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. can you help me I did exactly what you said for the coffee buttercream. I put the butter confectioners sugar milk and coffee and it just turned into I goop. I tried adding more sugar but its the same.

    • Hi Marium, the recipe says to mix the dissolved coffee and water in with 1 tablesppon of the milk and add to the sugar and softened butter. I am guessing you added more than 1 tablespoon of milk right at the beginning. Add extra milk at the end only a tablespoon at a time only if needed, mixing well after each addition until the desired consistency is reached.

  2. Rating: 5

    You’re my favorite demonstrator. Informative and entertaining. I already subscribed.

    • Thanks Lorna.

  3. Rating: 4.5

    Hi Ann, thanks for the great list!! I’m a bit confused about adding the ganache to the buttercream, do I add it while beating the butter before adding the sugar or after the buttercream is all beat together?

    • Hi Sabrina, Make both seperately. When you are ready to frost just whip the ganache and buttercream together and fros t your cake.

  4. Help! My buttercream icing didn’t turn out right! I had the right amount of unsalted butter, softened, then I measured out the right ratio of icing sugar and it seemed like way too much! So I put half of it in and kept the rest to the side, so my buttercream isn’t as stiff as I’d like, but it’s way way too sweet! How do I tone down the pure sugar taste while keeping the mixture stiff to hold its shape? I’m stumped! I figured adding in milk would just make the mix even more soft and runny :O

    • Hi Jordan, adding more of the icing sugar is what is needed to make the mix firmer. If you feel it is too sweet, some people like to add a little salt to the frosting to cut the sweetness. Also chill your buttercream to firm it up.

    • that happend to me too!!

  5. Hi,
    My son has severe allergy to any milk products and eggs,
    Do you have a basic buttercream recipe that caters to my son’s allergy.
    Really appreciate your help in this matter.

  6. Is it possible to make chocolate buttercream frosting from swiss miss hot cocoa mix powder?

  7. How do you make matcha green tea frosting?

    • HiMay, some people like to add 1-2 tablespoons of quality match powder to a buttercream frosting or a cream cheese frosting.

  8. Is it really 1 tablespoon for the basic vanilla buttercream or should it be 1 teaspoon?

    • I like to add the full one tablespoon but just add little by little until it suits your taste

  9. Dear Ann
    may I ask that how much dark chocolate Ganache should I add into the chocolate buttercream frosting in order to make it stiff enough to molding and building up for a 3D fondant cake?
    Also, how long can the fondant cake with buttercream stay at room temperature (without refrigerating right after I finish the cake), since I know that refrigerating fondant may not appear a good surface…..

    Hoping for ur reply.

    • Hi Tsui, this will depend on the environment you are in. Make up a test batch of your ganache and buttercream. The ganache should go firm in the fridge so I would use more ganache and less buttercream in your frosting mix to achieve the desired stability. Once the cake is entirely covered with frosting/ganache, it can be refrigerated overnight. Remove from fridge and let it slowly come to room temp (preferably in an air-conditioned room, then cover with fondant and decorate before serving.

  10. Hi Anne! I was looking at your Buttercream recipes and I was wondering how many quantities of that recipe would I need to crumb coat and cover 2 16″ circle pans? I watched some of your videos to see is you had a similar sized cake, but I was still confused. Thanks!

    • Hi Dylan, it will depend on how much frosting you want to use but I would make a triple batch.

  11. Rating: 4

    Hi Anne,
    I’m wondering the best storage for buttercream, can it be stored at room temperature for a couple of days or does it need refrigeration?

    • Definitely refridgerate Sally.

  12. Rating: 4.5

    Hi ann… dont u have a video for this and one thing more… u have used a candy thermometer in ur best frosting video… what to do if u dont have one… ur answer will be very helpful…

    • Hi Isma, Ann has quite a few frosting posts. You can find a few of them here: . THis post is very old and so doesn’t have a video. Where a recipe uses a candy thermometer it is because checking the mix reaches a certain temperature is very important. Trying to do the same recipe without a thermometer is possible but can be a bit hit and miss. Candy thermometers are not expensive and can be readily purchased so it is worth the investment if you want great results.

  13. I was reading the recipe for very vanilla buttercream and saw that it needed cream. Will heavy whipping cream work or does it have to be light?

  14. Rating: 4.5

    Dear Anne, i Love your “Elsa” Cake she is so pretty i have made a few different versions based on your original tutorial i love her as much as the children and this means i can really feel the excitement when i make and dress her. She is stunning
    thank you for your great talent and ideas

    • Thanks for the feedback Marlene.

  15. Rating: 5

    Dear Anne you are one of my favourite fans for gorgeous tutorials and recipes, i would say one of the best in our beautiful caking world.
    Love your Lightning McQueen tutorial and the best butter cream ever.
    Love you lots

    • Thanks again Marlene, for the awesome feedback. Happy Baking!

  16. Hi Ann,
    How many gm of buttercream frosting would be made by this recipe. (simple one)

  17. Hi I’m an old fan Ann and I love your recipes. I used your CHOCLATE cake and frosting and this frosting. I ran into a problem. I didn’t have enough icing sugar but I found that out after I had the rest in so I went with it and it was very liquidey. (Sorry don’t know how to spell it) now our Australian sun was making it too hot to go out and get more icing sugar so for future reference is there a replacement or not? If so what is it. I also mostly watch your videos but am too lazy to make anything so when I do try I want it to be good enough. I also got 3 nozzles and a icing bag but because it was runny it didn’t make the flower
    ;(. Btw Australians forever!

    • Sorry for so long and I hope you reply

    • Hi Dawn, Yes I imagine it would have been very runny without the full quantity of sugar. Best to make sure you have enough icing sugar before you start. I always have a little extra on hand so if I need to increase the quantity to get the consistency right, than I can easily do so. If you run out, you could try putting caster sugar through the blender to refine it down till it is more powdery but it usually doesn’t work very well at all- unless you have a super grinder type.

  18. Rating: 5

    Today i tried your simple buttercream and everyone loved it! we found it to be stiff enough to hold its shape, but not so stiff that it blocked up the piping bag and that you couldn’t pipe it. it tasted delicious on the upcakes that i made( i did a giant swirl) and it also piped beautifully on a larger cake that i also made. i wrote the words “happy new year” on it and did patterns all over the cake. i will probably never use store bought frosting again as this recipe is so quick and easy to make! Thanks for sharing!!!!!!!!!!!

    • That is great to hear Buffy.

  19. Rating: 5

    I have been using your vanilla buttercream recipe for a couple of years now and it has been a huge hit with my family. Today, I made your chocolate buttercream mixed with ganache recipe and it was delicious! Thank you for sharing these recipes. So many people here in the States use canned frosting and I am so happy to have some “from scratch” recipes that I can use instead!

    • Thanks Vicki for the great feedback. I am with you… real frosting tastes so much better.

  20. All my favorite youtubers that make cakes have this butter to icing sugar proportion, which is approximately 1:2. I tried to do 1:1 and it was toooooooooo sweet, almost impossible to eat. Am I doing smth wrong, or is icing sugar [if it’s even possible] sweeter here [in Ukraine] than in other places? Bc I feel like I should put about 3:2 ratio. Or is this how it’s supposed to be and I’m just used to a lighter taste… and I’m a total sweet tooth.
    + is there a way to color buttercream with powder food coloring? I can’t find any paste/gel stuff here. Maybe if I dissolve powder in milk/cream? Thank you

    • Hi Helen, You can experiment with frosting to adjust the sweetness but generally speaking we don’t frost cakes heavily in Australia, so the sweetness is balanced with the type of cake. You could look at using a different type of frosting if you prefer less sweetness. You can use powdered colouring to colour buttercream but it doesn’t mix well. The buttercream can split easily. To do it, take a small quantity of your buttercream and mix it it in a seperate bowl with your powder. Mix it really thoroughly, then add it to the remainder of your buttercream.

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