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 love your cooking skills, i would use your recipes everyday!!!!!!!…but i can’t, and I’m looking for the buttercream for that cute little cookie monster cupcake and i can’t find it unless its the basic butter cream and you just put blue dye in it. If not please tell me witch one to use!

    One more question could you also get buttercream from your local market?

    • Hi Delanie, yes the basic buttercream with blue. They don’t sell buttercream at our local supermarket, i just make it

  2. Rating: 5

    hello. all your recipes are great and delicious!
    emmm.. in your very vanilla buttercream recipe what kind of cream is?
    a whipping cream or cream cheese?
    please! help me! my birthday its soon and i want to give cupcakes as presents for my guests. thank you!.
    P.S. excuse my english but i hope that you understand! 🙂

    • hi marlo it is regular cream 35% fat here it is called whipping cream, pure cream ,thickened cream, in the US I believe it is heavy cream… not sure where you are from

  3. Rating: 4.5

    Hi Ann!I wanted to ask you about the very vanilla buttercream.You said that we should add any liquid. What liquid should we add?

    • Hi Hana, the liquid that you are pouring off is coming from the cream you do not need to add any extra liquid. When you whip the cream it turns into butter and the liquid separates out.

  4. Rating: 5

    I really enjoying watching your videos
    I love baking and decorating cake

    I have a question the icing sugar is the powder sugar or defferent ??

    • Hi Shaimaa, icing sugar is slightly finer than powdered sugar and contains some cornstarch to stop it clumping together.

  5. Rating: 5

    Hi Anne! First of all…I’m a big fan!! 😀 I’m writing you from Dallas, Texas. I have always attempted buttercream and it was always a fail. I made your recipe and it’s awesome! The one thing I am concerned about is the thickness of the icing. I made the chocolate and vanilla basic recipes. How long should I mix the buttercream for? Is it just a 1 minutes type mixing or should it be going on for 5-10? Thanks for your help!!

    • Yes keep mixing for longer to allow the sugar to dissolve into the butter and let it become really fluffy, 5 minutes is great.

  6. Any reccomendations for adapting a peanut butter flavor? Thanks for the videos and instructionals! You have got me excited to prepare some of these lovely desserts 🙂 thanks in advance.

  7. Where do I buy cream? Could I buy it in a supermarket?

  8. Can I use regular store bought food coloring for the color?

    • yes you can 😀

  9. Hi Ann,
    For your designs and patterns on your cupcakes, did u use the smooth buttercream base colour frosting or the basic buttercream frosting?
    Hungry Pie.

    • Hi Bakers, if you want a smooth base colour or want to dip your cupcakes into it then use the smooth one, if you wnat a piped design then use the basic one.

      • Thks so muck 😀

  10. Hi Ann!
    i love that you share your buttercream recipe and techniques to decorate.
    i tried making your coffee buttercream but i couldn’t taste the coffee, what can i do?

    greetings a 15 year old baker (in the make :p)

    • Hi You can add more coffee to taste

  11. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,
    I’m 13 and I live in Canada, and i just LOVE all of your recipes and I am a big fan of you and your recipes for the last couple of weeks I’ve been cooking a bunch of your recipes for my gramma and she always loves them, so thank you for sharing them with me <3
    Hope 😀

  12. How can I make red icing?

    • With great difficulty, lots of powdered red and a bit of cocoa powder. Or super red colour but that can have a bitter taste

  13. Rating: 4.5

    thanks so much for the recipes, all of it looks very delicious

  14. Hi

    I wonted to make some cream filling but I can’t figure out which one to make. So witch one is your favorite?

    • When using buttercream I like chocolate and also lemon. If any frostings the gnache is my favorite.

  15. Rating: 4

    Hi ann
    Thanks very much for sharing your recipes and I learned a lot from you.
    my question as I am new in making butter cream frosting I
    I tried the basic buttercream frosting is it normal to taste the very fine texture of icing sugar in the frosting given the fact that I made the icing sugar at home and bring it to a very powder form????? if not what is the solution for that and I am using electric hand mixture and beat for longer time to get rid of that taste t but still there. second is it ok to use the milk instead of cream thank you

    • hi koko, yes you can use milk instead of cream in the basic buttercream recipe. The sugar should dissolve on beating, if you are making your own powdered sugar it is possible that it is not fine enough.

  16. Hi Ann,
    I was wondering….
    Can i use fresh raspberries insted os frozen?

    • Hi Vesi, yes you can, they cost $9 a punnet here fresh so I never buy them fresh

      • Thank you Ann….
        Jejeje a bit costley… well i live in Spain so i can buy them for 2,60 euros a punnet

  17. Rating: 5

    Thanku Ann for such a prompt reply, i had meant basic butter cream now will try as per your instructions.

  18. How many cupcakes do your buttercream recipes do – are they for a batch of 12? Thanks 😀

    • Hi Sophie that is a good question, yes one quantity is enough for 12

  19. Hi Ann, I live in Mumbai, i have tried the vanilla butter cream but it splits. Could u tell me at what temperature the cream can hold and for how long do i beat it for to obtain the desired cream consistency?

    • Hi shalvi are you making the basic buttercream or very vanilla buttercream? If very vanilla you want it to ‘split’, you pour off the liquid and keep beating, pour off more liquid until there is not more liquid. This is making butter.
      If making the basic buttercream ingredients should be at room temp so feel your bowl it should not feel hot or cold to the touch. If it splits then increase your mixer speed to high for 3 minutes to bring it back together.

  20. Hi Ann 🙂

    FOr your Pink Ombre cake you mention using buttercream, which recipe do you use on here? like the title of the cream because i have no idea what one to use. im making this for mothers day 🙂 hope you reply

    • Hi Isabella, I used the basic butter cream recipe for the obmre cake and coloured it.

      • Thanks!

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