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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Easy Vanilla Buttercream




Wow - it has been a long time since I last posted! I have been super busy writing grants for work and hosting my sister's bridal shower!!! I can't wait to share all the details in upcoming posts. For this one event I did my first entirely fondant-covered cake and my first dessert table! I was so pleased with how everything turned out, and my sister loved it, which made all of the work completely worthwhile.

In my last post, I spoke about the 1st birthday party my friends threw for their son. I did his small cake and these cupcakes for the rest of the guests. I used a yellow cake box mix here, and am so glad I did because everyone raved about how light and fluffy the cupcakes were.

I'm not a huge fan of canned frosting, probably because my aunt makes the best homemade buttercream frosting ever (my grandma's recipe). I have never tried to replicate her recipe since she adds a little of this and a little of that until it's perfect. I decided to turn to the Test Kitchen for this Easy Buttercream recipe. I have to say, it's delicious and very, very easy! It's not quite as light and smooth as Swiss Meringue Buttercream, but takes much less time and was actually preferred over the Swiss version by my husband. This is now my go-to buttercream recipe when I need something quick and delicious.

Easy Vanilla Buttercream

Yield: makes enough buttercream to frost 12 cupcakes or a 1-layer cake; double this recipe for a 2-layer cake

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (5 ounces)
pinch of table salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream

1. In standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. NOTE: if using a hand-held mixer, increase mixing times by at least 50%.

2. Add powdered sugar and salt, and beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds.

3. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla extract and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds.

4. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

5. Tint frosting with gel food coloring, if desired. Use immediately or store in refrigerator. If refrigerated, allow frosting to come to room temperature before use.

Source: America's Test Kitchen Complete TV Show Cookbook


  1. Not only do these sound delish, but I LOVE the color of the frosting! :)

  2. Wow, this looks so smooth for powder sugar icing. Usually it can come out kind of gritty, I am going to have to try this recipe out soon!

  3. Gotta love a good buttercream!

  4. Can't wait to see the post about your sister's bridal shower! I still haven't found a buttercream I'm completely in love with, so I'll try this one next :)


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