Classic Vanilla Buttercream – A Crusted Buttercream Recipe (2023)

go to the recipe

This flavorful and versatile classic vanilla buttercream recipe is one of our favorites! It has a wonderful buttery vanilla flavor, is perfect for buttercream borders or flowers, and is so easy to make.

Classic Vanilla Buttercream – A Crusted Buttercream Recipe (1)

How to soften buttercream

Our classic vanilla buttercream develops a light crust, so if you're a fan of the Viva paper towel softening methodThis Vanilla Buttercream goes on smooth like a dream!

The butter in the recipe also makes it great forhot knife straightening method, which involves coating the cake with frosting, chilling until the frosting is set, and then smoothing it out with a hot spatula or bench scraper.

textured butter cream

Of course, your ice cream cakes don't have to be perfectly smooth. I LOVE the textured buttercream as well as the look of piping throughout the cake.

Our classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is versatile enough for just about any type of buttercream cake or cupcake design you can think of.

Here are just a few of our free cake tutorials that demonstrate simple piping and texturing techniques:Wavy Buttercream Technique,Buttercream Petal Cake,Cascading Rosette Cake, miButtercream Looped Ribbons.

The classic vanilla buttercream recipe can be easily manipulated

Another bonus to this vanilla buttercream recipe is that it can be easily manipulated to complement the type of cake you're making.

(Video) How To Make A Lot Of Icing | Favorite Vanilla Buttercream Recipe!

For example, add mini chocolate chips for a chocolate buttercream, add a bit of peppermint extract to make a peppermint buttercream, crushed Oreo cookies for an Oreo buttercream, or any number of fruit extracts for various fruit flavored dressings. The possibilities are endless!

**We also have a deliciousvanilla buttercream recipewhich replaces vanilla extract with vanilla paste - tastes wonderful (and there are little specks in the frosting too!)

How to adjust the amount of crust

  • As I noted in the recipe below, you can reduce the amount of sugar used in this recipe for a lighter crust. I often do this when making this cupcake recipe.
  • Another way to reduce the amount of "crust" is to use full fat. milk or cream This won't prevent a crust from forming (we like a bit of crust for garnish), but it will give you a fluffier result than if you were using skim milk or water as your liquid.

Vanilla Buttercream and Heat Considerations

Please note that this is a butter (fat-free) recipe and therefore does not keep as well in hot conditions.

For hot summer days, it's best to keep the cake or cupcakes inside until the event, or opt for a shortening-based frosting.

Just like a stick of butter will melt if placed outside on a hot day, cream butter will melt too; 0)

What glazes are more heat resistant?

We have great fat-based buttercream toppings in ourrecipe section. A popular option is ourfluffy vanilla buttercream, which contains butter and vegetable fat.

Another popular recipe that is based on vegetable fat and does not contain butter is ourHigh Ratio Coverage. Just like the others, this is a crust recipe that is great for garnishing!

The more butter the frosting contains, the lighter the color and the more heat resistant it becomes. You need to rely more on extracts and flavoring when using fat-based icings to make up for the absence of butter. However, for times when you need a more heat-resistant coating, shortening is a good option.

This classic vanilla buttercream recipe is the one I make most often. We hope you like it!

(Video) Crusting Buttercream Without Shortening

Is your Buttercream gritty? It should not be! Helpful tips:

There's nothing worse than finishing a batch of buttercream and realizing it has a nasty gritty consistency. In my experience, it all has to do with the type/brand of icing sugar used.

We have had excellent results with Domino's Icing Sugar. Some brands of icing sugar don't work as well with buttercream frosting recipes.

If a package doesn't say pure cane sugar, it contains beet sugar, which is more likely to give you a grainy result.

Also, we noticed that even some brands that say "Pure Cane Sugar" give a grainy consistency. An example is Dixie Crystals (although it worked very well for us several years ago). Something changed.

I've read that brands sometimes use an anti-caking agent that causes roughness, but it's hard to tell. The best thing you can do is experiment a bit to find the brand that gives you the best results.

Either way, this recipe shouldn't be grainy, so if it is, try a different icing sugar.

Do you need chocolate frosting?

If you're in the mood for something a little chocolaty (which I always am), save yourself a copy of our Classic Chocolate Buttercream, too!

Just like today's classic vanilla buttercream, this chocolate frosting recipe is buttery-based, silky smooth, and perfect for garnishing! You can find it here:Classic Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

You can never have too many options when it comes to frosting recipes! I hope you try this one. Be sure to stop by ourrecipe sectionFor all our favorite cakes, cupcakes, frostings and fillings!

(Video) Dreamy Buttercream Frosting Recipe | So Easy!

Learn to decorate cakes with My Cake School!

In addition to hundreds of delicious cake recipes, we also have hundreds of free cake decorating tutorials to share with you! Be sure to stop by our!

Classic Vanilla Buttercream – A Crusted Buttercream Recipe (6)

This easy and delicious vanilla buttercream recipe is so versatile! It is a wonderful recipe that develops a light crust.


  • 2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, slightly soft but cool to the touch and holding its shape
  • 6-7 cups (690-805 grams) powdered sugar (depending on desired consistency. More sugar = more crust) If you prefer a less crusty frosting, see our note at the end of the recipe. *see our note on brands above.
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (8 grams), use a light imitation vanilla if you want a whiter frosting
  • ⅓ c. (72 g) milk or cream, more if needed
  • ½ teaspoon salt (3g) (optional) to cut the sweetness (preferably rock salt or popcorn). Adjust to taste.


  1. Beat the butter (slightly softened) until smooth. Mix in the vanilla.
  2. Add half of the powdered sugar and most of the milk. Beat on medium speed until powdered sugar is incorporated.
  3. Add the remaining powdered sugar and milk and beat on medium speed for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. I decrease the speed of the mixer to very slow. (#2 in Kitchenaid) for 1 to 2 minutes. This will help eliminate any air pockets in the buttercream. The texture will be very smooth.
  4. This recipe can be doubled or halved.
  5. Makes about 4 ½ cups of frosting. Enough to frost an 8- or 9-inch two-layer cake.
  6. It can be frozen in an airtight container for at least three months. Defrost on the counter.
  7. If the buttercream is too thin, add more sugar. If the consistency is too thick, add a little more milk.


**FOR A SOFTER BUTTERCREAM with a much lighter crust, I reduced the amount of sugar from 6 cups to 5 cups and adjusted the amount of milk until it reached the consistency you like to freeze. This lighter buttercream consistency works great with cupcakes or cakes that don't require the Viva smoothing method.

(Video) Buttercream Icing Recipe / How to Make Perfect Buttercream Frosting

Recommended Products

As an Amazon associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn on qualifying purchases.

Related Posts:

  1. Peanut Butter Cream Recipe
  2. Chocolate Mint Buttercream
  3. fluffy vanilla buttercream
  4. cream cheese frosting recipe
  5. Classic Chocolate Buttercream Recipe


What is crusting buttercream made of? ›

Crusting Buttercream Recipe

4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar. 2 tablespoons milk, heavy cream or water. Pinch of salt (optional)

Can you crumb coat with vanilla frosting? ›

If you need some recommendations, my Basic Vanilla Buttercream is the perfect consistency for both crumb coating your cake and adding your final layer of frosting, so feel free to use that if you're in need of a go-to vanilla buttercream recipe.

What to add to buttercream to make it harden? ›

Add powdered sugar

If the frosting has not reached your desired thickness after chilling, add a few tablespoons of sifted powdered sugar to help your buttercream stiffen.

Is buttercream supposed to crust? ›

Crusting buttercream makes a strong “base” that you can later apply more designs on. Once it sets, you'll have a firmer working surface, and that makes life a lot easier when it comes to things like delicate piping or applying fondant or gum paste decorations.

What kind of buttercream do professionals use? ›

Swiss meringue buttercream is probably the most standard buttercream for pastry professionals. It is incredibly smooth, making it an extremely popular choice for icing cakes. Compared to American buttercream, it has a much stronger butter flavor, but is considerably less sweet.

What are the benefits of crusting buttercream? ›

Crusting buttercream frosting is light, fluffy and great for piping. It forms a light crust making it good for holding its shape, traveling and keeping those details sharp. If you need a frosting with staying power, crusting buttercream is it!

Do you refrigerate a cake after you crumb coat it? ›

Step 3: Allow Your Crumb Coat to Chill

Once your cake is fully covered in a thin layer of icing and all crumbs have been sealed, chill the cake in the fridge for at least an hour. This will help the crumb coat set to ensure it's ready for the decorating process.

How do you make a perfect crumb coat? ›

After you bake the cake layers, and they are cool enough to handle, follow these steps to crumb coat the cake:
  1. Gather your materials. ...
  2. Frost the work surface. ...
  3. Apply frosting to the bottom layer. ...
  4. Stack the cake layers. ...
  5. Frost the top layer. ...
  6. Spread frosting around the cake. ...
  7. Smooth out the frosting. ...
  8. Assess the crumb coat.
Dec 8, 2021

How do you get buttercream to hold its shape? ›

By bringing down the temperature, the frosting should tighten up immediately. This is a great trick for buttercream frosting that may have been overmixed or made in a warm kitchen. If this doesn't seem to do the trick, try adding sifted powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

What type of buttercream is best for decorating? ›

SM buttercream is arguably the best frosting in terms of cake decorating because it is the easiest way to get those smooth clean lines.

What is the most stable buttercream? ›

Italian buttercream is the most stable of all the buttercreams. While American buttercream uses mostly powdered sugar and butter, both Italian and Swiss buttercreams are meringue-based and use egg whites, granulated sugar, and butter. This creates a much silkier, lighter, and not overly sweet buttercream.

Does crusting buttercream need to be refrigerated? ›

If your buttercream recipe is made with all butter, it will need to be refrigerated. An all-butter recipe may melt off your cake once it's reached room temperature. If you're making a pure white buttercream with no butter and just shortening, it can stay out at room temperature for up to 2 days.

What is the most stable buttercream for hot weather? ›

American buttercream (ABC) is made with powdered sugar, butter, and liquid. It's very sweet, creamy, and the most stable in warm temperatures due to the high amount of sugar. Swiss meringue buttercream (SMBC) is made by combining meringue with whipped butter and extracts.

What is the most difficult buttercream to make? ›

Italian meringue buttercream, also known simply as Italian buttercream, is the most stable of all of the buttercreams but also the most difficult to make. This style of buttercream gets its name because it starts out with the process of making Italian meringue.

What kind of buttercream is used on wedding cakes? ›

Swiss meringue buttercream is the perfect choice for couples who want their wedding cake to have great flavor without being cloyingly sweet and heavy. It also creates cakes with a smooth finish, adds Clark.

Is milk or heavy cream better for buttercream? ›

Using heavy whipping cream instead of milk and beating it for several minutes is the secret to super fluffy, silky smooth buttercream. The reason is simple: Beating cream allows you to incorporate some air into the buttercream.

What are the 4 main styles of buttercream? ›

Classically there are four main types of buttercream: Italian, German, French & Swiss. There is another that is actually the simplest buttercream and that is American buttercream AKA simply buttercream or decorators frosting.

What does cornstarch do to buttercream? ›

Add cornstarch in 0.5 tsp (2.5 ml) increments to thicken sweet frosting. If your buttercream frosting is already fairly sweet, try adding cornstarch to it as a thickening agent instead of powdered sugar.

Is it better to make buttercream the day before? ›

Buttercream will have the best taste and consistency when enjoyed the same day it was made. It's easy to make it the morning before you serve, and it will last several hours when covered in plastic wrap and kept at a cool room temperature.

What consistency should buttercream be for crumb coat? ›

Thin consistency buttercream is mainly used for crumb coating your cake or piping lines and lettering. This consistency should have a droop when lifted with a spatula.

Does crumb coat need to be perfect? ›

It doesn't have to look perfect as you will be covering it up with another layer. Chill the cake in the fridge or freezer until the crumb coat has set hard.

How do you make a quick crumb coat? ›

Use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer of frosting over your cake. It should be thin enough that you can see the cake (and crumbs) through it. Don't worry about visible crumbs, it's all part of the process! Smooth the icing as best as you can and let it dry until it crusts over, or feels dry to the touch.

How much buttercream do I need to crumb coat an 8 inch cake? ›

The size, shape and number of cake layers will impact how much frosting you need. In general, I find one batch or about 6 cups of frosting is the perfect amount for a 7-inch or 8-inch layer cake that's decorated with buttercream swirls on top. I usually have a tiny bit leftover, but it's just about right.

How thick should a crumb coat be? ›

Apply the crumb coat

Honestly, the frosting should ideally be no more than 1/8” thick. It's fine for the cake itself to show through in places. If you do find the frosting too thick in spots, a bowl scraper is the perfect tool for smoothing and "trimming" your crumb coat.

How many days in advance can you crumb coat a cake? ›

Cakes can be filled and crumb coated up to a day in advance. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and store in the fridge or at room temperature depending on the stability of the filling.

How long do you let a crumb coat sit? ›

Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes, until the crumb coat is chilled, and no longer feels sticky. If it's a warm day, and your buttercream was warm and soft to begin with, you may need to chill the crumb coat for 45-60 minutes.

Can you crumb coat a cake the night before? ›

After you've filled and frosted your cake with a crumb coat, it's safe to store it in the refrigerator overnight without the risk of drying out the cake. The thin layer of buttercream acts as a barrier to preserve the cake underneath and help it maintain its moisture.

How long should a crumb coat sit? ›

Once your cake is crumb coated, place it in the fridge to set for 15-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch. If you're working with American buttercream, the cake can be left at room temperature until the buttercream has formed a crust (about 20 minutes).

What happens if you beat buttercream too long? ›

Too much whipping can leave air bubbles in your buttercream frosting. It's a minor problem and won't ruin the flavour or texture, but it may not look as pretty when it comes to decorating. Don't leave your buttercream frosting whipping forever and ever if you don't want air bubbles.

How do you make buttercream edges crisp? ›

Using a small offset spatula, hold the small offset spatula on the outside top edge of the cake and begin dragging the "lip" of frosting toward the center of the cake. Smooth as you go and clean the spatula between each swipe of the spatula. This process will create a sharp edge and remove any excess frosting.

Why is American buttercream gritty? ›

Buttercream frosting is known to be super smooth and, well, creamy. And this texture is reliant on the smooth blending of confectioners' sugar — which is a fine powder — and the butter. If you replace it with granulated sugar, which as the name suggests, is grainy, you will end up with an unappetizing, gritty frosting.

Why does my buttercream look like breadcrumbs? ›

This happened when the butter you were using was simply too cold. This could be because you forgot to take it out of the fridge in advance, or even just because the ambient temperature around you was too cold.

How do you stiffen buttercream without sugar? ›

There are several easy ways to make frosting thicker without adding any sugar or extra sweetness. Try flour, cornstarch, meringue powder, gelatin or cocoa powder for unsweet thickeners.

Should you chill buttercream before piping? ›

Before You Start

Attempting to spread frosting onto warm cake layers is a recipe for sloppy disaster. Chill your cake layers for at least 2 hours, or better, overnight. If you've made your frosting ahead, make sure it's at room temperature before you start.

What is the easiest buttercream to work with? ›

American buttercream is deliciously creamy, super sweet, and incredibly fluffy, and by far the easiest buttercream to master. It's just a matter of beating softened butter until it's fluffy, adding powdered sugar, cream, and a little vanilla and whipping it all together. No cooking required!

Which buttercream is best to cover a cake? ›

American Buttercream

This is the 'frosting' that seems to be used the most and is the simplest to make. Featuring butter, icing sugar and a splash of milk or cream for consistency, American buttercream is great for filling cakes, covering cakes and topping cupcakes.

What are the three types of buttercream? ›

There are three types of buttercreams that are most often used: American Buttercream, Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and Italian Meringue Buttercream.

What are the 5 types of buttercream? ›

While all of these homemade frostings start with butter and sugar, the method and texture vary between the main types of buttercream: American, French, Swiss, Italian and German. All are delicious, but you'll find that certain varieties suit your sweets better than others.

Does Swiss buttercream crust? ›

Swiss meringue buttercream is less sweet and is made primarily of granulated sugar, egg whites, and butter. Unlike American buttercream, Swiss doesn't crust or harden and (as you've seen above) the technique for making Swiss meringue is quite different.

What is the best tasting buttercream? ›


Pros – It is soft, smooth and not too sweet. SM buttercream is arguably the best frosting in terms of cake decorating because it is the easiest way to get those smooth clean lines.

What is the best buttercream to cover a cake? ›

American Buttercream

This is the 'frosting' that seems to be used the most and is the simplest to make. Featuring butter, icing sugar and a splash of milk or cream for consistency, American buttercream is great for filling cakes, covering cakes and topping cupcakes.

Is buttercream better with butter or shortening? ›

While you certainly can make an all-butter or all-shortening frosting, we suggest using a little of each ingredient to get the best of both worlds. For a rich and creamy flavor in your frosting, butter is key. We suggest using a good-quality unsalted butter for tasty results every time.

Which is better Swiss or American buttercream? ›

American buttercream is sweeter than Swiss or Italian. It forms a “crust” when exposed to air – perfect for paining and piping on. Swiss Meringue buttercream is silky smooth and light. It's perfect if you're looking for a slightly less sweet buttercream.

Can you overbeat American buttercream? ›

Too much whipping can leave air bubbles in your buttercream frosting. It's a minor problem and won't ruin the flavour or texture, but it may not look as pretty when it comes to decorating. Don't leave your buttercream frosting whipping forever and ever if you don't want air bubbles.

What is the secret to smooth buttercream? ›

To make the frosting extra smooth, stir it by hand with a rubber spatula for a minute or two right before you use it. It's an arm workout, but it's worth it! Push the frosting back and forth and spread it around the side of the bowl. This will push out any extra air and make it easier to smooth onto cakes or pipe with.

What can go wrong with Swiss buttercream? ›

Swiss meringue buttercream is either soupy or curdled due to the temperature of the butter; it is either too warm or too cold. Both issues can be fixed either chilling or gently heating the buttercream.

Does Swiss buttercream get hard in the fridge? ›

Buttercream Solidified in the Refrigerator: There's a lot of butter in this frosting, so if it's stored in a bowl in the refrigerator, it will solidify into one large mass just like a bowl of cookie dough. Two ways to fix this: sit it on the counter and bring it to room temperature.


1. VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING RECIPE Tutorial: How to Make Cake, Cupcakes, Spreading, Piping Icing
(Custom Cakes and Cupcakes by Erin)
2. Easy Buttercream Frosting Recipe
(Sugar Geek Show)
(Natashas Kitchen)
4. Buttercream Frosting
(Preppy Kitchen)
5. Layered Buttercream Cake Tutorial
(My Cake School (Melissa Diamond))
6. Wilton's Basic Buttercream Frosting Recipe


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Terence Hammes MD

Last Updated: 08/27/2023

Views: 5911

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Terence Hammes MD

Birthday: 1992-04-11

Address: Suite 408 9446 Mercy Mews, West Roxie, CT 04904

Phone: +50312511349175

Job: Product Consulting Liaison

Hobby: Jogging, Motor sports, Nordic skating, Jigsaw puzzles, Bird watching, Nordic skating, Sculpting

Introduction: My name is Terence Hammes MD, I am a inexpensive, energetic, jolly, faithful, cheerful, proud, rich person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.