American Buttercream Frosting is a quick and simple frosting to top your next batch of cupcakes. Four ingredients are all you need to make this creamy, sweet, and rich vanilla frosting.
American buttercream frosting is a quick and simple frosting recipe. American buttercream is made using butter and confectioner's sugar, and there is no cooking involved.
This means you can whip up a batch of frosting in minutes with just a few, simple ingredients. No more of the canned, store-bought cake frosting. Make your own - it tastes infinitely better and takes very little effort.
American buttercream can be extremely sweet. Because of this, I like to add heavy cream. The cream helps tone down the sweetness, and it helps the frosting whip up into a light and fluffy consistency.
I also use slightly less confectioner's sugar than a standard recipe, because I don't care for the overly sweet taste of frosting. Keep in mind, this frosting will still be sweet, just not overwhelmingly so.
Room temperature butter
For this recipe, you'll need room temperature butter. You'll want to set out your butter 1 to 2 hours beforehand so it's softened when you're ready to make your frosting.
If you forget to take out your butter beforehand, slice it into small pieces and set it out on the counter. This will help it warm up to room temperature faster.
Melted butter or cold butter will not work for this recipe.
For this recipe, you'll need room temperature butter, confectioner's sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract.
Making your frosting
In a large bowl, add your room temperature butter. Whip until creamy.
Then, add your confectioner's sugar and starting slowly, mix until incorporated. Turn up the speed and whip until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Last, add your vanilla extract and heavy cream, then whip another 1 to 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
If needed, adding more confectioner's sugar will thicken your frosting and make it easier to pipe and hold its shape. If your frosting is too thick, adding more heavy cream will thin your frosting.
Keep in mind, buttercream frosting will begin to melt between 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, because it is made mainly of butter. If your home is hot or you are serving a cake outdoors in the summer, bring the cake out just before serving.
How much frosting do I need?
This recipe makes enough frosting to frost the following cupcake quantities and cake sizes:
- 6-inch three layer cake
- 18 cupcakes with piped frosting
- 24 cupcakes spread with a knife
- 9x13 sheet cake
- 13x18 sheet cake
- 8-inch or 9-inch two layer cake (filling and top of cake, leaving the sides bare). To cover the sides of your layer cake, make an additional half batch of frosting.
In the recipe card below, hover over the serving size. Use the sliding bar to change the serving size and measurements.
Classic American Buttercream Frosting
- 1 ½ cups (339 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups (456 g) confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (57 g) heavy cream, or milk
- In a large bowl, add room temperature butter. Beat until creamy, about 1 minute.
- Add confectioner's sugar and slowly mix until ingredients are fully combined. Then, whip at high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla extract and heavy cream, then whip until fluffy, another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Pipe or spread frosting with a knife onto cupcakes and serve.
- Recipe will make enough to frost up to 18 cupcakes with piped frosting, 24 cupcakes spread with a knife, a 9x13 sheet cake, a 13x18 sheet cake, or the top and middle of a round 8 or 9 inch 2-layer cake (leaving the sides bare). To frost the sides of a 2-layer cake, make an additional half batch of frosting.
- This frosting will crust, so sprinkles or additional decorations will need to be added before your frosting dries.