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. I love your videos. I am new to cake decorating and your videos have helped e a lot. Thanks

  2. In the basic buttercream recipe what what milk do i use? (1%, 2%, skim, whole milk)

    • Hi Abbigle, Ann uses whole milk.

  3. Hi there! Just wondering what brand of butter you use or would recommend as i’m also from Australia so i’ll probably be able to purchase it. I can never seem to get the butter soft no matter how long i leave it out. Thanks in advance!

    • My go to trick for softening butter is to grate it, or finely dice it. It should be soft and ready to use almost straight away. You can also microwave on low heat for 20 seconds to give it a head start

  4. I don’t like frostings that are way to sweet which frosting would you recommend

  5. Rating: 5

    I love watching you on Youtube. You actually inspire me to bake and I am wanting to become a cake designer as my career. The desserts you make are just incredible and I love how creative and smart it is. I would love to bake with you someday and see how and teach me some things about cake designing and decorating. You truly are my number 1 fan. Have a lovely day 😀

    • Thanks Jasmine, Ann loves to hear how people like you are encouraged to go for their dreams.

  6. Rating: 4.5

    Hi Ann do you have any suggestions for a dairy free frosting recipe? I have been looking forever and cant seem to find one my family will love.

  7. Do you use salted butter or unsalted butter for these recipes?

    • Hi Ridhi, Where the recipe specifically calls for butter, Ann uses unsalted butter.

  8. hi ann… i tried making the buttercream frosting but i think it didnt turn out well… it was all grainy… i used elle and vire butter and crisco (50-50), 370 grams peotraco sugar and 80 grams of powdered milk… what can i do to avoid the grainy consistency? hoping for your reply. thank you!

    • Hi Ocularis, The grainy texture is likely from the powdered milk. Ann recommends using fresh milk.

  9. Hello Ann
    can I translate your perfect recipe to my language : farsi ?
    I mean as a book.

    • Hi Farnaz, Thanks for asking. Unfortunately Ann’s work is copyrighted. You can translate it for your own use at home but not for publication.

  10. Rating: 4.5

    How much of the chocolate buttercream frosting would I need to frost your “best chocolate cake ever”?

    • Hi Meg, Ann suggests making a double quantity of the frosting to cover the cake well and for layering.

  11. Please can you give me a buttercream recipe to fill macaroons with. Also I’m looking for a basic buttercream for macaroons that can then have various flavours added to it. How much flavouring would I add to the buttercream for macaroons?

  12. If I was to color my frosting red I wouldn’t use liquid food coloring, correct?

    • Hi Hannah, You can use liquid colour but it is very hard to add suffcient colour to get the impact you need without causing the frosting to split. Powdered colouring produces a much better result.

      • Rating: 5

        Thank You. I love watching your videos, they are my life. I can’t wait to try ALL of your recipes and awesome cakes.

  13. I’m wondering if I could use store-bought butter for the vanilla buttercream instead of whipping the cream? How much would I need?

    • Hi Grace, for the Very Vanilla Buttercream, you are actually making your own butter without the additives from the cream. Replacing the cream with butter would change the flavour and texture. There are other buttercream recipes on the page that use butter as a starting point.

  14. I tried making the very vanilla recipe but it won’t thicken and im scared it’ll just run down my princess cake. What do I do?

    • Hi Anna, I hope this worked out for you. Did you pour the liquid off the mix a couple of times? It sounds like you weren’t able to remove enough of the liquid before adding the sugar. It should be quite thick and creamy.

  15. Rating: 5


  16. Anne, I don’t have powered sugar. What can I use?

    • Hi Heidi, Can you locate icing sugar ? It is the same.

  17. Rating: 5

    I’m totally in love with your website, only wish it was easier to print the recipes, love how you show the finished bakes

    • Thanks for the suggestion Gina.

  18. Rating: 5

    These are wonderful. Keep it up

    • Thanks Becca for the feedback.

  19. I can’t wait to try your macaroon recipe…. Will the macaroons turn out shiny on outside if I use a macaroon pan instead of pipping on cookie sheet? Thanks

    • Oops posted on the wrong page :/

  20. planning on frosting and piping some of the chocolate buttercream for a cake this friday. for the cocoa powder, is it okay to use hot chocolate mix, like that of swiss miss or nestle?

    thanks 🙂 love your videos and blog, such an inspiration for me to start baking again.

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