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. Love the recipes. I sure do wish you had a print button among all those stupid sharing buttons.

  2. Is icing sugar powder sugar? If it is not where online can you purchase it from? Your recipes are all so amazing thank you for sharing:)

  3. Smooth Buttercream Base Colour for Piping Designs or Flowers

    125 icing sugar
    25 butter

    How many cups will the above be?

    • Hi Pem 125g icing mixture = just less than one cup (95% full)
      25g butter = 5 teaspoons

  4. Rating: 4.5

    Hello Ann !
    first I really like all your videos and recipes and so long
    so, can you please tell me what the Icing Sugar is??

    • Hi Mary, thanks for visiting the website 🙂 Icing sugar is sugar ground really finely like a soft white powder and mixed with a little cornstarch to stop it clumping together in the packet. Pure icing sugar has no cornstarch and is more expensive either are fine in this recipe.

  5. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,
    I love how you make everything look so simple! I have two questions. I’m making a wedding shower cake that will be covered in piped roses using a 1M tip and I’m wondering if your pure buttercream frosting (no shortening) will hold the shapes on the roses, which will be piped all over the sides and top covering the entire cake? The other question I have, if I were to use a tip instead of a baggie to pipe the ruffles you used on the barbie cake, do you know what decorater tip would be the equivalent of your baggie cuts? Thanks so much for all of your videos and your time! Sheree

  6. Hi again, would you recommend baking the cake 2 days ahead and/or can it be frozen?

    • Hi Anoushka, yes you can bake it two days ahead but once cooled store in an airtight container and use simple syrup before decorating to ensure it is moist

  7. Rating: 4.5

    hi ann just wanted to know what else can I use for filling in a cake I have made chocolate mousse but I tried making white chocolate it didn’t work.. my kids doesn’t like cheese or nut or buttercream because thay say it taste like butter I really need you help of a good filling its going to be my daughters 12th birthday and I really want to make it nice that she will be happy thank u ann .. I hope u had a great easter

  8. Hi Ann, your recipes are great and very helpful 🙂
    However, by cream, do you mean whipped cream or just cream? I’m from Croatia, and I’m just starting to make cupcakes and all that stuff so I’m not so sure in understanding the recipe.
    Thank you very much 🙂

    • Hi Ines, Just cream, int he USA it is called heavy cream, is it the same in Croatia? It should be around 30% fat

  9. Rating: 4

    Hi Ann,
    Love your website! Can I ask where you would get popping sugar from? is it the same as popping candy you can get from sweet shops?

  10. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann!

    Thanks a lot for your tips; they help a lot!!

    Gwen from Mauritius=)

  11. ahh well im a young baker and i was wondering if the vanilla frosting would work in maccroons … thank you ..

    • Hi Limairi, yes it would but ganache would taste much nicer. If you click on macarons int he index across the top of this website and then on the chic ginger one it has the recipe for flavoured white chocolate ganache.

  12. Hi ann! I’m from the Philippines, where most of the time the weather is humid. What frosting can you suggest that taste good, not too sweet & doesn’t easily melt under hot weather? I’ve tried buttercream but it’s too sweet. Also the whipping cream, it melts the decor ( hardened royal icing) on top.

  13. hi
    I wanted to know if I could use margerine intead of butter and what is cream? do you mean whip? Also can I freeze the cupcakes once they have the buttercream on?

    • Hi susie, yes you can use margarine but as it is softer you will not need much milk. Cream called heavy cream in the USA or just cream or whipping cream in Australia. It is approx 30% fat.

  14. Is this a thick consistency recipe? I’m making a cake with a basket weave design and wanted to use the coffee recipe you have up, but the picture at the top shows two different consistencies. Is this recipe the thicker one in the picture?

    • Hi Naima, yes it is the thick consistency. The thinner one in the picture is the same frosting melted int eh microwave, this is good for dipping the top of cupcakes before piping decoration on them.

  15. Rating: 4.5

    Hi Ann,

    Your Minecraft Cake is amazing! I’m so excited to re-create it for my Son’s birthday this Tuesday. I am confused as to what icing mixture or icing sugar is. Is this the title of a product I can purchase at the store or a combination of things I should prep ahead at home? Is it powdered sugar? Thank you for your time.


    • Hi Jennifer, The pure icing sugar is sugar ground super fine so it looks like white powder, if you look on the ingredients on the packet the only thing list is sugar. Icing mixture is the pure icing sugar plus some cornstarch which helps it not cake together in the bag so it feels softer. Other names include powdered sugar or confectioners sugar. Just check your ingredients if you want to know if it is ‘pure’ or not.

  16. Hi Ann,
    I was wondering can we put ganache in our buttercream to make it chocolate buttercream? If so, how much do we put in? Thanks

  17. Rating: 5

    Anne, I’ve just discovered your website and its awesome! I’m learning os much. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • Thanks Zarina, I am glad you like it

  18. What size cake pans did you use for your minecraft cake–I am trying to make it this weekend

  19. Which buttercream did you use for your princess cake?

    • Hi Benita I used the basic frosting recipe with a little red coloring.

      • Thanks sooo much, I did a test run without the buttercream and cake was too dry! The look of it was awesome though! Loving your recipes, you could be my new Mary Berry 🙂 x

        • Hi Benita, I have updated to a new vanilla cake recipe that I prefer give that one a go and let me know heat you think.

  20. WHich buttercream did you use for the Minecraft cake? and what is pure icing sugar? I live in the states. Thanks

    • Hi Cristin I used the chocolate buttercream recipe.
      Pure icing sugar has only sugar in it, icing mixture has cornflour in the mixture.

      • Do you mean confectioners sugar to use? Also I use a marshmallow fondant will that work ok for minecraft cake?

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