The best buttercream recipe
Icing and Frosting

The best buttercream recipe – Four types of buttercream you can make

Let’s talk about buttercream! Do you ever know how many types of buttercream are there? Do you hold the best buttercream recipe?

Often, foods are modified to suit the local preference when they arrive at a new place. So as the buttercream! After that, the market looks up to the improved recipe and again, make modifications.

Buttercream is one of the most used ingredients in the cake industry. Think about the fillings and coating.

Unlike the whipped cream, buttercream has a thicker texture and is often used for piping as it holds the shapes and structures better. Flavourings such are also often added to make it greater than being just aesthetically pleasing.

Below I have listed the best buttercream recipes that I came up with. Enjoy!

Best buttercream recipe – Four types of buttercream to make

American buttercream

Also known as Decorator’s buttercream, decorator’s frosting and simple buttercream

Level: 

American-buttercream

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup (225g) of unsalted butter
  • 4 cups (420g) of confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (50g) of milk
  • Food flavourings (e.g vanilla extract) according to personal preference
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Place the cubed, softened butter in your stand mixer and whip it on medium speed for about 2 minutes (until smooth).
  2. Incorporate half of the sifted sugar and mix on low speed.
  3. Add the remaining sifted sugar and beat until smooth.
  4. In the last step, add the milk, salt and flavourings into the mixture and beat until incorporated evenly.

American buttercream is beautifully creamy and a bit more heat-resistant than other buttercreams. No cooking is involved and it is by far the easiest and quickest buttercream to make. Due to its high sugar content, it is the sweetest amongst all buttercreams. Some recipes will tell you to combine all ingredients together in a bowl and mix at once but I would recommend beating the butter until smooth and fluffy before continue with any other steps as you will yield a fluffier and lighter buttercream afterwards. You may add some cream if you prefer a thinner texture. Oppositely, add more sugar if you would like a thicker buttercream. Salted butter can be used as an alternative to the unsalted butter – simply ignore the pinch of salt you would normally add.

Tip: The formation of crust, which causes the icing to be less sticky, is due to the evaporation of milk. You can add some corn syrup into the mix to alleviate this.

French buttercream

Also known as Common buttercream

Level: ★★★

French-buttercream

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg yolks (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup (113g) of butter
  • 1/2 cup (55g) of confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • Food flavourings (e.g vanilla extract) according to personal preference
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Place the egg yolks into the stand mixer bowl and beat on medium-low speed for about five minutes – until the egg yolks are fluffy and pale.
  2. At the same time, heat sugar together with water in a saucepan. Cook on a high heat until a 118°C is recorded on your sugar thermometer.
  3. Once 118°C has been reached, turn the stand mixer to low speed and gently, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg yolk mixture.
  4. As all the sugar syrup has been added, turn the mixer to medium-high speed and continue to beat until the bowl has a neutral feel to the touch. This takes about 15 minutes and means that the mixture has reached the room temperature.
  5. Slowly add the cubed, softened butter into the mixture, one chunk at a time, and continue to beat on medium-high speed. Don’t worry of curds appear in the mixture. Beat on high speed and it will go away later.
  6. Lastly, add your flavourings and salt and mix it all.

French buttercream is a rich, velvety and smooth buttercream and many would agree that it has a far more sexy taste than the American buttercream. Due to the egg yolks and butter used, it appears to be bright yellow and contains a high-fat proportion, making it melts easily. Therefore, it is best suited for a filing or icing but not for decorating. I personally think that the French buttercream is fairly hard to be mastered, as cooking a hot sugar syrup is involved in the process, especially if you do not have a sugar thermometer.

Tips: If you do not have a sugar thermometer with you, you need to look for the ‘soft ball stage’. This is when a soft flexible ball is formed when you drop a little sugar syrup into cold water. If you remove it from water, it will flatten like a pancake in your hand after a few moments.

Swiss meringue buttercream

Also known as Common buttercream

Level: ★★

Swiss-meringue-buttercream

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 11/2 cup (300g) of caster sugar
  • 31/2 cup (400g) of unsalted butter
  • Food flavourings (e.g vanilla extract) according to personal preference

Instructions:

  1. Combine egg whites and sugar and slowly heat them in a double boiler. Note that the boiling water below should not be high enough to be in contact with the bottom of the bowl containing the mixtures. Whisk constantly and cook until the sugar dissolves or until the temperature of the mix reaches 60 °C (140 °F).
  2. Place the mixture in a stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed for about 10-15 minutes – until it is cooled down to the room temperature. The mixture should look white and fluffy now.
  3. Slowly add the cubed, softened butter into the mixture, one chunk at a time, and continue to beat on medium-high speed.
  4. Add flavourings and mix.

How can we miss out the Swiss meringue buttercream when we are discussing the best buttercream recipe? This is probably considered my favourite buttercream! Best known for its silky and creamy texture and thanks to its stiff meringue base, the Swiss meringue buttercream holds shapes well and will not crust. It is well-balanced between richness and sweetness and is recommended for piping and decorating. Also, this is a lot easier to make when compared with the Italian meringue buttercream!

You may click here to read my previous post about frosting a perfect cake with Swiss meringue buttercream.

Tips: You MUST heat slowly in the first step or you will end up with scrambled egg. Not very nice, is it? Also, to make sure the sugar has dissolved, you can check by rubbing a bit of the mixture between your fingers.

Italian Meringue Buttercream

Level: ★★★

Italian-meringue-buttercream

Ingredients:

  • 5 egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) of caster sugar
  • 1 cup (225g) of butter
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) of water
  • Food flavourings (e.g vanilla extract) according to personal preference

Instructions:

  1. Firstly we are going to make some sugar syrup. Heat sugar together with water in a saucepan. Cook on a high heat until a 118°C is recorded on your sugar thermometer.
  2. During the waiting time, place the egg whites into the stand mixer bowl and beat on low speed. Turn the speed to medium-high when the egg whites start to froth.
  3. As the eggs start to stiffen, slowly and steadily add the 1/4 cup of sugar into the egg white mixture and continue to beat until stiff peaks are achieved – bowl can be held upside down and the egg whites stay put.
  4. Once 118°C has been reached, turn the stand mixer to low speed and very slowly, gently pour the sugar syrup into the mixture.
  5. As all the sugar syrup has been added, turn the mixer to medium-high speed and continue to beat until the bowl has a neutral feel to the touch. This takes about 10-15 minutes and means that the mixture has reached the room temperature.
  6. Slowly add the cubed, softened butter into the mixture, one chunk at a time, and continue to beat on medium-high speed. Make sure that the butter cube is well-combined before you add a new chunk.
  7. Add flavourings and mix.

The Italian meringue buttercream is a lot lighter in colour when compared with other buttercreams. It has an identical texture and consistency with the Swiss buttercream – both of them hold well, are widely used for cake decorating and piping and definitely can be your top options when you are planning an outdoor summer party. Similar to the French buttercream, the preparation process of Italian buttercream is tricky due to the sugar syrup involved.

Which one is your favourite?

That’s all for now! I hope that you like these best buttercream recipes of mine! If you are just starting out and haven’t got yourself a stand mixer, a hand mixer is totally perfect too.

Click here to find out the best hand mixers on the market

Let me know what you think and if you have any question please leave it in the comment and I am here to help! 🙂

 

 

 

 

8 Comments

  • Leith

    Hi Crysta

    This is amazing!! I have a slight problem now, I now need to go bake a cake so I can make the buttercream (I dont bake) and because they all sound DELICIOUS! I’m gonna have to go make all of them!!

    Thanks sooo much for the recipies, also very insightful, Love your sight, its clean, simple and gives you all the info you need. Easy to read.

    Regards
    Leith

    Cant wait to read more blogs

    Regards
    Leith

    • Crystal

      Hi Leith,

      I’m glad that you like my post!:)
      I can share a secret with you and actually solves your problem.
      Sometimes I don’t bake – I just make the buttercream and eat it haha!
      Maybe you can try this too!

  • Matts Mom

    Wow, first of all, I did not know they were called buttercream. I have always just thought of them as different frostings. I like the first one, American Buttercream as it seems the most simplistic of all of them. We have a birthday coming up, and I always make the cake…but buy the frosting. This seems so easy, I am going to give it a try! Probably much better than the store bought stuff.

    • Crystal

      Absolutely! I used to buy prepared buttercream as well but over time I find it is more enjoyable to make my own! Especially when you can tweak the sugar level and the flavourings yourself:) Wish you have a nice day trying to make your own buttercream! If you ever need help you can come to me!

  • Kim Clayden

    I am a simpleton when it comes to baking. However, after reading this I will try some different ones other than the decorating buttercream. I am officially drooling all over my keyboard! Thanks for a great article. I look forward to reading more!

    • Crystal

      I know! Sometimes we just want the cake haha!
      But there are also some occasions that we need to put in more effort, for example, I hold summer parties at home sometimes.
      And this is when I am putting everything I know into my cake haha!

      I’m glad that you like my post and looking forward to see your comment in my upcoming post:)

  • catherine

    I absolutely love the Italian buttercream. It is so light and fluffy. I have never had a go at making it though and maybe I will now. Which one is your personal favourite and why? Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Crystal

      I would say the Swiss buttercream is my favourite! I love the Italian buttercream too but it’s a bit more hassle in making it as you need to cook the sugar syrup! And the Swiss buttercream is also a great choice when you are piping:)

      Looking forward to the day you make your own buttercream! You can share your masterpiece with me if you don’t mind!

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