Easy buttercream frosting, not too sweet, super creamy and easy to prepare.
Super Easy Buttercream Frosting Recipe! Technically, it's a fake Swiss meringue buttercream that doesn't require heating the egg whites. Light, creamy and not too sweet. This is my recipe for all my cakes and cupcakes. It flows beautifully and works well under fondant.
The first buttercream I made is from an old Wilton cookbook. Powdered sugar, shortening and vanilla. I struggled SO hard to get my smooth, crunchy edges like the photos I saw in fancy cake decorating books but always ended up with the mega cake fails.
It wasn't until 2010, when I attended Oregon Culinary Institute baking school, that I first heard of other kinds of buttercream. I'll never forget the day we made Swiss meringue buttercream and had to freeze our cake by holding it in one hand and frosting it with a spatula in the other. NO platinum!
I was like, there's no way this will work. But I lifted this cake up and started frosting it like my chef asked me to and couldn't believe how smooth it was on my cake!
Then I tasted it ...
Not too sweet, super silky, melt on the goodness of your tongue !!! For the next 6 years, I only did SMBC for my cakes, which involved a lot of heating the egg whites, whipping, cooling and repeating. I wish I had this recipe at the time! It's so much easier!
How much Easy Buttercream Frosting do I need?
This easy buttercream frosting recipe makes a LOT (12 cups) that essentially fills the bowl of a standard KitchenAid blender. The reason is that when your bowl is filled to the top, it is easier to remove all air bubbles. You can freeze leftover buttercream or store it in the fridge for a week. Just bring it to room temperature and mix it for a few minutes with the paddle to make it creamy before using.
This buttercream frosting is the recipe I wish I had when I was baking 5 wedding cakes a weekend. Now this is the only buttercream frosting I use and my clients love it. Much better than the super sweet frosting I used to see on cakes.
Easy buttercream frosting using pasteurized egg whites
This is the easiest buttercream frosting you'll ever make! The key ingredient is pasteurized egg white. Pasteurized egg whites have been heat treated to kill potentially harmful bacteria without actually cooking the egg. The same process is used in milk to make it safe for consumption. As we use pasteurized egg whites, it is not necessary to heat the egg whites like you do with traditional Swiss meringue recipes (hence the time saving of this recipe!).
Pasteurized egg whites usually come in a box or bag and can be found in the egg section of the grocery store. They will say pasteurized right on the can. If you can't find pasteurized egg whites, you can use regular egg whites, but you'll have to use my Swiss meringue buttercream recipe so you can heat the egg whites first.
How to Make Easy Buttercream Frosting
- Place your egg whites and powdered sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk over low heat to combine. Increase speed and whisk for 5 minutes.
- Reduce the speed to medium and start adding your softened unsalted butter in small pieces until all the butter has been added.
- Add salt and vanilla (or other flavorings if you wish)
- Increase speed again and whisk until you get a light, fluffy color (it will look curdled at first, just let it continue to stir).
- Once your buttercream is smooth, you can change the paddle attachment and let mix on low heat for 15 minutes to reduce bubbles in the buttercream (optional).
- To increase the whiteness of your buttercream, add a drop of purple food coloring to neutralize the yolk in the butter and use a light vanilla extract instead of browning.
How long to keep the icing?
Due to the large amounts of sugar in the buttercream frosting, it can be left at room temperature for 2 days, but I still recommend that you refrigerate leftover buttercream when not in use. to extend the shelf life of buttercream. If you are not going to use buttercream for more than a week, you can freeze it for 6 months or more.
To use frozen or chilled buttercream, let it come to room temperature, then mix on low with the paddle attachment to make it creamy again. Do not whisk or incorporate too much air.
If your buttercream frosting has been at room temperature for more than a day, mix it with a paddle before use. Buttercream tends to become spongy after 24 hours and loses its creamy texture.
What type of butter is best for easy frosting?
Any chef will tell you that a recipe is as good as its ingredients. Buttercream frosting consists of just a few ingredients. Egg white (basically tasteless), sugar (sweet but tasteless so to speak), butter and vanilla. The butter and vanilla is where you get your flavor so the better your butter and vanilla, the better your buttercream frosting will taste.
Now if you're like me and make tons of buttercream frosting for huge cakes you don't want to go full on plugra (the best butter ever) because it's pricey real fast , but if you try to go super cheap and use really poor quality butter or shortening, you're going to feel that greasy aftertaste in your mouth. It's not good.
There is some debate as to whether you should use salted or unsalted butter for your buttercream frosting and I've seen people do both. Personally, I prefer to use unsalted butter so that I can control the amount of salt in my buttercream frosting. The amount of salt in a pound of salted butter is in my opinion way too much for a batch of easy buttercream.
What kind of flavor do you use for easy buttercream frosting?
Same thing with vanilla. Vanilla is SUPER expensive right now thanks to a shortage of vanilla beans, so you have to be smart. You might not want to put a vanilla bean in every batch, but it should not be forgotten in its entirety.
You can also supplement your vanilla with almond extract or you can try making your own vanilla extract from vanilla beans.
You can use any type of flavor for your buttercream frostings, emulsions and extracts that are not "artificial" will always taste better.
Easy-to-make chocolate buttercream frosting
You can turn chocolate buttercream frosting into a delicious chocolate version by adding about 1/4 cup of your favorite cocoa powder to it. I like cocoa powder because it has a rich, pleasant chocolate flavor.
You can also make white chocolate buttercream frosting by adding melted white chocolate into the buttercream frosting. This results in a SUPER stable buttercream which is a combination of buttercream and white chocolate ganache.
Get a really white frosting!
Most buttercream frostings that use real butter will look a bit yellow at first. This is completely normal ! To counteract that yellow tint, you can add a small drop of purple food coloring. I know it sounds crazy, but it really works and it makes your yellow buttercream really white!
Swiss meringue is made with egg whites, sugar, vanilla which is heated, whipped into a meringue, then cooled before adding the butter and whipped until light and fluffy. This buttercream is not as sweet as American buttercream.
Icing ingredients and recipe
Delicious, rich and easy buttercream frosting recipe that anyone can make. It is not a crusted buttercream. It's made from meringue, so it has a slight sheen and chills well in the fridge. Takes 10 minutes to make and is foolproof! Light, chewy and not too sweet.
- Preparation time 5 minutes
- Mixing time 20 minutes
- 24 oz unsalted butter at room temperature. You can use salted butter, but it will affect the taste and you have to leave out the extra salt.
- 24 oz caster sugar, sifted if not in a bag
- 2 C. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 6 oz of pasteurized egg whites
- 1 small drop of purple food coloring (optional) for a whiter frosting
Place the egg whites and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Attach the whisk and mix the ingredients over low heat, then whisk over high heat for 5 minutes.
Add the butter in pieces and whisk with a whisk to combine. It will look curdled at first. This is perfectly normal. It will also look a pretty yellow. Keep whipping.
Whisk over high heat for 8 to 10 minutes until very white, light and shiny.
Paddle and mix on low speed for 15-20 minutes to make the buttercream very smooth and remove air bubbles. You don't have to, but if you want a really creamy frosting, you don't want to ignore it.