Classic American Buttercream

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American buttercream is the easiest icing to make, and it’s the most ubiquitous. This is the “starter icing” that I recommend when learning how to make and decorate cakes. It’s versatile, it pipes like a dream and it’s very delicious! The video lesson contains tips on how to take down the “too sweet” flavor. This recipe makes 10 cups of buttercream which is enough to ice four dozen cupcakes or a large layer cake. I recommend always making extra, though. It freezes really well in a ziplock bag (up to six months).


1 pound butter – unsalted, softened

2 pounds powdered sugar (about 8 cups)

1-2 pinches of salt

1 tablespoon genuine vanilla extract

1/4 -1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl of a heavy duty mixer, beat the butter with the paddle attachment. Add the powdered sugar, 1/4 at a time. Add the salt and vanilla extract. Keep beating – stoppping the mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl down with a spatula periodically. Add 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream and continue to beat until it’s all incorporated. Add additional heavy whipping cream if you want a thinner icing. For a fluffier icing, replace the paddle attachment with the balloon whip attachment and beat on high for 3-5 minutes.

Cover icing tightly when storing, as it will form a very thin sugar crust. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks – in the freezer for up to six months.

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