Whipped buttercream frosting is a light and fluffy version of the traditional buttercream you know and love. This sweet, whipped buttercream is the perfect frosting for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and brownies.
This whipped buttercream is still sweet like a traditional buttercream, but whipped until fluffy with the addition of heavy whipping cream.
Buttercream frosting is made with butter and confectioner's sugar, and there's no cooking involved. It's a quick and easy option for topping your next batch of cupcakes or birthday cake.
This frosting, with the addition of more heavy whipping cream and extra whipping time, turns out light, fluffy, and perfect for piping.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Unsalted butter - Unsalted butter and the listed salt can be substituted with salted butter if desired. Make sure your butter is room temperature, not cold or melted. Cold butter or melted butter will not work for this recipe. You'll be whipping your butter and other ingredients together - this requires room temperature butter for a creamy, smooth consistency.
- Confectioner's sugar - Necessary for a smooth texture and can't be substituted with granulated sugar. Confectioner's sugar also adds stability and structure to your frosting. I don't recommend reducing the amount of sugar listed (yes, it is a lot, it is a sweet frosting) because a less sweet buttercream frosting tastes mostly of butter. Because there are so few ingredients in this recipe, the two main ingredients (butter and sugar) can't be reduced or omitted. If you're looking for a less sweet frosting, I suggest trying my recipe for ermine frosting.
- Vanilla extract - Enhances the flavor of your frosting. Can be substituted with other extracts to make different flavors of frosting (like maple extract, lemon extract, or peppermint extract).
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of your frosting and helps cut the sweetness slightly.
- Heavy cream - Necessary to create the light and fluffy whipped texture of this frosting.
How to store frosted baked goods
Baked goods can be frosted the day before an event and left at room temperature in a sealed container.
Keep in mind, butter melts around 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your location is nearing this temperature, I'd recommend refrigerating your baked goods until an hour before you're ready to serve them. Refrigerating your frosted baked goods for a short amount of time will not hurt them. But, you will want to give them about 30 minutes to come back to room temperature before serving.
Here's a fantastic article about how frosting holds up to heat: The Best Cake Frosting For Hot Weather
Almond extract in frosting
If you want to make a 'fancy' buttercream frosting, maybe for a party or wedding, add ¼ teaspoon of almond extract. It adds just a hint of almond flavor and gives the frosting a slightly elevated flavor.
If you are afraid of an overwhelming almond flavor, begin by adding half as much almond extract as called for - you can always add more.
The almond extract is optional, so feel free to skip this step.
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 - with thick layers as the filling and top of the cake (leaving the sides bare), or thin layers covering the entire cake. To cover all sides of your layer cake with thick frosting, make an additional half batch.
In the recipe card below, hover over the serving size. Use the sliding bar to change the serving size and measurements.
Can I make this less sweet?
Buttercream frosting is a traditional, very sweet frosting that is often found in grocery store bakeries and used on birthday cakes. It is popular because it's easy to prepare with two main ingredients - butter and confectioner's sugar.
Since buttercream frosting includes so few ingredients, it is not easy to alter or make less sweet. Adding less sugar makes the frosting too soft to pipe and tastes like sweetened butter.
Instead, I'd suggest making a less sweet frosting recipe. Here are a few of my favorites!
- Cream cheese buttercream frosting - Creamy, tangy, and sweet.
- Homemade whipped cream - Very lightly sweetened, perfect for angel food cake.
- Ermine frosting - Also known as flour buttercream. Less sweet and cooked on the stovetop.
- Italian meringue buttercream - Silky smooth, pipes beautifully, perfectly sweetened.
- Swiss meringue buttercream - Creamy, silky, less sweet than traditional buttercream.
Whipped Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups (456 g) confectioner's sugar, sifted to remove lumps
- ⅓ cup (76 g) heavy cream, cold
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract, * optional, see note below
- In a large bowl, add room temperature butter and beat with a hand mixer (or stand mixer) 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 heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract (and optional almond extract) and whip for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add additional heavy cream as needed to reach desired consistency.
- Pipe or spread frosting with a knife onto cupcakes and serve.
- *Almond extract is optional. It gives your frosting a slightly elevated flavor - great for wedding and celebration cakes.
- Frosting will keep for 2-3 days at room temperature, 1 week in a sealed container in the refrigerator, or up to 3 months in the freezer. Bring to room temperature before spreading onto baked goods. Stored frosting may need to be rewhipped to achieve original texture.
- Recipe will frost up to 18 cupcakes with tall 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 with thick frosting (leaving the sides bare), or a layer cake with thin frosting all over. To frost the sides of a 2-layer cake with thick frosting, make an additional half batch.
- Baked goods can be frosted the day before an event and left at room temperature in a sealed container. If you have a fully decorated cake or cupcakes with a fruit filling, I'd recommend refrigerating them overnight so they stay fresh longer.
- Butter melts around 90 to 95 degrees and so will your frosting. If your location is nearing this temperature, I'd recommend refrigerating your baked goods until 30 minutes before serving.