How to Make Buttercream: The Ultimate Guide

Everyone knows that buttercream is the ultimate pièce de résistance when it comes to baking your yummy treats. But learning how to perfect buttercream while making sure that your mixes doesn’t have any bubbles can be a frustrating task. 

Here at Tate & Lyle Sugars, we’ve been around long enough to figure out some handy tips and tricks to help bakers make the most of their baked goodies. Based on our years of experience in perfecting it, we’ve created this guide to help any new bakers out there to master the art of beautiful buttercream.

We’re pretty confident that you already know what buttercream is, but for the people who are completely knew to this whole buttercream thing, it’s quite simply butter and icing sugar that has been creamed (mixed) together to form a sweet tasting frosting to accompany cupcakes, cakes and anything else you want to add it to! 

 

How To Flavour Buttercream Icing

Buttercream is a versatile addition to any sweet baked treat. But, because it’s made up of butter, sugar and a little touch of milk, the mixture makes for the perfect base to get creative with when it comes to experimenting with different flavours.  

You can flavour buttercream with almost any flavour you can think of, but these are some of the most popular flavours, and the ones we find most interesting:

  • Classic vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Nutella
  • Mocha
  • Raspberry
  • Baileys
  • Peanut Butter
  • Chocolate Orange
  • Lemon

Thanks to its versatility, buttercream is a flexible addition to pretty much all cakes and cupcakes. If you can find a unique flavouring to add something unusual to your bakes, then they’re much more likely to be memorable.  

Perhaps not surprisingly, the two most popular and common flavours for buttercream are vanilla and chocolate. Read on the find out how to make chocolate and vanilla buttercream. 

 

How To Make Heavenly Chocolate Buttercream

Chocolate buttercream is a frosting favourite for a range of different cakes, you can most usually find it on top of cupcakes, chocolate fudge cakes and Bundt cakes.

Chocolate buttercream is the same as plain buttercream, but with the deliciously ingenious addition of chocolate and cocoa powder! To make your chocolate buttercream, follow this simple recipe:

Our simple chocolate buttercream recipe

Ingredients:

  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 400g icing sugar
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2tbsp milk

Method:

  1. Simply melt the chocolate and stir until completely molten, then leave the chocolate to cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Next, mash the butter and icing sugar together with a fork first, and then move to a wooden spoon or electric whisk (if you have one).
  3. Finally, sift in the cocoa and pour in the melted chocolate, then mix until it’s silky smooth and has no lumps.

 

How To Make Vanilla Buttercream

Vanilla buttercream is a simple recipe where you add vanilla flavouring to the mixture, simply follow the chocolate buttercream recipe but instead of adding chocolate you might choose to add vanilla essence. You can see a simple recipe as shown below:

Our vanilla buttercream recipe

Ingredients:

  • 600g icing sugar, sifted
  • 300g unsalted or salted butter, softened
  • A dash of vanilla extract

Method:

As above, simply beat the sugar and butter together until smooth, then add a vanilla flavouring of your choice – but just a dash, mind!

 

What’s The Best Vanilla Flavouring To Use?

Using a quality vanilla flavouring is a sure-fire way to get the most out of your buttercream. However, this can often be dependent on your budget, and not everyone will be happy to part with more money than they must.

As long as you have some form of vanilla flavouring, it doesn’t really matter which type you choose to use, it’ll all be down to personal taste, and you’ll learn what works best for you – that’s the beauty of trial and error!

 

How To Get Smooth Buttercream

Making smooth buttercream is the goal for most bakers so we’ve put together all our best tips to help you get the smoothest, lump and bubble-free buttercream possible.

Tip #1: Use a paddle attachment

Tip #2: Mix on the lowest speed

Tip #3: Get the consistency right

Tip #4: Mix by hand at the end to get rid of any air bubbles

Tip #5: Repeat step 4 as much as needed

 

How To Store Buttercream

Buttercream is extremely versatile and can be stored easily and safely – no fuss, no muss. Simply keep your buttercream refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks before using. We suggest removing the buttercream from the fridge at least an hour before using it, to give it a chance to warm up to room temperature for easier spreadability.

Your buttercream can also be frozen for extended storage periods.

 

How Much Buttercream Do You Need To Cover a Cake?

We’ve created this easy to table so that you can always be sure on how much icing to make, depending on the size of cake it is you’re baking. Feel free to print it out and stick it in your book of baking recipes!

 

The easy guide to how much buttercream you’ll need:

 

Between Layers

 

For Top

 

For Sides

 

Total Amount

Cake Size

Butter

Icing Sugar

 

Butter

Icing Sugar

 

Butter

Icing Sugar

 

Butter

Icing Sugar

6”

50g

100g

+

50g

100g

+

100g

200g

=

200g

400g

8”

75g

150g

+

75g

150g

+

150g

300g

=

300g

600g

10”

125g

250g

+

125g

250g

+

175g

350g

=

425g

850g

12”

175g

350g

+

175g

350g

+

200g

400g

=

550g

1100g

14”

250g

500g

+

250g

500g

+

250g

500g

=

750g

1500g

16”

325g

650g

+

325g

650g

+

300g

600g

=

950g

1900g

 

For cupcakes:

 

Butter

Icing Sugar

Rose Swirl

10g

20g

Tall Swirl

15g

30g

 

We hope this guide has helped you make the most scrumptious buttercream you’ve ever tasted! Now that you know how to successfully make buttercream like a pro, be sure to pass this guide along to your family and friends!