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

    Hi Ann,

    I am new in the baking world but I love this website has everything. Thank you for this website and for all your help.
    I have a question for these buttercream cupcake recipes, am planing to bake a cake for my 3 years old boy so can I use any of the recipes as a filling and as a crumbs coat? And then cover my cake with fondant how long do you think can I keep the cake once is done in the fridge. I really want to make it in advance just in case something happens.

    Happy New Year!!!

  2. Rating: 5

    Omg! Thank you Ann!! So much! Not only was this post very useful but even without a mixer, I was able to make simple vanilla buttercream in less than an hour! 🙂 I was so happy with the results and I would like to thank you for teaching us how to cook that.

  3. Rating: 5

    Happy new year Ann,

    First and foremost, love your recipes and blog!

    Just one question regarding the sugar used – soft icing mixture or pure icing sugar for the buttercreams??


  4. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,
    Happy New Year!
    First of all I just have to say, I’m glad to have found your website and youtube channel. I love your creations, you’ve given me some great ideas and got me interested in fondant creations and cake making (even making my sons 1st birthday cake complete with fondant cake topper and lettering, even though it wasn’t ‘professional standard’ I’m kind of proud).

    I have just made the coconut buttercream recipe, I am a bit hesitant to throw away the remains of the coconut left in the sieve after straining the butter – is there anything I can make with the coconut dregs?
    Thanks in advance

  5. Please can u tell me which butter, cream n milk would be the best for me to use? I stay in Nigeria. Thank u.

  6. Can u plz tell me which butter I shd use for butter cream .since I stay in India … I shd use maul butter cream which is salted…. Thank u .

  7. Rating: 4.5

    hi Ann,
    i cant really find the one that u says titled ziplock pipping bag cuts
    i’m not really pipping the frosting on the cake but actually playing with some soaps that i use your tips
    so i’m actually shaking out bubbles and shake till it tickens and put it in a plastic bag and pipe it out
    i’m only 9 so i must have some spelling mistakes

    hope you can explain more

  8. Hi Ann,

    1. Could you please advice for how long can I keep buttercream in a freezer?
    2. Can I use buttercream for writing on a ice cream cakes? Or what else I can use for writing?

    Thank you in advance 🙂

  9. What kind of cream do you use for your buttercream recipes? I live in the US so not sure if I will even be able to find the one you use, but thought I would ask. Thank you in advance.

  10. hey ann…i’m esmeralda but you can call me esme….for this recipe…is icing sugar the same as powdered sugar? i live in the united states

  11. Rating: 4

    Help! Buttercream keeps turning out grainy. I live in QLD & have tried making the basic buttercream frosting. I use western star unsalted butter & have tried it with CSR plain icing sugar & pure icing sugar (both sifted) & the Coles brand icing sugar & it always turns out grainy. Butter is room temp & have tried beating for 20min, I just end up with a sloppy mess that’s still grainy. Any suggestions PLEASE

  12. Rating: 5

    Hi ann! For the cupcake frosting recipes at the bottom, is there a specific reason why you said cupcake frosting, or can I use it in a cake, because I think it would taste delicious with a white chocolate cake recipe I found. Thanks for your amazing videos!

    Stay fabulous!!!!xoxoxo

    • Hi Claire, you can use it on cakes or cupcakes 😀

      • Ok thanks!!

  13. Does the buttercream melt? Also I love your videos.

    • Hi melissa, if it is in the fridge it is quite firm, so take it out an hour before serving to let it soften. If it is a really hot day like 35 degrees C if will get very very soft

  14. Hi Ann!
    How do you make that blue smooth icing which you had on a cupcake in your how to buttercream in different ways video(the big daisy)??

    • hi andrea, use the basic buttercream recipe and colour with blue, then to make it smooth just heat a little of it in the microwave and dip the cupcake into it.

  15. Hi!
    What cupcake would go best with buttercream recipe? And what buttercream would go best with chocolate cupcakes?

  16. miss reardon i watched your candy buffet ideas on youtube and saw those backdrops but i couldnt find the recipe here which you said you had a recipe on your blog, please could you give me the link? Thank you.

  17. Rating: 4

    Hi Ann
    I am going to be making the ombre cake for my auntys birthday on the weekend but the only problem is that she lives a few hours away and I will have to take the cake with me in the car. Do you think that it’d survive in an esky or something?
    Also, can I flavour the buttercream icing to be vanilla or does that wreck it for this cake?
    Monique (Australia)

    • Hi monique, yes you can flavour it vanilla, as for travelling it depends how hot it is, if it is really hot then I suggest freezing the cake and then it will defrost as you drive and be just right when you get there

  18. Hi Ann!

    Thank you south for your recipies and how to videos, your amazing! I have a few questions that I hope you can help me answer. I am making a barbie cake for my daughters birthday, I will be following the video for the buttercream princess cake. I was wondering of your cream cheese frosting will work instead of buttercream frosting. Also, I want to make this cake a day in advance but want to ensure that it will still taste and look just as amazing the following day (the day of the party) any suggestions?
    Thank you in advance!!

    • Hi Nikki, my cream cheese frosting is too soft to pipe on teh side of the cake, but you could use whipped white chocoalte ganache or italian meringue. If making the cake ahea make sure you use the simple syrup to keep it moist.

  19. Hi Ann,
    I was thinking about making the ombre cake that you did. I was wondering if you would need to double the basic buttercream recipe in order to have enough for the piping around the outside of the cake or will that recipe make enough?
    I love your recipes and videos!
    thanks, Georgia.

    • hi georgia yes make a double batch and you can put any left over in the freezer

  20. Ciao Ann,

    Which buttercream should I use for a cake is going to be covered with fondant? I usually finish my cakes one day in advanvance and I am afraid the homemade buttercream will melt. My cakes are big most of the time so I can put them in the refriferator, any suggestions? Thanks a lot!!

    • hi rocio, it depends on the temp of where you live. Buttercream will be fine out of the fridge, but will soften more the hotter it gets. Your other option is ganache but you may have the same issue if it is really hot.

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