How to Make Buttercream

Master the art of making homemade buttercream with Dr. Oetker. From creaming butter to achieving the best consistency for stunning baking results.

Buttercream is a versatile and delicious form of frosting that brings cakes, cupcakes and an array of bakes to life. This spreadable mixture is used as a filling between cake layers, piped into intricate designs for decoration and flavoured or coloured to complement the bake’s theme.
Homemade buttercream has many benefits over shop bought buttercream. Not only is it simple to make but it also means you have more control over the sweetness, texture and taste. Homemade buttercream also has less preservatives and artificial flavours as well as being more cost effective.
In this guide, we’ll explore the most simple buttercream recipe. We’ve got step by step instructions to make it and tips on how to colour buttercream. Plus, we’ll answer your frequently asked questions about buttercream. 

Equipment needed

• Electric mixer
• Mixing bowl
• Spatula
• Measuring cups/scales
• Piping bag with nozzle
• Pallet knife (optional)

Ingredients to Make Buttercream

For the easiest buttercream recipe (American buttercream) and enough to ice 12 cupcakes, you’ll need the following ingredients:

• 500g icing sugar
• 250g unsalted butter (softened)
• Flavour extracts (optional) choose from one of our delicious flavour and extracts

Making Buttercream Step by Step
Picture - Buttercream

1. Sift the icing sugar into your stand mixer bowl then add the softened butter.
2. Mix the sugar and butter together using a low speed. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl using a spatula.
3. Increase to a medium speed and mix for another three minutes. 
4. Add optional extras such as one of our natural extracts. Mix using a medium speed for one minute.

Your buttercream is now ready to use. Check out our guide of how to ice a cake so you can use it straightaway. Alternatively, you can store it in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months.
Looking to add some flavour to your buttercream? Here are some inspirational ideas:
-Chocolate buttercream: Add 50g of Fine Dark Cocoa Powder in when you add in the icing sugar. 
-Lemon: Add in a dash of Sicilian Lemon Natural Extract
Add a hint of American Peppermint Natural Extract

How to Colour Buttercream
Picture - Mothers Day Cupcakes

It’s quick and super simple to colour buttercream, and there are two different ways to do it.
You can either add in a flavour like chocolate or fruit preserves which will also colour your buttercream. Or you can add in a gel food colouring once you’ve combined your butter and sugar. Add in a little at a time until you get the depth of colour you’re looking for. 

With your new buttercream colouring skills, why not try it out with one of our recipes? Put your piping skills to the test with our Multi-Textured Lemon Cupcakes or Two Tone Swirl Fairy Cakes or get the party started with our showstopper Salted Caramel Watercolour Buttercream Cake.

Frequently Asked Questions About Making Buttercream

Can you freeze buttercream?
Absolutely! If you’re not ready to use your buttercream or you make a delicious buttercream and there’s some left over, you can freeze it for up to three months in an airtight container. When you’re ready to use your buttercream, let it thaw overnight in the fridge and then bring it to room temperature. You may need to re-whip it again to make it light and fluffy.

How long does buttercream last?
It’s best to store in an airtight container in the fridge, to keep your buttercream for one week. When you’re ready to use it again, bring it to room temperature and re-whip to get that light and fluffy texture.

How to thicken buttercream?
If you need to thicken your buttercream, add some more icing sugar a tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. If you’re making a flavoured buttercream such as chocolate, you can add more cocoa powder to your preferred taste and thickness.

Why is my buttercream grainy?
If your buttercream is too grainy, it’s usually because your butter was too cold or you didn’t sift your icing sugar before using it. There are a few ways to fix this:
• Let it rest: Leave it for a couple of hours and the sugar crystals can then ‘melt’.
• Add liquid: You can also add a dash of liquid – like cream – to your buttercream. Add a tablespoon at a time and mix until you’re happy with the consistency.
• Re-mix:  You’ll get the best results by using a stand mixer to make your buttercream. Make sure you use the paddle attachment to get the silkiest buttercream. 

Buttercream is a delicious yet simple recipe and one you should definitely try out – it’s a great skill to have. 

Don’t miss our other helpful hints and tips to boost your baking at home, like how to soften butter and our guide to freezing cakes.

Related Tips & Tricks