Basic Buttercream Frosting with Variations

Basic Buttercream Frosting with Variations

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • About 2 tablespoons milk
1. First of all with an electric mixer at low speed, mix the powdered sugar and butter together. Once combined, add vanilla and milk. Increase speed of mixer to medium and beat for 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth and of spreading consistency.
2. And then to frost a cake, first brush away any loose crumbs from cooled cake. If frosting layers, place the bottom layer rounded side down on a plate. Spread about 1/3 cup of frosting to with 1/2-inch of cake's edge. Place the top layer rounded side up. Coat the side of the cake first with a thin layer of frosting to seal in the crumbs, then frost the side making a rim about 1/4-inch high around the top. Finally, spread remaining frosting on top, just to the frosting-made rim.

Frosts a 13 x 9 x 2-inch cake or fills and frosts two 8 or 9-inch cake layers.


Browned Butter Frosting: Heat butter (not margarine) over medium heat until delicate brown; cool. Mix melted butter with the powdered sugar.

Cherry Buttercream Frosting:
Stir in 2 tablespoons drained, chopped maraschino cherries and 2 drops red food coloring (optional).

Citrus Buttercream Frosting:
Omit vanilla. Substitute lemon or orange juice for the milk. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel or 2 teaspoons grated orange peel.

Cocoa Buttercream Frosting:
Stir in 2/3 cup baking cocoa into powdered sugar, and increase the butter to 1/2 cup and milk to 5 to 6 tablespoons.

Maple-Nut Buttercream Frosting:
Substitute 1/2 cup maple-flavored syrup for the vanilla and milk. Stir in 1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (toasted, if desired).

Peanut Butter Frosting:
Substitute peanut butter for the butter. Increase milk to 1/4 to 1/3 cup.