Baking Bothers: Perfect Buttercream

Q. How do you make the perfect buttercream?

Bea Vo says: We do an Italian buttercream at the shop, but if you're looking for a simple American-style buttercream, there are three things to keep in mind.

The butter should always be at room temperature and soft. Add icing sugar to your liking, and if it is too stiff, add some room temperature milk to loosen it up. Beat it as much as you can until super fluffy.

Charlotte White says: The simplest icing (in my humble opinion) is buttercream icing. It can be used to fill cakes as well as to top them. It can be used to completely cover a cake, top and sides, giving it that really professional finish. It can be smoothed to perfection or ridged, ruffled and rustic looking. It can be plain white or coloured exotically. The possibilities are endless!

The key to making buttercream icing is to take your time over it. This is made about a million times easier with a freestanding mixer – otherwise you are in for a great bicep and tricep workout with an electric hand whisk!

Here's my recipe for a dozen cupcakes or one standard 8” cake:

• 250g unsalted butter

• 1 tsp vanilla extract

• 400g icing sugar

Start by thoroughly creaming the butter until no little lumps of butter are remaining, which should take approximately three minutes. Using the paddle attachment (if you are using a freestanding mixer) begin by creaming the butter on a low speed to start the process for about 30 seconds, then stop the mixer and scrape down the butter from the sides of the bowl before beating on a higher speed for about two-three minutes more. Beat the vanilla extract into the butter for 30 seconds.

Add the icing sugar to the creamed butter in thirds, mixing for at least two minutes after each addition to ensure that the icing is completely incorporated before adding the next third. When you have all of your sugar in, turn the mixer up to a nice high speed and let it beat the buttercream for a good five minutes to make it extra fluffy.

I know that this sounds long-winded but, trust me, the extra time that you put into beating your buttercream will result in a delightfully creamy and light consistency that is well worth the effort!

Edd Kimber says: My classic vanilla buttercream recipe is:

• 250g unsalted butter, room temperature

• 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

• 100ml double cream

• 500g icing sugar

• Pinch fine salt

Beat the butter until smooth and creamy and then gradually pour in the cream mixing until combined. Gradually add the sugar beating on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste and salt and beat for a few minutes to combine evenly.

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