American Buttercream is made from butter, icing/powdered sugar and any flavors you wish to add. It is a sweet buttercream frosting as there is a lot more sugar than butter and it is a great consistency for frosting or piping onto cakes and cupcakes. This recipe is also so versatile as you can add coloring, flavors, jams or spreads to it to create a range of yummy frostings.
BUTTER – I use a good quality butter for my buttercream and I do not use any shortening or other types of butter or margarine. There are many recipes that substitute butter for shortening or replace half of it, but not for this recipe. The best way to soften your butter is to remove it from the refrigerator an hour before you want to use it. You can soften it in the microwave, but it is not recommended as you can’t control the melting and you can risk it being too soft and you definitely don’t want to use a melted butter in your buttercream. It will just be runny and not have a good consistency to use.
SUGAR – American Buttercream uses a lot of Icing/Powdered Sugar and this is what gives it it’s yummy sweetness. You cannot, unfortunately, use less sugar than what the recipe uses as it will definitely change the taste and consistency. But, if you prefer or want to try a less sweet Buttercream/Frosting, than I recommend trying my Ermine (also known as Cooked Flour) Buttercream Frosting. It is so soft and velvety, but is not as stable as an american buttercream. If you want to pipe with your buttercream, then I would advise using an american buttercream.
LIQUID – I prefer to use milk in my recipes. The best would be whole/full cream milk, but you can also use water or cream. There is no secret or special recipe for this, but it’s about your personal taste and preference. So taste and add more or next time add less or try another ingredient until you’re happy with it. You will add more or less for not only the taste, but for the consistency too. If you want to frost your cake, then you can add about 3 tablespoons, but if you’re piping, then I would only add 1 or maybe 2 tablespoons of milk for a thicker consistency. That’s the joy of baking, it’s so versatile and easy to change or adjust.
VANILLA EXTRACT – If you are making a vanilla buttercream and not adding any other flavors to it, then you can add and taste again like before. Start by adding 1 and if you want a stronger vanilla taste then add 1/2 a teaspoon at a time, mix and taste again.
- 250g Butter (unsalted & softened)
- 500g Icing/Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 to 3 tablespoons Milk (other options to add are water or cream)
This recipe makes about 2 cups, but it can be halved or doubled depending on how much you need.
HOW TO MAKE VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat the butter for about 5 minutes, until it is lighter in color, creamy and seems to have doubled. You can do this with a whisk, but I highly recommend using a hand or stand mixer.
Sift in half of the icing/powdered sugar and mix well before adding in the rest. Mix for about 5 minutes to fully incorporate the butter and sugar. You don’t want a ‘grainy’ texture and you can avoid this by sifting your sugar, adding it in in parts and mixing really well so that it dissolves into the butter.
Then add the milk and vanilla extract and give a final mix for 1 to 2 minutes. The milk will thin out the consistency of the buttercream so add more or less depending on what you want or prefer.
Some other buttercream frostings to try:
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Ermine Cooked Flour Buttercream Frosting
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Swiss Meringue Buttercream