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: 4

    Hi..was browsing n just gone through your butter cream recipes. Climate of my city is quite hot n humid. Please suggest a perfect butter cream recipe for flowers . Because whenever I make butter cream either its granulated or sometimes not glossy at all. And I have to keep icing constantly in freezer between working on a cake or cupcakes.

    • Hi Rasheeda, If your climate is hot an humid then working with buttercream decorations will require you popping them in the freezer to stop them melting. The buttercream flowers recipe Ann uses is the best but it will be impacted by hot weather. You could look at using fondant if you needed more stable decorations.

  2. Can we fill a macaron with one of these, or will it make the macaron soggy?

    • All fillings will slowly make macaron soggy but Ganache is better. Best to fill your shells on the day of serving.

  3. I don’t mean to sound stupid, but which recipe do I go with for an orange buttercream?

    • Hi Katie G, Use the lemon buttercream recipe but replace the lemon with orange to suit your taste.

  4. Hi there,
    Can butter cream be stored and used at a later time? Thank you!

    • Hi Arielle, Buttercream can be stored in the fridge for as long as the main ingredient (margarine) would usually last.

  5. How do I make my buttercream frosting whiter it always becomes yellow. Thanks

    • Hi Kaka, Buttercream frosting will always be yellowish as it uses butter. Make sure the butter you use has no additional colours and be aware that some brands are more yellow than others. If you want a really white frosting, a white chocolate ganache or a meringue frosting would be better.

  6. What is the taste diffrent between a all butter butter cream and a 1/2 butter and 1/2 crisco margine

    • Hi Lupe, We don’t get crisco here so I can’t comment on the taste. Even butters and margarines vary greatly in flavour. Ann usually recommends magarine in her recipes as she sees it as a healthier option, though if her recipe lists butter it because the flavor of butter adds significantly to the recipe.

  7. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann
    Firstly can I say – I love your website and am amazed by the things you create 🙂
    I am in the early stages of working out how to best make a semi naked cake for our daughter and future son in laws wedding,
    Could you recommend a cake recipe for this? Also, would you recommend buttercream filling and white chocolate ganache on the outside or ganache inside and out?
    Many thanks, Jill

    • Hi Jill, It will depend on how many layers of cake and tiers you want. The bigger the cake, then you are better off with a firmer cake. Ann loves her Sponge recipe but it will need supports if you are going to do tiers. Most cakes will dry out more quickly without a fondant coating, so best to wrap your tiers with acetate or plastic. Really in terms of filling, it is probably good to ask your Bride and Groom what they would like. Your suggestions are fine. Personally I prefer ganache and Ann prefers fresh cream as a filling.

  8. does adding milk will make consistency thin

    • yes it will so be careful

  9. Hello.
    For the American buttercream recipe, what is the cream that you use. In America we have heavy cream, whipping cream and Half and half. Which is the cream you use. Thanks!:)

  10. How much in advance can I make the popping sugar frosting and it’ll still pop when eaten??
    Thank you!

    • Hi Meagan as frosting is moist the moisture will start to dissolve the sugar. For best results, it is best to mix it as close to decorating and serving as possible.

  11. Do you use like heavy cream, whipping cream, or half and half because I need to know what to use.

    • Hi Julia, the terms for cream vary from country, so Ann has a page designed to help you work out what is the equivalent in your area: Ann usually recommends ream with a 35% fat content or higher. In Australia this is called pure cream.

  12. Rating: 5

    Oh, this sounds just delicious! Can’t wait to try this variation, thanks!

  13. Hello 🙂 I was just wondering/making sure if pouring off the liquid literally meant pouring out excess liquid? thank you

    • Yep, you don’t want any of that liquid in your buttercream. Instead of just pouring it down the sink though you should keep it in a container to use as buttermilk 🙂

    • Hi Heather, you want to whip the butter and cream until to becomes solid and pour off any liquid that is created in forming your butter.

  14. What is the yield of the basic buttercream recipe (in cups)?

  15. You did not say how to make blue blue buttercream icing

  16. Rating: 4.5

    Ann, I was wondering can you make fondant? Can you make a Christmas cake on your channel? I don’t under stand what tempered chocolate is can you help me with that?

  17. Rating: 5

    thanks for all the fabulous info. Very helpful I will get baking 🙂

  18. Hi Ann I just want to know we’re you get your fondant from because I can’t find any in my town

    • Hi Smiley, Ann uses a variety of brands from different suppliers. She suggests looking for an online supplier that delivers to your area if there is no local cake decorating store.

    • Admin HowToCookThat I am so sorry about the “Zombie” sign! I was trying to get my profile picture to post and somehow I got that up into my post to Smiley. I cannot figure out how to remove it. I am new to all of this computer stuff. Can you tell me how to take it off? Thank you Sorry again!

      • No problems Justdandi. We had to take the whole comment down but so appreciate you flagging it for us.

  19. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann I LOVVEE you desserts and cakes my b-day is coming up and I want an Instagram cake and I just can’t make. I am jealous of your cooking skills. I REALLY want you to make an Instagram cake for me.

    • Hi Smiley, We hope you have a fabulous Birthday! Unfortunately Ann isn’t able to make cakes to order.

  20. What is the best kind of icing that hold it self and easy to make ??

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