This quick and easy buttercream frosting is just like the kind you will find in a bakery. It is the perfect no-fail icing for your next delicious cake dessert recipe. Creamy, buttery, and delicious.
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Four Simple Ingredients
My husband loves to lick out the bowl. He has a terrible sweet tooth. Whenever possible, he wants the piece of cake with the most frosting. If he is near someone watching their waistline, he is even happier as they will usually scrape off some of their frosting to his plate. I know, sounds awful, but it is the truth and we probably all know someone like this.
Frosting for Wedding Cupcakes
When my daughter got married, we served frosted cupcakes at the bridal shower. Everyone was remarking on how scrumptious they were. We made carrot cake and chocolate cupcakes. This is the icing we used.
Swapping the butter for Shortening
However, we substituted the butter with shortening (Crisco). It gives the frosting a bit more of a creamy smooth taste. Whereas the butter makes for a delicious, rich tasting frosting.
We have a local bakery that uses this exact simple frosting with the shortening for their devil’s food chocolate cake. The cake is moist and chocolaty. When paired with this frosting, it is just exquisite.
Whenever we are at a party or at the office and someone says they have a cake from this bakery, people take notice and get in line for a piece. I work at a local college and when we have in-service, this is the cake that is served for dessert. We get lots of the cake because that is what everyone wants – they make sure to let us know on the surveys we send out on the training day. Food seems to be all that people care about.
Simple and Easy Powdered Sugar Frosting Recipe
This recipe really could not be any easier. It is perfect for frosting cakes and cupcakes as it will spread on smoothly. However, this is also great for piping as it holds its shape. With just four ingredients; powdered sugar, butter, cream, and vanilla.
This cupcake was the one served at my daughter’s bridal shower. We had just a few leftovers. They were put in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight. When we removed them to finish them the next day, they had these droplets of water on them. (not sure if you can see them in the photo). Thought this made them even prettier. As you can see, the frosting holds its shape well.
Frost 16 Cupcakes with this recipe
This is my go-to recipe. It turns out perfect every time. The recipe will frost 16 cupcakes with a generous amount of icing on each. However, if you have a layered 8-inch cake to decorate. Double this recipe. Depending on the amount of swirl you want on your cake, you might want to triple this recipe. Yum!
Thoughts on using Salted or Unsalted Butter
Many recipes call for unsalted butter, yet others use salted butter. You might be wondering which one is best. This can certainly be made both ways. Sometimes, when bakers are using unsalted butter, they will add salt into the recipe. This is so that they can control the exact amount of salt in the recipe. Other times, no additional salt is added.
The salt tends to reduce the sweetness of this frosting just a little. However, sometimes, bakers are going for the sweeter taste and choose to leave the salt out completely. That is okay, especially if you are making this for someone who is watching their salt intake.
Learn more about using salted and unsalted butter.
Make the Frosting Stiffer for Piping
To make the frosting stiffer, use less cream. You can leave the cream out altogether or use just a little. Mix the butter, add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. See if that is the thickness you desire. If not, start adding just a bit of the milk until you reach your desired stiffness.
Make the Frosting Softer
Room temperature icing will be softer than refrigerated frosting. Therefore, if you plan on spreading this frosting, let it warm to room temperature for 1 hour before using.
If your frosting is too thick, you can add a bit more cream. Just 1 teaspoon at a time, because the batter can become too thin quickly if too much cream is added.
Food Safety for Frosting
It is a good practice to keep things refrigerated and safe to eat. However, I have had this frosting on a cake and out on the counter for a day. After that, it goes in the refrigerator. I would not leave this out in the hot sun more than just serving it.
Storing the Buttercream
I store this buttercream in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. I give it a good stir before using.
This can be frozen for up to three months. Just thaw and stir before using.
Basic Frosting Ingredients
There are four basic ingredients for this buttercream frosting. This recipe is simple and straightforward.
Salted Butter – A good AA quality butter
Powdered Sugar – This is also known as confectioners’ sugar
Heavy Cream – The kind you use in your coffee or to make whipping cream
Vanilla Extract – Adds to the classic taste
Personal choice: For me, I use either salted butter or shortening; sometimes half and half. There are times I want the specific taste and mouth feel of each icing.
Successful Tips for Quick and Easy Buttercream Frosting Recipe
Use a hand-held or stand mixer to make the frosting. This will give you the best creamy results.
Make sure that the butter or shortening is soft. This will help it whip up nice and smooth. If the butter is not creamed well, there could be lumps in the frosting.
Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time to the whipped buttercream and make sure to whip this well before adding the next cup.
Once all the powdered sugar has been incorporated, add the vanilla. Add the cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
Once all the ingredients are added make sure to beat with the mixer on medium-high for about 3 minutes more. This helps incorporate the butter with the powdered sugar more and reduce a bit of the sweetness.
This buttercream frosting can be tinted with food coloring. However, it is important to use a paste or a gel. NOT a LIQUID food color. As the liquid may dilute the frosting too much.
It is super easy to vary the flavor of this basic icing by substituting almond or orange extract for the vanilla or adding a grated citrus zest.
Quick and Easy Buttercream Frosting
- 1 Cup Salted Butter or Shortening
- 4 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 3 Tablespoons Heavy Cream, Milk, or Water
- Use a hand-held or stand mixer to make the frosting. This will give you the best creamy results. Make sure that the butter or shortening is soft. This will help it whip up nice and smooth. Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until whipped. Approximately 1-2 minutes.
- Reduce speed to medium-low, and continue to beat, gradually adding the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.
- Once all the powdered sugar has been incorporated, add the vanilla. Add the cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
- Raise speed to medium-high; beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes more.
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I hope that you liked this recipe. If you are looking for more ideas on what to make, here are a few other recipes that you may enjoy.