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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

Creamy Buttercream Frosting

There's one secret to the perfect buttercream frosting: beat it!

  • 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. This recipe for Creamy Buttercream Frosting is perfect.

There are many, many types of frosting out there. They range from the complex – the classic Swiss and Italian buttercream frostings, which require you to beat egg whites and drizzle in cooked syrup, then add butter – to the simpler recipes like this one.

About the recipe: 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 need to, 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.

Tips for best Creamy Buttercream Frosting:

  • Really beat and beat this recipe. A hand or stand mixer really is the best, but you can do this by hand if you have a strong arm or helpers.
  • The powdered sugar must be sieved or the frosting will be lumpy. There’s no way around this. Just push the sugar through a fine sieve, or use a sifter if you have one.
  • And the butter has to be soft, but not melting. Don’t use a microwave to soften it or part of it will melt and the frosting texture will not be correct.

Why this recipe works:

  • This super creamy recipe requires butter and sifted powdered sugar and cream. The heavenly texture and flavor is perfect on cookies and cakes.

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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 in the stand mixer 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. That means you add some cream and beat it in, then add some sugar and beat it in. Keep going until everything is added the the frosting consistency looks right. You may need more sugar or cream to get the texture 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 is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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