Buttercream frosting is one of those things that I guess you could call a pastry/baking fundamental. It’s essentially the sweet, creamy glue that holds so many things together. Cakes, cookie sandwiches, macarons, my sanity at the end of a long work day. All jokes aside, it’s a component weasels its way into/onto so many baked goods, so it’s nice to have a simple recipe for it that you can always trust and come back to. This recipe is exactly that. No more digging through Pinterest at the last minute necessary.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Softened unsalted butter
- Powdered sugar
- Milk or cream
- A pinch of salt
- Food coloring, if you’re into that
Simple enough, right?
I haven’t even told you the best part. All you need is one bowl. That’s right. Just one will do it. It can be the bowl of a stand mixer or any medium-sized bowl you can get your hands on. If you use a stand mixer, fit it with a paddle attachment. Otherwise, you can use a hand mixer.
Once it’s all mixed together, you can use it to frost an 8-inch cake or a batch of 12 cupcakes, to do some lettering (post about that coming soon!), to dip pretzels into, to frost sugar cookies, to make sandwich cookies, etc. The sky is the limit! If you want to do some decorating with it–such as roses–and need a sturdier frosting, simply add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar until it reaches the consistency you want!
A quick note about food coloring: if you color your frosting, make sure to use a gel food coloring so that it won’t thin out the buttercream. Also, try to use it sparingly. Too much food coloring can give your buttercream a slightly bitter taste.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! And be sure to let me know if you make anything fun with it! 🙂
Simple Creamy Vanilla Buttercream
- 4½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 3 Tbsp whole milk or heavy cream
- 2 tsp vanilla
- pinch of salt
- In a medium sized bowl, cream the softened butter until fluffy and light in color with a hand mixer set on it's lowest setting. If you're using a stand mixer, do this with the paddle attachment. Add the vanilla and salt.
- Add the powdered sugar in three separate additions, alternating with the milk. or cream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and continue mixing the buttercream on the lowest setting until smooth. Give it a final stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to get out air bubbles, if any.
- Use right away or save it in an airtight container in the fridge. When ready to use, bring it back to room temperature and cream it again. Enjoy!