Cupcakes/ Frostings & Sauces

Basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

October 8, 2014

Vanilla Cupcakes

This is the simplest, most classic buttercream recipe. Since I consider buttercream to be a bit too sweet, I add a pinch of salt and lemon juice to cut down on some of that sweetness. However, if you prefer it sweeter, you can choose to omit these ingredients.

Add powdered sugar just to the point where the buttercream is stiff enough to pipe.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Basic Vanilla Buttercream
Yields: 1 cup, enough to frost 12 cupcakes
  • ½ cup (113 g/1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ - 2½ cups (180-280 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1½ tablespoons heavy cream (my preference) or whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Β½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and salt on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add 1.5 cups sugar in 2 additions, beating well after each addition until smooth. Add cream/milk, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat until smooth and fluffy. Beat in more sugar as needed, until desired consistency (thick enough to pipe).
*Salt and lemon juice are added to cut sweetness and are optional. Depending on your personal taste, you can add more or omit entirely.


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  • Reply
    March 5, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    I made this buttercream and it came out perfect for piping. I would like to use this recipe but with chocolate. Can I add cocoa if so how much?

    • Reply
      March 6, 2016 at 6:37 am

      Hi Marta! For my favorite chocolate frosting click here. It’s a bit softer but also great for piping. If you still want to try using this recipe – add to it unsweetened cocoa powder or melted dark chocolate (and I suggest to also reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 teaspoon and skip the lemon juice).

  • Reply
    March 27, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Will the lemon juice make the frosting tangy?

    • Reply
      March 28, 2016 at 4:06 am

      Both salt and lemon juice are added to cut sweetness and are optional. You won’t be able to taste the lemon juice in the frosting.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    I want to use this frosting recipe for a two layered cake, but I’m not sure if this quantity will be enough. Should I double the recipe?

    • Reply
      April 25, 2016 at 6:56 am

      Yes, you should double the recipe πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    October 4, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    I will be trying this recipe tomorrow night with your chocolate cupcakes. I’m doing a test run for my son’s birthday party in two weeks. Do you have any other recipes where the frosting isn’t too sweet. I find buttercream way way too sweet so I’m excited to give this a try. Also, can cupcakes sit at room temperature once frosted with this?

    • Reply
      October 5, 2016 at 6:10 am

      Hi Yolanda, classic buttercream is indeed sweet, but I add a bit of salt and lemon juice to cut down on some of the sweetness. My recipe for cream cheese frosting is a bit less sweet and tastes amazing if you prefer to try it.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    hi just out of curiosity how do you get the little black specks in the icing ?

    • Reply
      December 21, 2016 at 8:00 am

      Hi Korina, sometimes I use vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract. The seeds are these little specks.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    Should I double the recipe if I’m making a 2 layer 8 inch round cake?

    • Reply
      April 14, 2017 at 6:40 am

      Yes, you should double the ingredients.

  • Reply
    Iqra Aslam
    August 18, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Hi Shiran
    I am using your chocolate cake recipe to make a 3 layer 6inch cake. Would you recommend that I double or triple this recipe to fill and frost my cake?
    Thank you! Love your recipes
    Iqra x

    • Reply
      August 20, 2017 at 6:20 am

      Thank you so much Iqra! I suggest to triple this recipe so you’ll have enough frosting. I hope you enjoy it!

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