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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My Cookbook

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: 5

    I get the feeling your smooth butter cream base recipe, has the butter /icing sugar quantitys mixed up? As 25g of butter, and 125g of icing sugar. Doesn’t really make anything.

    Only found that out after trying it with cupcakes!

    Love the doll cake recipe. Certainly couldn’t get a bag to pipe like you did, so I rendered it. Not bad for a dad job.

  2. Rating: 5

    Silly question but does your basic buttercream recipe use salted or unsalted butter???

    • Rating: 5


      • I think unsalted as i made this error first year making the Thomas cake on here and it wasnt very nice!!

        Happy baking

        • Admin HowToCookThat June 25, 2015, 11:49 amReply
          Hi Ridhi, Where the recipe specifically calls for butter, Ann uses unsalted butter.

          Hope ths helps.

  3. Rating: 5

    Hello Ann,
    Everytime I make butter cream, it turns out to be gritty and over sweet. Can you please help? I use store bought icing sugar.

  4. Rating: 4.5

    will the “basic buttercream” one work for cakes too?

    • Hi Samantha yes it will

  5. Rating: 2.5

    I’ve tried the basic buttercream recipe a few times and every time I do my mixture separates into water and buttery goo. What am I doing wrong?

    • Hi Velislava, If you are having trouble with splitting – mix just the butter/margarine together with the icing sugar, whip until it is as fluffy as you like it then on low speed add in the cream/milk if needed.

  6. Rating: 4

    Hi there for your basic vanilla butter cream you suggest adding 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract when you add the tablespoon of milk. Is a tablespoon correct or should this read a teaspoon? Seems like a lot of vanilla extract. Thanks, Liz

    • Hi Liz, yes I like a strong vanilla flavour, you can of course add less if you wish. ?

      • OK great – thank you. And on the Unicorn cake as there are so many layers I was wondering if you have ever made the sponges ahead and frozen? I don’t want to compromise the finished product but could do with getting a bit ahead of the game before my daughters party. Thanks in advance.

        • Hi Liz, I always make cakes fresh because I am making them all the time, but I know others do freeze them quite successfully. Just make sure they are completely defrosted before you add any fondant. As the cake defrosts it tends to form condensation which can make fondant wet and soggy.

  7. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann.

    in your recipes you use ‘vanilla’. I am from Germany. Which type of vanilla do you use? Pure, extract, vanilla sugar?


    • Hi, I like to use vanilla bean paste. But if I’ve run out or don’t want the little black seeds then I use vanilla extract.

  8. Rating: 5

    Hi I did My Very Vanilla Buttercream Recipe but I had no vanilla, I learn after I gone shopping, so I made it with mint essence. I only use one tsp and it came out nice. They are Cinnamon Cream Fingers with My Very Mint Buttercream, LOL. 🙂

    • Mint buttercream is yummy, especially if you add some chocolate on top ?

  9. Rating: 4.5

    Are all of these recommended to cover a cake in fondant?

    • Hi Rossana, Yes, you can use any flavour you like under fondant. The only consideration is if your fondant is white then I would not use chocolate – due to the colour. You could use chocolate buttercream between the layers of the cake and then use vanilla on the outside of the cake under the fondant.

    • I always use swiss meringue if I will cover with forndant. Normally just buttercream melts inside in time esp when it is hot. Well that’s just what i do ?

  10. Rating: 5

    What do you think is the creamiest tastiest buttercream? The cream that you blend till it’s butter? And is this good for covering the princess doll cake?
    Thanks so much.
    Your works amazing

  11. Okay weird request… can you make a butter cream that tastes of whipped cream? Unless you already have one idk ?

  12. […] 2 x my chocolate buttercream recipe 3 x ganache recipe cooled in the […]

  13. Hi looking for recipe vanilla frosted icing that I can used outside 1hour weather in Australia heat with out milk and maybe butter .Im not sure confused what recipe to uses for 3x 8 inch cakes can you please help me .I would like to make it with in next 2 days many thanks eve .

    • Hi Eve, I believe you will have made your cake. Fortunately the weather has not been too hot. What frosting did you go with?

  14. hi ann, i would just like to know how to make buttercream white and not yellow?

    • Hi justin, you actually have to colour it. There is a white food colouring that helps to create the pure white colour. You can get this in supermarkets or baking stores.

    • You can also add a tiny bit of purple food colouring to cancel out the yellow. It works really well – just add a veryyy small amount at a time

  15. Hi Ann!
    Could you recommend any particular brand of butter ? My choc buttercream (with ganache) turned quite hard and not really spreadable last year. I’m not sure if that was a butter issue or the wrong cream in the ganache (thanks for the extra info re cream) but I really would love the process to be more ‘smooth’ this year on the lego cake so I don’t ‘bruise’ it before covering with fondant.
    Thank you

  16. Rating: 4.5

    Which butter cream did you use for the Russian Pipping tips? It seemed like the perfect consistency.

  17. Rating: 5

    What is the yield? Could I use this one 3 layer 8″ round cake?

    • (Please and thank you!)

    • Hi Marta, It just depends on what time of decorating you have in mind. I prefer to make extra dn chill what is left fro later use.

  18. i am after the intense chocolate buttercream flavour. what did you mean by equal parts ganache?

    • Hi Ebru that means use half and half- 50% buttercream and 50% ganache.

  19. Hi Ann!

    I want to make the coconut buttercream but I got confused with regards to the quantities of butter needed.
    In the ingredient list it is indicated that 240g of butter is needed but in the method it states: “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.”
    Is it 240g or 120g please?


    • The coconut is going to absorb some of the butter so you’ll start with 240g in the saucepan and squeeze out at least 120g into the bowl.

  20. Where is the template for converse shoe

    • Hi Carmel. The template can be purchased using the Buy it Now button on the blog page above.

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