at 4:07 am

Can I ask what’s the shelf life, ref life and freeze life for this great buttercream? Thanks.


11 Darla May 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I’ve frozen this for as long as a month in the past without any issues.


12 Claire August 18, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Is this a crusting buttercream or a lighter consistency?


13 Becky November 15, 2012 at 11:41 pm

I use a very similar recipe, one without salt…. does the salt make it any less sweet, because I find it too sweet for me…


14 Darla May 29, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I don’t believe the salt makes it less sweet, per se, but I do think it adds a bit of depth to the flavor.


15 GothicSoprano December 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I just finished making this for a Hobbit/LOTR- themed cake. All I have to say is, Darla, I love you. This is without question the best buttercream EVER!!!


16 Stephanie C February 7, 2013 at 4:20 pm

I used this recipe and Infused it with some raspberry and blackberry juice and it was absolutely amazing! thank you!


17 Danette March 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm

So I am going to attempt this for the first time and am nervous about adding in the vanilla towards the end. Do you just do it with a spatula? Does mixing run the risk of loosing your fluffiness? Could I just add the vanilla in with the sugar and butter towards the beginning or will that lead to disaster? And the with the coloring… Just mix with a spoon or with the mixer? Sorry for all the newbie questions!!!


18 Darla March 9, 2013 at 10:29 am

You can add the vanilla whenever you want. Typically, I add flavorings at the end of mixing so I can make more than one flavor if I choose too. You can mix it in with the mixer and it only takes about 30 seconds to get the flavor incorporated. You won’t break the frosting by doing it this way.


19 Danette March 10, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Thank you Darla! It was a success! My husband said it was the best buttercream he has ever had!!! I put it on your chocolate cupcake recipe which was so good as well! I added in some nutella to experiment after frosting some with the regular buttercream and it made for a much creamier frosting texture but was fantastic with the chocolate cupcakes!


20 Denise April 30, 2013 at 10:26 pm

I’m from Canada so we don’t have just heavy cream, what is the percent of fat in heavy cream? Canada goes by percent of fat.


21 Darla May 29, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I believe that heavy cream is around 38%.


22 Lourdes S. May 1, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Hi Can I use this frosting under the fondant? Or will it be melted after a while? or What frosting do you recommend for covering a cake with fondant?

Thank you


23 Darla May 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Yes, I use this frosting as my base under fondant all the time. In fact, it’s pretty much the only one I use. I’ve never had any issues with melting.


24 Francine May 13, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Can you make this ahead of time or do you recommend the day of the event


25 Darla May 29, 2013 at 4:06 pm

This can be made up to a month in advance, and kept in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to use. Just bring to room temperature and stir thoroughly before use.


26 Danielle May 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Hi Darla,

How do you think this will hold color? I have to do a navy blue frosting in the next few weeks and I need something that will hold a nice deep blue. I planned on using gel coloring in blue and a touch of black to get the color I want. Thanks!


27 Darla May 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Hi Danielle, this recipe holds color beautifully. The darker the color, the more coloring you will need to add, obviously, but I’ve been able to make the deepest black with this recipe. It also helps to make the colors about 24 hours in advance, and allow them to deepen over night.


28 Danielle June 4, 2013 at 11:26 am

This worked WONDERS with the colors I had to do. I did a test run this last weekend. I had to make a deep red and deep/navy blue for our school colors (Rock chalk Jayhawk!). Now they are going to be in our local paper! I’m so excited! Thank you for getting back to me on this. I really appreciate it!


29 Emma May 31, 2013 at 11:29 am

How would you keep this cake fresh. would it have to be the fridge or could you leave it out in an air tight cotainer???


30 Darla July 9, 2013 at 9:56 am

I prefer to store cakes in an airtight container if they are going to be served that day. If you are serving the cake more than 24 hours after making it, I recommend refrigerating it.


31 Kaye November 21, 2013 at 2:17 am

I love the candy ribbon cake. Can you provide directions for coloring and then putting the frosting on the cake? nks!I can’t figure it out from the photos. Tha


32 Nichole December 24, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Hi Darla, My family minus me is all strictly allergic to dairy! SUCKY :((( but my question is we normally use moca-mix (its a non-dairy coffee creamer) do you think this might work in substitute of the heavy cream?


33 Darla January 2, 2014 at 1:35 pm

I think that would work perfectly! :)


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