How to make frosting

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

For many people, cake is just the delivery vehicle for the real star of the show—the frosting. If you agree, you’ll love this five-star buttercream frosting recipe. It’s rich, sweet and foolproof. With 4 ingredients and 10 minutes of effort, this vanilla buttercream fro… MORE+

  • 1
    In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter with spoon or electric mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk.

  • 2
    Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar. Frosts 13×9-inch cake generously, or fills and frosts an 8- or 9-inch two-layer cake.

Expert Tips

  • Allow your butter to soften at room temperature so it easily beats up smoothly with the powdered (sometimes called confectioner’s) sugar.
  • A real buttercream frosting takes little time to make, can be tinted with food coloring (use paste or gel, not liquid food color), and will hold up to one week if tightly covered and refrigerated.
  • Use a real vanilla; imitations are not recommended. If you can find a vanilla bean paste it’s well worth the investment. The role of vanilla is not only for its flavor value, it also enhances the sweetness of the sugar, so bumping up the vanilla allows you to decrease the amount of sugar in recipes.
  • It’s easy to vary the flavor of this core recipe: stir in a dash of almond extract or grated citrus zest.

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