Buttercream frosting is my favorite! It's easy to make and tastes amazing. And I always have the ingredients on hand, so that's a bonus. :)
This buttercream frosting recipe makes enough to lightly cover a 9x13 cake, but you'll need to double it for 8 or 9 inch round layered cakes.
Head to the last step to find out more about making buttercream ahead of time and storing it in the fridge or freezer.
Step 1: Ingredients
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup (two sticks) butter, softened - can be salted or unsalted!
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
This buttercream frosting recipe is easily doubled and quadrupled - you'll just need a huge bowl!
For chocolate cakes or cakes that are really sweet, I love using salted butter in the frosting. I just wouldn't recommend adding salt to the mix - it can make it a little grainy.
This can be done by hand with a whisk, but your arms will probably fall off after. A cheap hand mixer really helps here!
Step 2: Beat the Butter
Beat the butter with a hand mixer until it's nice and smooth - 1-2 minutes.
Many recipes don't tell you to do this, but I find it makes the smoothest frosting if you beat all the lumps out of the butter first before adding the sugar. :)
Step 3: Add the Powdered Sugar
Add in all the powdered sugar and begin to mix it on low-medium at first.
It will look very crumbly at first - you'll need to scrape down all the butter on the sides after 30 seconds or so. After 2-3 minutes, the mixture should come together and be pretty creamy.
Step 4: Add the Vanilla and Some Cream
Add in the vanilla and a tablespoon of the cream to start. Mix for 30 seconds to so - just until it's all combined.
After mixing, check and see if the frosting is smooth enough for you - if not add the other tablespoon of cream.
Step 5: Frosting + Storing Buttercream in the Fridge and Freezer
You can use this frosting right away, or you can put it in the fridge or freezer.
If you live in a hot area (80 F room temp and up!), you should store frosted cakes in the fridge - otherwise they should be just fine on the countertop!
Above are photos showing buttercream I chilled overnight in the fridge. The first photo is it about 45 minutes after sitting on the counter - still crumbly and not coming together - the second photo is the same buttercream after two hours. Perfect! :D
storing buttercream in the fridge:
cover and store no more than a week. To thaw, set out at room temperature for a couple hours. Mix with a spatula - if it's nice and smooth you're good to go! You may need to add a little more heavy cream if it's not super smooth.
storing buttercream in the freezer:
if you want to store the buttercream in the freezer, wrap it well to keep air out to prevent freezer burn. When you're nearly ready to use it, transfer it to the fridge to thaw for a day or so, and then put it out on a countertop for a couple hours to get to room temperature. Going directly from the freezer to the countertop always goes badly for me - lots of condensation and it's never as smooth!