Classic Vanilla Buttercream Recipe



About: Hi, I'm Jen! In my free time I'm a crafter, food lover, and cake decorator. I also can't stop taking photographs! I have a genuine love and appreciation for all things creative and handmade.

Intro: Classic Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

There are literally hundreds of recipes and combinations for buttercream. In this Instructable we are going to be making a deliciously creamy (and basic) vanilla buttercream that will be ready to use to fill cake layers, frost cupcakes, or eat off a spoon! ;)

Vanilla buttercream is my go-to for most cakes. It goes well with any flavor of cake and will please most guests.

During the summer months I highly recommend using the following recipe which includes vegetable shortening. I completely understand that this is not the healthiest option, however, it will stand up to heat and butter will not melt. I left butter and shortening out in the summer sun for about 15 minutes to demonstrate what will happen with an all butter frosting in the heat! You definitely don't want this to happen and you can choose an organic shortening if you prefer. In the cooler months feel free to substitute the shortening in the following recipe with 3/4 cup butter.


1/2 cup butter — room temperature

1 cup vegetable shortening

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (**a word on extract below)

2 lbs powdered sugar

1/2 cup water

**Feel free to experiment with other extracts like: orange, peppermint, almond, etc. Just keep in mind the cake flavor you choose and if you are going to add berries or fruit in the layers. A chocolate cake with orange buttercream and fresh raspberries sounds delicious, but a chocolate cake with lemon buttercream and fresh bananas might not be as pleasing!


1. Place the butter, shortening, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment and whisk on high until smooth. (A hand mixer can be used if you do not have a stand mixer.)

2. Turn speed to low and add 1 pound of the powdered sugar. Mix until incorporated adjusting speed as necessary. Mixture will be lumpy and thick.

3. Add 1/4 cup of the water and mix until everything is well incorporated. Mixture will be thin.

4. Add with remaining powdered sugar and water and whip on high for approximately one minute until no lumps remain. You should have a velvety smooth and spreadable buttercream.



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