Classic American Buttercream
This is a really versatile recipe that is super easy to make and keeps for ages. Because of that, you can be confident leaving it at room temperature on, or in your cake creations and it will hold. Essentially it’s 1 part butter and two parts icing sugar, stay close to that and you can tailor it to your own tastes. For example, if I’m topping a cupcake with a generous swirl of buttercream and need something a little slicker and less sweet, I might go down to 1 part butter and 1 part icing sugar. Bare in mind though, the more icing sugar, the fluffier, paler and more stable it is, so I wouldn’t advise this for the inside of a tiered cake in the height of summer!
Speaking of variations, I’ve included a bunch below - but feel free to experiment yourself. For example, add a couple of shots of espresso to the chocolate buttercream and there you have a mocha filling. Or scatter in a handful of toasted coconut chips and you’re on your way to making my favourite Frappuccino flavour!
This will make roughly enough to layer and frost the outside of 1 x 8” cake. If you have any left, you can freeze it for up to 3 months so you have some ready for your next project.
-500g salted butter (at room temperature)
-1kg icing sugar
-Vanilla buttercream - Add 3 x tablespoon of vanilla extract or 3 x vanilla pods
-Lemon buttercream - Add the finely grated zest of 6 lemons and the juice of 2.
-Orange buttercream - Add the finely grated zest of 6 lemons
-Chocolate buttercream - replace half the buttercream with chocolate ganache (see recipe)
-Cream cheese - replace half of the butter with full fat Philadelphia cream cheese. (This particular variation is only suitable for cakes that can be stored in the refrigerator)
You will also need:
-Freestanding electric mixer with paddle attachment or electric hand whisk
- Place the butter in the bowl on an electric mixer. Make sure it’s room temperature, if not zap it in the microwave.
- Sift the icing sugar on top.
- Bring the mixture together at a low speed. (HOT TIP! Before turning the mixer on, wrap a tea towel round the gap between the bowl and beater, pinching it at the back, otherwise clouds of icing sugar will go everywhere and you’ll end up looking like the ghost of Christmas past!)
- Turn the speed up to medium, then high and beat for a good few minutes until pale and fluffy.
- Add any colourings or flavour variations and beat further until combined.
- Use immediately or store for a couple of weeks in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer. Beat it again once it’s reached room temperature.