Introduction: Buttercream 101

About: I am a foodie and diy-er who always prefers to make than buy. I love cooking, crafting, and eating.

Hello everyone!

This is my second ever instructable and I'm entering it in the Cooking Basics and Summer food and Drink contest, so if you like it, please give it your vote! :)

In this instructable, I will be showing you how to make a french-style buttercream, as I have so far found it to be the most consistent and most delicious of all other types of buttercream! Unlike Swiss or Italian meringue buttercream, it uses egg yolks instead of whites. The yolks make the buttercream richer than whites and are easier to whip.

I'm thirteen and love to bake, and I've found buttercream frosting imperative to good baking. Not only is it essential to cakes, cookies, and other desserts, but a well-made buttercream can elevate a cake from mediocre to superb. Sadly, many bakers resort to "american-style buttercream—" gritty, disgustingly sweet, or bland buttercream, made of just butter, sugar, and sometimes cream. Blech! As a self-proclaimed foodie, this saddens me, so in this instructable, I will not only show you how to make a perfectly fluffy, silky buttercream, but I will also equip you with a seriously impressive and useful skill that you will be able to use forever! And its super easy, too! Exciting, right?

This instructable is meant to be more of an application/technique, rather than a recipe to follow. Once you make it, you won't really need a recipe!

Anyways, less talk, and let's go make me some buttercream! :)

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

This frosting needs only six ingredients, and the quantities depend on how much frosting you want to make. These are just guidelines. You really only have to remember the measurements of the yolks, sugar, and maybe even butter because the rest of this can be eyeballed.

For 3 cups (enough to liberally frost 24 cupcakes):

4 egg yolks

2/3 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of light corn syrup

2 teaspoons of vanilla

a pinch of salt

3 sticks of butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 1-inch cubes

For 4 cups (A 2 layer cake or sheet cake):

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup of sugar

2/3 cup corn syrup

1 tablespoon of vanilla

a pinch of salt

4 sticks of butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 1-inch cubes

5 cups (enough to frost a 3-layer cake or 48 cupcakes)

8 egg yolks

1 cup of sugar

3/4 cup of corn syrup

1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla

a pinch of salt

5 sticks of butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 1-inch cubes

Step 2: Whip Your Yolks

Put your yolks in a stand mixer with the balloon whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed until thick and foamy and a creamy yellow color, about 5 minutes.

Step 3: While the Yolks Are Whipping, Cook the Sugar

Dissolve the sugar into the corn syrup over low heat, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium-high and stir constantly, making sure it doesn't burn. If it's evaporating too quickly, add water or more corn syrup.

Step 4: Carefully Pour the Hot Syrup Into the Yolks

This is the hardest part—you can do it!

Turn the mixer down to low and take the sugar syrup mixture off boil. Immediately, pour in the hot syrup carefully, avoiding the edges and the whisk. Aim for a spot near the whisk and in the yolk mixture and make sure it goes directly into the yolk mixture. Don't turn the mixer off, or you'll end up with scrambled eggs.

Step 5: Whisk Until Cool

After all the syrup is mixed in, whip the mixture on medium-high until the bowl is no longer warm to the touch, about 5-10 minutes. If you don't cool it down all the way, the butter will melt when incorporated and will become an oily mess. The mixture should be fluffy, creamy-colored, and actually start to look like buttercream.

Step 6: Add Butter and Other Ingredients

Once the mixture is cooled, reduce mixer speed to medium-low add your vanilla and salt. Then, drop in your softened butter cubes one at a time, until completely incorporated. Be super careful! This only works if your butter is completely softened to room temperature. If not, your buttercream will be chunky and gross!

Step 7: Whip to Perfection!

After everything is mixed together, increase speed to medium-high and whip until buttercream is fluffy and silky, 2-3 minutes. Stop right when it's ready and don't overwhip! To store, keep in an airtight container, and if necessary, let it re-soften a bit and rewhip it once you need it again.

Congratulations! You now know the secret behind perfect buttercream frosting, and simply better baking! I can't even explain how divine and heavenly this buttercream is. I guarantee it tastes 100x better than any type of store-bought or American buttercream you'll ever try. Use this knowledge to elevate your cakes and cookies from good to great, and wow everyone! Good luck! :)

I've been working on this buttercream instructable for quite some time now and it looks like some other similar ones have popped up, so I would love to hear your feedback in the comments section and again, if you enjoyed this instructable, please vote for it in the Cooking Basics and Summer food and drink contest!

My sources were America's Test Kitchen, Alton Brown's "Good eats," and

Summer Food and Drink Contest

Participated in the
Summer Food and Drink Contest

Cooking Basics Challenge

Participated in the
Cooking Basics Challenge

Wedding Contest

Participated in the
Wedding Contest