Dessert | April 11, 2019

How to make the BEST BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

 I few months ago I had the best buttercream frosting I’d everEVERever had.  It didn’t taste homemade. and it didn’t taste store bought. But it had to homemade? But it didn’t taste like buttercream frosting. Let me show you how to make the most delicious buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes!

 
buttercream frosting on a large beater

INGREDIENTS FOR THE BEST BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

  1. Butter
  2. Shortening (*GASP!* I know. read below why this is important)
  3. Powder Sugar
  4. Milk/ Heavy Cream or Evaporated Milk
  5. High speed mixer

three layer cake, stacked with frosting in-between.

WHY Use Shortening?

I stood to the side watching another lady literally lick the frosting off the cake plate while asking the chef how on earth she made it. Her secret was shortening. …uh, err. Since then i’ve come to understand the importance shortening can have in baked goods. If you want the best of the best use shortening when the recipe calls for it.

In frosting shortening does several things. 

  1. Flavor! It really changes and brings out delicious flavors of the frosting without making it overly sweet or buttery.
  2. Stability! It is a lot more stable than butter, which at the slighted heat (whether from the weather or your hands even) can become soft and melt your frosting. Whereas frosting made with shortening it will withstand the high and low temps much better!
  3. Texture!!! Creamy, smooth fluffy frosting with shortening!

Can I substitute shortening with butter?

Yes, you can substitute shortening with butter. HOWEVER you will be giving up on flavor and texture. 

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BUTTERCREAM FROSTING OF YOUR LIFE!

PRO TIP 1: Room temp butter! Set butter out ahead of time. If you forget you can microwave it for a few seconds on each sides but you risk it becoming too warm/liquidy for the perfect frosting.

In a mixing bowl add butter and shortening and mix for about 30 seconds on high. So it is well combined and fluffy.

Butter and shortening in mixing bowl

In a mixing bowl add butter and shortening and mix for about 30 seconds on high. So it is well combined and fluffy.

butter and shortening mixed together so nice and fluffy

Now Add about 2 cups of your powder sugar and mix in on medium speed. Alternate adding milk and the remainder of your powdered sugar.

powder sugar added to butter mixture

HOW LONG DO I BEAT FROSTING?

Beating the frosting is a very important step. You’ve already been beating it for a few minutes now that you have added all the milk and powder sugar to the bowl. Continue to mix, beating the frosting  until it forms stiff peaks so the frosting will hold its shape. This takes between five and 10 minutes of beating using an electric mixer.

beater in frosting bowl

FAQ’s ABOUT BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:

  1. CAN BUTTERCREAM FROSTING BE MADE IN ADVANCED? A. YES!! You can make buttercream frosting a few days before use, keep it covered and in the refrigerator. 
  2. CAN BUTTERCREAM FROSTING BE LEFT OUT AT ROOM TEMPERATURE? A. Because of the large amount of sugar, the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Services say that buttercream frosting made with small amounts of milk are safe to leave out at room temperature for two to three days. Buttercream made with cream cheese, however, is not safe to leave out and should be refrigerated.

HOW TO KEEP BUTTERCREAM FROSTING FROM BEING TOO THIN.

If you are having issues with your frosting holding its shape on the your cupcake or cake its probably too thin, or warm. Here are a few suggestions you can do to fix this issue.

  1. You may have added too much milk. Add additional powder sugar to thicken up the frosting to stiff peaks.
  2. Your butter was too warm and soft. (this is also why shortening helps stablize the frosting) Melted butter will act more like the milk than what a whipped creamy butter would for the frosting. Keep the butter at room temp.
  3. If you are making the frosting on a warm humid day it may be melting, or as you work with it in your warm hands through piping it can heat up and soften the frosting. If this is so, when making your frosting make it on the thicker side, and refrigerate your cake/cupcakes afterwards.

 

An overhead shot of buttercream frosting on cupcakes

Tip For quick and easy Piping

I like to use simple gallon sized bags. I cut the tip of a corner off, insert frosting tip (this is a 1M star tip) place in a big cup, with top rolled over and scoop in frosting! SO easy and disposable.
buttercream frosting in a piping bag

Other TIPS:

  1. For CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING add 1/2 cup cocoa powder.
  2. For Ultra white frosting use white vanilla you can find this often at baking stores and Michaels.
  3. When making a layered cake, as pictured I like to double the recipe!
  4. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes it’ll go so much further and much faster.
5 from 1 vote
beater in frosting bowl
How to make the best ButterCream Frosting
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

The most delicious buttercream frosting ready in only 5 minutes. Use on cupcakes or any cake you like.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Best Buttercream, Buttercream Frosting
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Calories: 150 kcal
Author: Desarae
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter if you melt in microwave be SO careful. you easily risk getting it too runny, which will ruin your frosting.
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 4 cups half a bag powdered sugar*
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • *3-4 TBS of Evaporated Milk can use milk
  • For Chocolate Butter Cream add 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Beat butter and shortening together on medium speed for a few minutes. Turn down your mixer to slowest speed and slowly add sugar, vanilla. Turn mixer back to medium speed and **add milk /one tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. beat for about 3-5 more minutes the less milk, the stiffer the batter- which is best if you are cake decorating if you get your frosting too thin, add powdered sugar to stiffen back up.

Recipe Notes

In frosting shortening does several things. 

  1. Flavor! It really changes and brings out delicious flavors of the frosting without making it overly sweet or buttery.
  2. Stability! It is a lot more stable than butter, which at the slighted heat (whether from the weather or your hands even) can become soft and melt your frosting. Whereas frosting made with shortening it will withstand the high and low temps much better!
  3. Texture!!! Creamy, smooth fluffy frosting with shortening!

Can I substitute shortening with butter?

Yes, you can substitute shortening with butter. HOWEVER you will be giving up on flavor and texture. 

 

FAQ's ABOUT BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:

  1. CAN BUTTERCREAM FROSTING BE MADE IN ADVANCED? A. YES!! You can make buttercream frosting a few days before use, keep it covered and in the refrigerator. 
  2. CAN BUTTERCREAM FROSTING BE LEFT OUT AT ROOM TEMPERATURE? A. Because of the large amount of sugar, the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Services say that buttercream frosting made with small amounts of milk are safe to leave out at room temperature for two to three days. Buttercream made with cream cheese, however, is not safe to leave out and should be refrigerated.

 

Nutrition Facts
How to make the best ButterCream Frosting
Amount Per Serving
Calories 150 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 12%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 34mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Sugars 19g
Vitamin A 2.4%
Calcium 0.1%
Iron 0.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

11 thoughts on “How to make the BEST BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

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  1. Hey, I fully intend to make this frosting, but I also want the little rainbows. I’ve searched and searched and found similar items, but nothing in that color order. For some reason, it’s making a difference to me and I want those!! ha! So… do you know where they came from and where I can get my hands on them?

    1. They can be so tricky to find, and it always seems like when you need something it disappears from the shelf! I have seen them at target and walmart, and even the reg grocery stores- but it has always been random. They are called Airhead Extremes Rainbow berry Sour Candy. You can get them off amazon http://www.amazon.com/Airheads-Extremes-Rainbow-Berry-2-Ounce/dp/B004D7K19G. Try checking next to the sour straws in the candy isle or at the check out, I usually find them right by those. Good luck!

  2. I have been in search of the frosting made from crisco shortening called “buttercream” for my whole adult life. I remember eating it when I was a kid back in the 60’s…OMG I just loved it. Ate the cake, left the frosting. I hardly ever eat cake these days, but when I do, I am looking for that taste I remember oh-so fondly!

    1. Make sure your frosting is a stiff frosting (less milk more powder sugar, also refrigerating it after its piped helps too). If the rainbows are not too long they stay up really easily. I only ran into problems with the rainbows were long and too tall for the cupcakes.