Easy American Buttercream Frosting

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Every baker should  have an easy American buttercream frosting recipe! Some swear by Swiss buttercream while others prefer Italian Meringue or French buttercreams. This classic vanilla buttercream recipe is my favorite for cake decorating.

Vanilla American Buttercream frosting in a turquoise bowl

None are wrong… or right… and depend on a number of things:

  1. The climate you live in. Even living in PA, the humidity can have a HUGE effect on how a cake looks in the summer vs. the winter.
  2. Your budget and the amount of prep time you’re dealing with.
  3. Who you’re baking for. If it’s a personal cake, you might take the time to make the sugar syrup needed for an Italian Meringue. If you’re in a bakery that emphasizes mass production, you’re probably sticking with an American buttercream.

American buttercream is the only one that doesn’t use egg whites or egg yolks. Instead, it uses a large amount of powdered sugar and butter. I’m a total sweet tooth, so this combo works for me! Others find it a bit too sweet, but I think that’s total hogwash. 😉

2 tier Dr. Seuss decorated birthday cake with fondant accents

I’m also a giant procrastinator combined multi-tasker, so anything that whips together quickly without me having to pay too much attention, is my preference. I’ve made all the other varieties, and they just require too much focus for my personality!

I use this Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe under pretty much all of my fondant cakes

2 tier pirate birthday cake with fondant accents

and cupcakes.

cupcakes with Dr. Who fondant toppers

I even spread it thinly on cookies that get a fondant topper.

Bonus points for this recipe because it stores well in the refrigerator. I just set it out for 30 minutes before I need it and then rewhip it with a spoon.

It’s easy to spread, pipe and smooth out air bubbles. I whip it on low to medium low for much longer than you think… maybe 10 minutes or so… to get it perfectly smooth. If you whip it on high to get it done faster, you’ll end up incorporating a lot of air and getting air bubbles all over your finished cake. Slow and steady wins the race.

Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla American Buttercream frosting in a turquoise bowl
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Easy American Buttercream Frosting

This is an easy frosting recipe that's made from scratch! It's perfect for icing cakes or cupcakes or for piping on decorations! 
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: american buttercream frosting, easy frosting recipe, piping frosting, vanilla buttercream
Author: Natalie Dixon

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a stand mixer, beat butter and shortening until well combined and no lumps remain. I often will beat it for close to 10 minutes.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar. Start on the lowest speed and work your way up to medium speed.
  • Gradually add the vanilla extract and milk. Do not go up to the highest speed or you will get air bubbles in your frosting. Mix until well blended.
  • Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Rewhip in stand mixer before using.

Notes

If you want an ultra white frosting, be sure to use clear vanilla extract. I normally use the dark vanilla extract, though, and it still gets as white as you see in the photos. 
This frosting is perfect for coloring different colors for designs! I use Wilton or Ameri-color gel colors for the most vivid colors. 

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Vanilla American Buttercream frosting in a turquoise bowl

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