This recipe for fluffy Whipped Buttercream Frosting is made with just 5 ingredients and is so easy to make. It's not super sweet, very creamy, and so versatile. Use it to ice your favorite cakes or pipe on top cupcakes.
You will fall head-over-heals with this homemade frosting. Good-bye canned icing!
At only 5 ingredients and nearly just as few minutes to make, this Whipped Buttercream Frosting recipe comes together quickly and easily. Use good vanilla extract here to make it lick-off-the-spoon delicious.
What I love about this frosting is that you can use it for just about any dessert. It is stiff enough to pipe decorations or on top of cupcakes while still being smooth and creamy for filling or frosting cakes alike.
This biggest complaint about this American-style buttercream is that it is too sweet. Resist overloading this buttercream with powdered sugar and you're golden.
Instead make sure the butter is soft and pliable without being too melted and make sure to whip long enough. When done, the buttercream should be lighter in color and density.
Softened butter should be able to easily hold a fingerprint when lightly pressed. It should not feel greasy or be melted.
This easy frosting uses just 5 ingredients.
- Unsalted butter - the butter should be soft and pliable but not greasy
- Powdered sugar - sift the sugar is there are any clumps present
- Heavy cream - this helps the frosting whip up, but it will still be fluffy with milk
- Pure vanilla extract - since the ingredient list is so short, use the best vanilla you can spare
- Kosher salt - a pinch of salt offsets the sweetness of the frosting
See recipe card for quantities.
Tools and Equipment
- Electric mixer - I use a stand mixer, but a hand mixer should suffice
- Rubber spatuala
- Sieve - for sifting powdered sugar, as needed
How to Make Fluffy Whipped Buttercream Frosting
This frosting comes together in under 10 minutes. Make sure to keep mixing until it is light and fluffy!
Start by mixing the butter by itself until smooth and creamy.
Begin adding in the remaining ingredients. Mix on low speed.
Once the ingredients are combined, the buttercream is smooth but heavy and thick.
Whip the buttercream until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Hint: After the first stage of mixing, the whipped buttercream will look like frosting. Keep mixing to incorporate more air to make it fluffy and light.
While the finished buttercream in the picture to the right looks like it has too many air pockets, it pipes exactly like the on this cupcake:
Too many air bubbles for a smooth cake? Stir vigorously with a stiff spatula or wooden spoon before icing cakes.
Milk - In a pinch, you can use regular milk instead of the cream with similar results.
Variations for Whipped Buttercream Frosting
Chocolate - Add 2 ounces melted and cooled chocolate plus 1 to 2 tablespoons cocoa powder midway through the mixing process.
Brown Butter - Swap half of the butter with browned butter that has been chilled until firm but flexible.
The whipped buttercream frosting is best used immediately after making. If making in advance, store it at room temperature for up to 1 day. Rewhip or mix by hand until light and smooth.
Frosting may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Allow it to come to room temperature before remixing.
You may also freeze the frosting for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Steps for Making Whipped Buttercream Frosting
- Mix the butter - use the paddle attachment on a stand mixer to smooth out the softened butter first.
- Add the powdered sugar, half of the cream, vanilla, and salt - mix on low speed until everything combines
- Let it whip! - Increase the speed and whip until light and fluffy
- Add cream - if the buttercream is still too stiff, add the remaining cream and mix again
- Smooth it out - stir the whipped buttercream with a wooden spoon or stiff spatula before icing cakes (optional)
If using to smoothly ice a cake, stir vigorously with a stiff spatula or wooden spoon to knock out any air bubbles. You want to whip the frosting for lightness, but do this extra step to make sure it glides on smoothly over the cake.
Yes! You can freeze buttercream for up to 3 months. The best way to do so is by making a 'pillow' of buttercream by wrapping it in plastic wrap. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature. Remix before use.
These are my favorite recipes that use whipped buttercream frosting:
Layer Cake 101
New to cake decorating? Start here:
How to Make Beautiful Layer Cakes
Buy my books! Layered and Icing on the Cake
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Whipped Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar sifted as needed
- 2 to 4 tablespoon heavy cream
- 2 tea pure vanilla extract
- pinch kosher salt
- Using a stand (or hand) mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute.
- Turn the mixer off and add the powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of cream, vanilla, and salt. Begin mixing on low speed until the ingredients come together - scraping the bowl occasionally.
- Turn up the speed and mix at medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until the buttercream is light, airy, and nearly white. If needed, add the additional cream until desired consistency is achieved. The buttercream should spread smoothly without tearing the crumb of the cake but thick enough that it holds shape when piped and spread between the layers.
- If using to ice a smooth cake, vigorously stir with a wooden spoon or stiff spatula to knock out some of the air bubbles.
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