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.
Looking for a chocolate version? Try my whipped chocolate buttercream frosting! Looking for an even less sweet frosting option? Try my recipe for homemade whipped cream or a cooked ermine frosting.
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 some time to come 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 I 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 your 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 (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.
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 will taste like sweetened butter.
Instead, I'd suggest trying 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, which I like to call 'fancy buttercream.' Great for wedding cakes and cupcakes.
- Frosting will keep for 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.
- 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.
- 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 an hour before you're ready to serve them. Refrigerating your frosted baked goods will not hurt them, but you will want to give them some time to come to room temperature before serving.
Can you reduce the confectioner’s sugar by one cup so it won’t be as sweet
Hi Deedee, there's a section on this in the post above: "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 will taste like sweetened butter." There's also a list of less sweet frosting options included in the post, like my ermine frosting, which is a cooked frosting on the stovetop: https://thetoastykitchen.com/ermine-frosting/
I have a bunch of leftover buttercream from my bday cake prolly a little less than a lb do u think if I added a bit of heavy cream that it would make whipped frosting
It's hard to say for sure how that would turn out. You could try whipping the heavy cream to stiff peaks, then fold it into the existing buttercream frosting to give it a lighter texture.
I’m wanting to make this for my daughter’s first birthday cake and am just wondering how you’d recommend I color it pink? Should I just put liquid food coloring or the gel? Also, I know it’s not related but do you have any tips for making boxed cake mix taste better? Haha thank you!!
Hi Kelly, liquid or gel food coloring would work in this recipe, it can be added along with the vanilla extract. I don't use boxed cake mixes so I can't really offer any guidance on that. Hope everyone enjoys the cake!
Love this recipe! I plan on using it for cupcakes for my son's birthday and doubling the recipe. Will I be able to double this recipe using my stand mixer, or will I need to make 2 batches? Just want to make sure there will be enough space.
This recipe can be doubled in a standard size stand mixer - anywhere from 4 to 6 quarts. You'll want to make two separate batches if you have a smaller stand mixer in the 2-3 quart range.
If I only have salted butter, could I just omit the salt ?
Hi! I’ve used this recipe before and i love it! i was just wondering if i’d be able to use it for a stackable cookie, im not sure if it could support the weight of the cookies!
Yes, this frosting would work as a filling between cookies. I use this same recipe in my whoopie pies: https://thetoastykitchen.com/whoopie-pies/
I added pulverized freeze-dried strawberries, whipped it extra, and this frosting became very, very high end. Thank you.
I'm wondering if this frosting will hold up in the heat well? I'm making a cake tomorrow and want to use this frosting because it's so dang good! It's an outside party (table in shade) and 85 degrees outside. Will it melt?
Hi Emily, buttercream frosting melts between 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. I'd definitely keep your cake in the shade, and put it out just before slicing, if possible. At 85 degrees, it's entirely possible that the frosting will start weeping if it's out for more than 15-20 minutes.
I followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfectly! I am a novice with cupcake decorating and this frosting worked perfectly in a pastry bag! Great recipe, thank you!
My first attempt at this turned out perfect, exactly the consistency I was looking for. The next day I tried to whip up another batch and two attempts both turned out lumpy and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. What did I do wrong?
Hi Nick, are the lumps from the butter or the sugar? If your butter is still a little cold in the middle, that could cause lumps. If the confectioner's sugar is making powdery lumps, I'd suggest sifting it before adding it to the butter.
Is this icing good for making tier cakes?
Yes, many readers have used it to decorate cakes!
Can this be colored like regular buttercream??
Yes, you can add food coloring to this frosting.
I tried this the other day and man o man it was way way too sweet. My husband who who loves sweets said he had to scrape off the frosting. Way too much sugar. Next time, I’ll start with two cups and build from there.
Hi Vicki, buttercream frosting is one of the most sweet types of frosting (like you'd find at a grocery store bakery). If you don't like sweet frosting, it's not surprising that you did not like this recipe. If you reduce the amount of sugar in half, your frosting will taste mostly of butter and may be too soft to pipe. Instead, I'd suggest trying a less sweet style of frosting. Here are a few ideas:
Cream cheese buttercream: https://thetoastykitchen.com/cream-cheese-buttercream-frosting/
Ermine frosting: https://thetoastykitchen.com/ermine-frosting/
Swiss meringue buttercream: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/swiss-meringue-buttercream/
Italian meringue buttercream: https://preppykitchen.com/how-to-make-italian-buttercream/
This is a nice change from regular buttercream for sure. I did use both the vanilla and almond extracts and had no issues with any curdling. I used my KitchenAid with the whisk attachment. I did not sift the sugar as I have not ever had lumping issues with my powder sugar and this was no exception. Room temp. butter is a must. If you are in a hurry (and I cringe as I write this) soften it in the (gasp) microwave. (I did 5 seconds at a time until it had the right feel) **I am not a huge microwave fan but that's just me** I think next time I might increase the heavy cream a bit? Personally? Other than cutting the sugar by 1 cup I would say this is a darn good keeper. Thank you for sharing this!
Can you add food processed Oreos to make it Oreo flavored?
I haven't tried adding oreos to this recipe, so I can't say for sure how that would turn out (but it sounds delicious!). Here's what looks like a great recipe for oreo frosting: https://numstheword.com/oreo-buttercream-frosting/
Excellent recipe. Followed it to the letter and really like how light and creamy it came out. Not really sure how the frosting could make flowers cause it’s pretty soft, but I don’t really do high stacked frosting on my cupcakes so this is perfect. The almond really does add to the overall finish of the frosting.
From the pictures above, it looks like you used the "wisk" attachment from the samples. Most suggest "paddle." I am going to try this recipe with the wisk. Thank you, Jeannie
Hi! Can I just double the recipe? I am making four 6” cakes. Do you think I can decorate it with the double recipe? Will the frosting be the same?? Thank you in advance!
Yes, this recipe will turn out fine if doubled! Check out the section in the post titled 'How much frosting do I need?', it may help. As written, this recipe will decorate one 6-inch three layer cake, filling between the layers as well as covering the outside.
Patience is the key to this recipe. The butter has to be totally room temperature. This was far less sweet than the average buttercream, the texture was smooth, and it held up better in higher heat than others might. This is my new go to for my cakes.
is this buttercream stable enough to pipe consistent flowers with?
Yes, this frosting is great for piping flowers - many readers have used it for piping detailed borders and decorations.
Here are a few pins where readers have shared their photos:
Can I turn this into chocolate frosting?
Hi Alix, readers have had success adding 6-8 tablespoons of cocoa powder in with the confectioner's sugar to make this into a chocolate frosting!
*edit* I now have a chocolate version here: https://thetoastykitchen.com/whipped-chocolate-buttercream-frosting/
Can I freeze my cupcakes after decorating with this frosting?
yes you can!
Hi, thank you for this recipe. I´ll try it tomorow, but i´ll like to know if it´s absolutelly necesary to add the heavy cream or if i can replace it for milk. Ask this since i´ve read some other recipes with no heavy cream.
Heavy cream is added to this frosting to give it a lighter, whipped texture. If you'd like to substitute with milk it will be more dense like a traditional buttercream frosting. I'd recommend substituting 1/3 cup of heavy cream with 1/4 cup of milk, similar to this recipe: https://thetoastykitchen.com/classic-american-buttercream-frosting/
Thank you soooo much!! Yesss... looking for the traditional one!
I took the advice and made a batch and a half to frost filling sides and top of two 9 inch cakes. Well let me tell you next time I will just make the original recipe because it made sooooo much! I could frost another two 9 inch cakes. As for the frosting it was simple to make with my KitchenAid mixer. The taste is a little bland i think next time i will add more vanilla extract.
Jennifer A. Reynolds
Way too sweet.
Hi Jennifer, I'm sorry to hear the frosting was too sweet for you - buttercream frosting is one of the sweetest types of frostings. I'd suggest maybe a swiss meringue buttercream or a stabilized whipped cream for a less sweet flavor.