This American buttercream frosting recipe makes enough to frost one 9x13” sheet cake or one 8” or 9” round 2-layer cake or to generously ice 12 cupcakes (as seen in photos above) or modestly ice 24 cupcakes. This recipe may be doubled or even tripled if you have a mixing bowl that is large enough. This icing is great for decorating and may be used under fondant.
2-4Tablespoonsheavy cream or milkplus more as needed (see "Tips" section in post for substitutes)
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a large bowl and an electric mixer) and beat on low-speed until creamy and smooth.
Add 1 cups (125g) of powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and turn mixer to low speed¹ and stir until combined. Slowly add remaining powdered sugar until completely combined. Mixture will likely look very dry.
Add heavy cream or milk, one tablespoon at a time. Start with mixer on low-speed and gradually increase speed to medium-high, beating on this speed for several seconds to whip the liquid into the batter and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Add additional cream until desired consistency is reached. If you accidentally add too much liquid and make your buttercream too soft, you can usually salvage the icing by adding more powdered sugar
If using food coloring, stir it in here at the end. Gel food coloring is my preference for vibrantly colored icing.
I recommend piping icing over your cupcakes or frosting your cake immediately. See notes below or in the post on how to store buttercream and use at a later date.
¹If you’re using a stand mixer, a nice way to combine the sugar and butter without dusting your kitchen with powdered sugar is to cover the mixer with a clean dish towel (see video).
If not using immediately, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Before using allow to come to room temperature, you may need to mix it again to reach proper consistency.
May be frozen in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator for 1-2 days then bring to room temperature and re-whip with mixer before using. Once you have iced your cake or cupcakes, this icing will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days (unless you are in a very hot/humid environment) or will keep in the refrigerator for a week.As with most frostings, this recipe is primarily butter and sugar and will not hold up well to high temperatures (ex: being served on a cake outside in the summertime). It can be used under fondant.