Ann Reardon

Buttercream Cupcake Frosting Recipes

butter cream cupcakes recipes howtocookthat

Basic butter cream or American buttercream is an easy cupcake frosting to make. Today we will look at the basic recipe and some of my favourite variations.

UPDATE: See seven different frosting recipes in a taste test and in the Aussie sun for a heat test on this more recent post. You may also like to check out the chocolate frostings taste test.

To completely cover and fill two 20cm (7.87 inches) round cakes layered on top of each other you will need to double this recipe.


Basic Buttercream Frosting for Cupcakes Recipe

how to pipe butter cream roses using only a ziplock bag

120g (4.23 ounces) or 1/2 cup butter or margarine
2  1/2 cups or 315g (11.11 ounces) icing sugar (icing mixture is fine-it does not have to be pure icing sugar)
0-4 Tbsp or 0-60 millilitres (2.03 fluid ounces (60.03 millilitres)) milk or cream Often when using margarine I don’t use any milk at all.

Leave the butter to soften at room temperature, then beat together with the icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk (or cream ) until smooth and light in colour. Add extra spoons of milk one at a time until the desired consistency is reached.


Vanilla Buttercream Frosting for Cupcakes Recipe

Follow the basic buttercream recipe above and add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract with your first tablespoon of milk.


My Very Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

300 millilitres (10.14 fluid ounces) or 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp cream
2 tsp vanilla
2  1/2 cups or 315g (11.11 ounces) icing sugar

Whip the cream and then continue to whip until it turns to butter.  Pour off the liquid, mix slowly for 30 more seconds, pour off any extra liquid – repeat until most of the liquid is gone.  Add the vanilla and icing sugar and beat until smooth.


Lemon Buttercream Frosting for Cupcakes Recipe

Swap the milk in the above basic buttercream recipe for freshly squeezed lemon juice. Yum! The tartness of the lemon helps offset the sweetness of the buttercream.


Coffee Buttercream Frosting for Cupcakes Recipe

Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of instant coffee in 1/4 teaspoon of boiling water. Add it in with your first Tablespoon of milk in the basic buttercream recipe above.


Fresh Raspberry Buttercream Frosting for Cupcakes Recipe

1/2 cup or 70g (2.47 ounces) frozen raspberries
50 millilitres (1.69 fluid ounces) or 3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice
Combine in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the raspberries soften and fall apart. Strain through a fine metal seive – you will need to push the pulp through so that you are left with mainly seeds.
Return the raspberry puree to the pan and heat until it reduces in volume down to two tablespoons. Cool completely – to speed up the cooling process you may wish to spread on a plate and place in fridge.
Swap the milk in the basic buttercream recipe for the raspberry puree.

Top cupcakes with a swirl of raspberry buttercream and a fresh raspberry.


Smooth Coconut Buttercream Frosting for Cupcakes Recipe

coconut buttercream recipe for cupcakes

240g (8.47 ounces) or 1 cup plus 1.5 Tbsp butter
1 cup or 78g (2.75 ounces) shredded coconut
2 1/2 cups or 315g (11.11 ounces) icing sugar
1-4 Tbsp or 15-60 millilitres (2.03 fluid ounces (60.03 millilitres)) milk or cream

Heat butter and coconut in a pan and bring to the boil. Strain through a fine metal sieve – push on the coconut until you have 120g (4.23 ounces) or 1/2 cup of butter. Allow to cool.
Whip the now flavoured butter, icing sugar and 1 Tablespoon of cream until smooth. Add remaining cream one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Top cup cakes with coconut butter cream and sprinkle with shredded coconut.


Fresh Stem Ginger Buttercream Frosting for Cupcakes

Fresh ginger is such a unique flavour. Here is my recipe (shhh it’s a secret) for infusing that flavour into butter cream.

300 millilitres (10.14 fluid ounces) or 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp cream
10g (0.35 ounces) or 2 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 1/2 cups or 315g (11.11 ounces) icing sugar

Place the cream and ginger in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Leave to cool completely, this allows the ginger flavour to infuse into the cream.
Strain using a fine wire sieve – pushing on the ginger will give a more intense flavour. Discard the ginger.
Using a stand mixer, beat the cream for approximately 10 minutes. It will thicken and whip and then separate into butter and a milky liquid. Drain off the liquid and beat for another 30 seconds. Repeat this last step until most of the liquid is gone.
Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.


Popping Sugar Buttercream Frosting for Cupcakes

This one is always popular at kids parties and when the boys take cakes in for cake day at school.

Make the basic vanilla butter cream recipe (or any of the flavours you like) and mix in 2 tablespoons of popping sugar. When the kids, or adults take a bite the popping sugar pops on their tongue.


Banana Buttercream Frosting for Cupcakes Recipe

banana buttercream recipe for cupcakes

180g (6.35 ounces) or 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp butter
2 really over-ripe bananas, mashed
2 1/2 cups or 315g (11.11 ounces) icing sugar
1-4 Tbsp or 15-60 millilitres (2.03 fluid ounces (60.03 millilitres)) milk or cream
Melt the butter in a pan, add bananas and stir and cook for a minute. Leave for 10 minutes to cool slightly but not set.
Strain through a fine metal sieve – do not push the banana through you just want the butter. Leave the butter to cool completely and set.
Measure 120g (4.23 ounces) of the banana butter and beat with the icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of cream. Add more cream as needed to reach desired consistency.

Pipe onto cupcakes and top with candied fresh banana – for help making candy see sugar decorations post


Chocolate Buttercream Frosting for Cupcakes

120g (4.23 ounces) or 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp butter
1 1/3 cups or 168g (5.93 ounces) icing sugar
1/2 cup or 60g (2.12 ounces) cocoa powder
1-2 tsp milk

Leave the butter to soften at room temperature then beat together with the icing sugar and cocoa powder and 1 tsp of milk. Beat until smooth adding an extra tsp of milk if needed. Note for a more intense choc flavour frosting beat this in equal quantities with dark chocolate ganache.

Smooth Buttercream Base Colour for Piping Designs or Flowers

how to pipe easy buttercream flowers

125g (4.41 ounces) or 1 cup icing sugar
25g (0.88 ounces) or 2 Tbsp butter

Melt the butter, add the icing sugar and mix well. It may be a little runny at first, simply allow to cool a little and then place on cupcakes.

Alternatively if you have already made your buttercream you can heat some spoonfuls of it in the microwave and add extra icing sugar to make the desired consistency. Covering the cupcake in the warmed buttercream gives a smooth glossy finish.

N.B Two quantities of this buttercream will cover the top and sides and one inside layer of a cake 20.5cm (8.07 inches) in diameter and 9cm (3.54 inches) tall

Also check out these gourmet cupcakes – lemon meringue cupcake recipe, chocolate orange cupcake with gnache frosting,  choc mint cupcake recipe,

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ann reardon crazy sweet creations cookbook
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All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

395 Comments View Comments

  1. Rating: 4

    Hi Ann,
    I plan to make Cookie Monster cupcakes. Will the basic buttercream frosting recipe work well for the blue icing? Do you know how to make a natural blue color? Thank you so much. 😉

    • Hi Ervina, yes the basic frosting recipe is perfect, we just made some this weekend with a bunch of kids – great fun. For natural blue colour you can get 2 cups of chopped red cabbage and place it in a bowl, just cover with boiling water and leave overnight. Strain the liquid and boil down to concentrate. It will be purplish. Add a tiny bit of bicarb of soda or vinegar and it will turn blue. Use a small amount in your icing, this will give a pale blue instead of the intense blue and taste will be effected. This is basically the process that is used to make food colours – they look at what is it in a substance that makes it blue and then just use that and leave out the things that taste etc.

  2. I will frost the cupcakes in 3 days for a Birthday party.
    How long will the icing stay in the fridge or freezer?

    • Hi Angie, in a sealed bag you can keep it in the fridge as long as you would keep butter for.

  3. Rating: 5

    Hi, Ann I just want you to know I’m so happy I discovered your website. I have learned sooooo much. Thank you!!!! Also, with the butter cream recipes can they all be used to decorate a cake? The Barbie cake imparticular I’m gonna attempt to make that one for my daughters birthday next week.

    • Yes you can use them to decorate any cake you like.

  4. Hi, Ann,
    I live in Cayman Islands ,so the weather is so hot.
    Please, what kind of buttercream recipe hold better in hot weather?
    May I try half shortening / half butter?
    Thanks a lot 🙂

    • Hi Paula, I live in Australia, it is forecast for 104 degrees F this tuesday, so it is hot here too. I find the buttercream is fine, I keep it int he fridge and then bring it out just prior to serving. If you have to have it out of the fridge for a while before serving and you are taking it outside then obviously it is going to soften a lot. White chocolate ganache made with candy melts might offer you a more stable solution. Or italian meringue which is one of my favourite frostings for taste.

  5. What kind of butter do you use? unsalted butter or regular?

    • Hi marisol I used unsalted butter

      • Thank you 😀

  6. Hello Ann,
    I love your recipe for the buttercream. There’s just one problem for me. I don’t really know how to work with cups. Can you please tell me how much one cup of Frosting sugar is in Grams? Thank you!
    Greetings from the Netherlands~!

    • 1 cup icing sugar=140g

  7. hi ann

    I have often tried the traditional recipe of butter, icing/powdered sugar, and milk, but always it turns grainy, may be sometimes more, sometimes less. Can you please help me ?

    • Hi elizabeth, try leaving the mixer running for longer to allow the sugar to dissolve int he icing.

  8. Rating: 5

    Hi,, ann thank for basic buttercream recipe .. i love it!

  9. If i add color to the vanilla buttercream how do i get a rich blue color like on your cookie monster video. My buttercream is too yellow, it is making the colors look strange.

    • Hi chary, if you use gel colour it is more intense to gives a strong blue. If the butter where you live is all very yellow it may have yellow flavouring added, in that case use the very vanilla buttercream recipe here instead

      • Thank you very much, is it fine to add color to very vanilla or will the cream make it split?

  10. Rating: 5

    I love ur work so good
    I make birthday cakes in Cairo Egypt I love cooking
    Thank you for everything

  11. hiya…your so fab and make it look so easy..i would like to try your cookie minster receipe..for the blue buttercream colour did you use paste or liquid colouring please..many thanks hun x

    • Hi Josie, I used gel colour.

  12. Rating: 5

    thank you..really useful..i guess finally i found the right website whihc will expertise me in bakin cakes

  13. hello ann, im from mexico and i have two questions… the first is… do you have a video making Your Very Vanilla Buttercream Recipe? and the other is… when you said… whip until butter, what are you refering to? i don´t understand how it looks like, i hope you can answer. thanks 🙂

    • Hi Carmen, No I do not have a very vanilla buttercream recipe video as yet… whip until butter means if you beat the cream until it is stiff and then keep beating it – then it will become butter – the fatty part will seperate from the watery part of the cream – tip off the watery part, keep beating some more and tip off any extra watery bit and you’ve got butter. Butter you buy from the shops of course then has added flavours, yellow colour and salt. So if you make your own butter it gives a nicer buttercream frosting.

  14. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,

    WOW!!! I am so glad i found youre website!

    You have worlds greatest recipe for buttercream.
    Also i want to tell you that youre the one who makes decorating easy!!
    You show it to us perfectly en it is so easy te follow.
    Forgive me for my bad English but i am from The Netherlands.

    I just want to let you know that i am a big fan of you!

  15. When you make your buttercream frosting for the princess cake,do you just add the red food courting or you make a flavored one??? 🙂

    • add a little red food colour to the basic recipe, but you can use a flavour if you prefer.

      • would you need to double the quantities for the princess cake?

        • That depends if you are making the fondant one – no or the buttercream one – yes

          • thanks 🙂

  16. Rating: 5

    Thanks very much for sharing your recipes. I’m a newbie and I want to learn all types of icing. Your recipes are very helpful. Thanks and lot and more power to you.

  17. I was looking at the cookie monster cupcakes and was directed here for the blue buttercream recipe but couldn’t see it? Could you post the directions or a link please?
    -Jen from Sydney, Australia

  18. I have been told regular buttercream icing (butter +icing sugar) lasts for ages but what about the icings made with cream, how long do they keep? I have a lot of macarons to make for a party on friday night and want to get as much prep done as possible 🙂 (today is Wednesday … argh..)

    • Hi Grainne, If you make ganache now it will still be fine on Friday it lasts very well. However if you want to fill your macaroons with whipped cream do that at the last minute as the moisture in it will dissolve the bases of the macaroons if you do it the day before. (ganache is fine to do a couple of days before – I fill and store in the fridge in airtight containers).

  19. Hi Ann~ Thanks for posting these great recipes! Do you think you could tell me what your recipe for chocolate buttercream frosting is? 🙂 Thank you!! ~Tiffany from California

    • Wow, how did I miss that one, it is one of my favourites and I even put it in the picture at the top – thanks Tiffany for letting me know that it was missing – my chocolate buttercream recipe is now added to the post. Enjoy!

      • Ann-

        Hooray! 😀

        ~Tiffany from California

  20. Thank you so much! I really love your recipes. I have a question though: I’m not a fan of sweet stuffs, so i wonder how should i adjust the ingredients to make these frostings taste less sweet?

    • Hi Quynh, Are you after a frosting that is lower in sugar or just tastes less sweet? Easy way to make it taste less sweet is to add something slaty such as peanut butter (if you don’t have an allergy to peanuts of course). But to make it lower in sugar is difficult in buttercream as the icing sugar is there to thicken it. Have you tried the cream cheese frosting. You could leave even more sugar out of that one if it is still too sweet for you…

    • Hi,

      Can I know what cream you use to make buttercream icing? Is it thickend cream?

      • Hi pavi, I am not sure what country you are in, here in Australia we have thickened cream, pouring cream and just plain cream any of them are fine as long as it is not light cream. If you look at the nutritional info it should be around 30% fat.

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