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Creamy Buttercream Frosting

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1 cup butter, softened
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 to 5 tablespoons light cream, warmed in the microwave

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Creamy Buttercream Frosting

  • Serves 8
  • Easy

About This Recipe

Everyone needs a great recipe for a basic buttercream frosting. It’s easy to make – you just beat together butter and powdered sugar and vanilla, and add enough liquid so the mixture is at the right consistency.

But there’s something that not everyone knows. Even powdered sugar needs to dissolve for a frosting to be very creamy. That’s why you need to beat the frosting longer than you think you do, and why the liquid you add should be warm.

This frosting can be varied in infinite ways. Add some melted dark chocolate. Stir in some peanut butter. Add some mint extract and some green food coloring. Add some jam or jelly. Flavor it with maple extract or almond extract. Use your imagination!

And if you have a insatiable craving for something sweet, make this recipe and spread it between graham crackers, or spread onto any store bought cookie.

This frosting makes enough to frost a 13″ x 9″ cake. For a layer cake, I like to increase the recipe by 1-1/2 times, just because that food should be frosted lavishly.



In a stand mixer bowl (or a large bowl if you don't have a stand mixer) beat the butter until it's fluffy, about 5 minutes.


Then beat in 1 cup of the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Let the mixture work while you heat the light cream.


When the cream is very warm (not hot and not boiling) start adding it to the butter mixture alternately with the powdered sugar. Keep going until everything is added the the frosting consistency looks right.


Now keep beating the frosting for another 5 minutes or so. Taste the frosting occasionally. You'll know when it's done because it will feel very creamy on your tongue.


If you want to add chocolate or cocoa or peanut butter or whatever, add it now. I would use about 1 cup melted chocolate chips (try the special dark ones) or 2/3 cup peanut butter for this amount of frosting.


Linda Larsen has a B.A. in Biology from St. Olaf College, and a B.S. in Food Science and Nutrition with High Distinction from the University of Minnesota. She has worked for the Pillsbury Company on the Bake-Off and in their test kitchens since 1988. Linda has written 37 cookbooks (and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005.

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