Baker Bettie

Simply the Best Buttercream Frosting

This recipe makes simply the best buttercream frosting! Even if you don’t think you like buttercream, this frosting will win you over! This is the best buttercream because it is not sickeningly sweet or overly rich like many buttercream frostings, it works well for cupcakes or cakes, pipes out easily, is silky smooth and fluffy, and holds its shape well!

3 cupcakes topped with the best buttercream frosting

I have to be honest here, I have never liked frosting. Even as a child, I have always been the person who scrapes it all off and just eats the cake. But in my adult life, I have been on a mission to find frosting that I don’t hate. I’m here to tell you, this frosting is it. This is the buttercream for buttercream haters and lovers alike!

My reservations with every buttercream I have ever eaten is that it is always sickeningly sweet and too rich in butter flavor. I just said that. “Too rich in butter flavor.” Who am I? But as much as I LOVE butter, and I do really love butter, there truly is such a thing as too much butter flavor.

So I am here to present to you the buttercream for people who don’t like buttercream. This is also a buttercream for people who love buttercream, because if you like frosting in general you are going to love this!

This truly is the best buttercream for several reasons: it is insanely silky smooth and fluffy, has just the right amount of sweetness, can be piped and hold its shape, and has a good balance of butter flavor without being overwhelming. I may be well on my way to becoming a frosting person with this one! And I want to show you how to make it perfectly!

Sticks of butter

Use Real Butter

The idea that you should use real butter when you want to make really good buttercream may sound like a no-brainer. But I am a child of the 80’s/90’s who honestly didn’t know until I was in college that the big tub of spreadable “butter” in our refrigerator growing up wasn’t really butter, it was margarine. Please don’t use margarine in this recipe!

Buttercream is one of those recipes with very few ingredients. Whenever you are making something that only requires a couple of ingredients, the quality of those ingredients becomes much more important. Use real, unsalted butter for the best buttercream. Though not absolutely necessary, this is also a very acceptable time to use high quality European style butter. I used some unsalted Kerry Gold for this frosting and it was a great decision!

Use Mascarpone (Optional, but HIGHLY Recommended)

If you are already a buttercream lover, using mascarpone in this recipe is totally optional. I think you should try it once and see how you feel about it, because it is so dang good! But that is your call, you could use all butter if you prefer.

If you are like me, and are on the hunt for a buttercream frosting that doesn’t make your stomach churn, then this is not optional! The mascarpone in this recipe is key and is the ingredient that really helps to balance the flavors of this frosting. It ends up tasting rich and luxurious, but not overly sweet or buttery. I first learned about using mascarpone in buttercream from an interview with the owners of the famed Robicelli’s Bakery in Brooklyn. They are definitely onto something!

For this buttercream, the fat is split between butter and mascarpone cheese 60% to 40% respectively. I find that this ratio truly does give the perfect balance of buttery richness that you are looking for in a frosting without overwhelming your taste buds. I keep thinking that this frosting tastes almost like a hybrid of buttercream frosting and whipped cream frosting. And that actually makes a lot of sense since mascarpone is essentially a solid version of heavy cream.

Butter and mascarpone whipped and soft

Make Sure Ingredients Really Are at Room Temperature

The key to making any buttercream frosting successfully is to start with truly room temperature ingredients. You don’t want ingredients that are almost room temperature but still have a little chill on them. You also don’t want ingredients that you nuked in the microwave a little too long and are warm or even hot. All of this is a recipe for disaster with buttercream!

The very best way to ensure you have perfectly room temperature ingredients for your buttercream is to leave them out on the counter overnight. I’m fully aware that it requires planning, but if at all possible, do this! Ideally, you will let your butter, mascarpone (if using), and cream sit out for 2 hours at the very least before making your beautiful fluffy buttercream. It is the best way to ensure your buttercream success.

However, if you absolutely have to, you can use your microwave to get your ingredient temperatures down. To bring your ingredients to room temperature in the microwave, set it to 30% power and heat each ingredient separately in 10 second bursts, checking the progress after each 10 seconds.

Baking Science Tip: Butter is an emulsion, meaning it is a stable mixture of two ingredients that will not mix (fat and water). If the butter is too cold or too warm when you begin whipping it, it will cause the emulsion to break and the fat and the water will separate.

Do Not Rush the Creaming Process

Before you start the process of adding the sugar into your buttercream, you really want to cream the fats together for a good amount of time, about 5 minutes. The process of creaming the butter, and mascarpone in this case, serves a couple of purposes. This process whips air into the fat and creates a much lighter and silkier texture for your buttercream. This process is also what helps make your buttercream appear more white. You will notice as you whip your butter that the yellow color becomes more and more pale.

Soft fluffy frosting on the end of a spatula

Sift the Powdered Sugar

One of the things that I am so impressed with when I make this buttercream is just how silky it is. The texture feels quite luxurious! The process of creaming the butter and mascarpone is a key part of that, but sifting your powdered sugar is also an important part of this! Measure out your sugar first, and then sift it. If you do not have a sifter, you can also use a whisk to break up any clumps. It isn’t quite as effective as sifting, but it will do the job!

A decorated cupcake with soft buttercream

Slowly Add the Sugar & Adjust to Taste

Once your butter, mascarpone, and cream are fully whipped, then you can start adding in your sugar. I suggest doing this slowly with the mixer running. This will help ensure that you don’t end up with a gritty texture to your buttercream and also ensures that your powdered sugar won’t go flying everywhere!

You will notice that this recipe lists a sugar range for how much to use. This really depends on your preference for sweetness and what you want to do with the buttercream. Once you get to the minimum amount of sugar, 2 cups, stop, taste, and add more sugar as desired.

More sugar will give you a more stiff buttercream that might be more suitable for piping intricate designs. However, I used the minimum amount of sugar and it still worked well to successfully pipe a buttercream rose! It is quite a soft and airy texture though, which I love! And even at the full amount of sugar I didn’t find this buttercream to be as sickeningly sweet as many other recipes out there.

Cupcake topped with buttercream and colorful sprinkles

Add Flavorings if Desired

Once your buttercream is whipped up and sweetened to your preference, you can flavor it as you like! Vanilla is an obvious choice, but you could use this recipe as a base to make many other flavor options. Almond extract, coconut extract, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or any other extract or spice would all be great addition. See the notes section of the recipe for a few variation ideas!

The best buttercream frosting topped cupcakes

Simply the Best Buttercream Frosting

Yield: Frosting for ~24 Cupcakes or a 9" Cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This recipe makes simply the best buttercream frosting! Even if you don't think you like buttercream, this frosting will win you over! This is the best buttercream because it is not sickeningly sweet or overly rich like many buttercream frostings, it works well for cupcakes or cakes, pipes out easily, is silky smooth and fluffy, and holds its shape well!

Ingredients

  • 3 sticks (12 oz, 336 gr) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz (224 gr) mascarpone cheese, room temperature (*see note for substitution)
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl oz, 59 ml) heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-4 cups (9 oz-18 oz, 252 gr-5o4 gr) powdered sugar (also known as icing sugar or confectioners sugar)

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, mascarpone cheese, salt, and heavy cream together on medium speed for 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl at the halfway mark. It is extremely important that your ingredients are at room temperature before staring this process or your butter will break.
  2. Meanwhile, sift your powdered sugar.
  3. With the mixer running on medium speed, add your powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time until you have incorporated 2 cups of it. Stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl, and taste your buttercream. Continue adding sugar slowly until it is at the sweetness you prefer. More sugar will create a more stiff buttercream, but it will still hold its shape well with only 2 cups of sugar.
  4. Use immediately, or you can also put it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. If you refrigerate your buttercream, let it come to room temperature and whip it again at medium speed for 1-2 minutes until fluffy!

Note: Because this buttercream does use mascarpone in it, it does need to be refrigerated. It can stay out for a few hours when serving your cake or cupcakes, but then the baked good does need to be refrigerated.

Notes

Notes: : *If you do not want to use mascarpone cheese you can leave it out and increase the amount of butter by 8 oz.

Flavor Variations: Vanilla Buttercream Add 2 tsp vanilla extract after you have added your sugar and beat until incorporated.

Chocolate Buttercream Measure out 1 cup of cocoa powder (you can use natural or dutch-processed cocoa powder) and sift it. After all of your sugar has been incorporated, slowly add the cocoa powder while the mixer is running on medium speed until all incorporated.

Almond Buttercream (perfect for wedding cakes) Add 1/4 tsp almond extract after you have added your sugar and beat until incorporated.

Pumpkin Spice Buttercream Add 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice after you have added your sugar and beat until incorporated.

Espresso Buttercream Stir 1 TBSP instant espresso powder into your heavy cream until it is dissolved. Continue onto step 1 of the recipe.

Mocha Buttercream Stir 1 TBSP instant espresso powder into your heavy cream until it is dissolved. Continue onto step 1 of the recipe. While your butter, mascarpone, & heavy cream are whipping, measure out 1 cup of cocoa powder (you can use natural or dutch-processed cocoa powder) and sift it. After all of your sugar has been incorporated, slowly add the cocoa powder while the mixer is running on medium speed until all incorporated. 

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Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0

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122 comments on “Simply the Best Buttercream Frosting”

  1. What would I use to make a milk chocolate buttercream?

  2. You’re Right, this is the best buttercream I have had.
    I like that I have the control over the sweetness of it. This is definitely going in my to keep binder.

  3. Bettie: Can I freeze the leftovers? I’m in danger of gaining 25 lbs.
    Best buttercream ever! It is now my new go to.

  4. Can I use this buttercream for a layered cake and if so how many cups of sugar would you recommend? 🙂

    • Yes you can! In general, I would recommend a total of 5 cups of frosting for three 8 or 9 inch round layers and 4 cups for two layers.

    • The reviews on this must be fake. This abomination is NOT buttercream. Yes I followed the recipe 100%. This is absolutely garbage. My favorite is the almond extract for a wedding cake. If I was making this for a wedding not realizing the trash this is I would be so mad. Do not waste your time or money. Terrible. 

      • What was so terrible about it?

      • Wow, you realize there’s a human being behind this recipe, right? I wouldn’t want to eat one of your cakes even if it tasted great because your attitude is so sour. Also, if you’re going to rip a recipe apart, at least give constructive and useful criticism. 

      • This is actually a pretty good recipe of buttercream that is not sweet and I have noticed more and more people is using it. So to anyone who reads the comment of this person what he/she is saying doesnt even makes sense. I have tried this recipe and many similar to this one that add mascarpone or cream cheese, for example to a carrot cake and it’s the best. They are probably just jealous of the blogger. This recipe is amazing and specially for people who doesnt like a regular American buttercream that is so sweet can’t even eat it. Don’t pay attention to this unhappy person that has nothing better to do than be rude. And yes, no one paid me to leave this comment.

      • This is actually a pretty good recipe of buttercream that is not sweet and I have noticed more and more people is using it. So to anyone who reads the comment of this person what he/she is saying doesnt even makes sense. I have tried this recipe and many similar to this one that add mascarpone or cream cheese, for example to a carrot cake and it’s the best. They are probably just jealous of the blogger. This recipe is amazing and specially for people who doesnt like a regular American buttercream that is so sweet can’t even eat it. Don’t pay attention to this unhappy person that has nothing better to do than be rude. And yes, no one paid me to leave this comment.

      • You might make wedding cakes, but judging from your attitude you’re single and not by choice…you’re despicable.

  5. I made this it was super velvety. Then I put it in the fridge and now when I pulled it out it’s super stiff and it’s like sweet butter.. how do I save this?!

    • Hi Jessica, it is not ruined! That’s what happens when the butter solidifies in the fridge in any buttercream. Let it sit out and come back to room temperature and then re-whip it with a mixer and it will regain it’s lovely texture before using.

      • hie i m a home baker from india…o would like yo use this cream for my funfetti cake..as india i has hot and humid climate …will this cake be suitable when delivered to other places without melting away…and will this mascarpone buttercream hold its shape when piped???

  6. Is this enough cream for a double layer cake?

    • This is the nicest buttercream ever. People couldn’t get enough of my cakes, my 23 year old daughter just wanted to sit with a bowl of the buttercream!! I’ve had to bake more batches of cakes than ever. My only complaint….. we are all going to put so much weight on! Thank you for sharing this recipe

  7. Do you have to use a paddle  attachment I have a smaller older model hand held mixer will that work to make this butter cream come out right 

  8. Can I use this recipe to pipe in a letter cake? Will the piped balls maintain their shape for 36 hours in between the layers? If so, at what temperature? Will the buttercream in the cake maintain its shape for 2 hours, if standing outside on a hot sunny day? I really look forward to hearing from you.

  9. I love the taste but sadly, I must have missed the part where it stated that it does not take colours well.
    I am going to have to dispose of this and start again with a version that can be coloured.

  10. I love the taste but sadly, I must have missed the part where it stated that it does not take colours well.
    I am going to have to dispose of this and start again with a version that can be coloured.

    This is the first time I have ever posted so I am not sure how the system is telling me I have posted this question before???

  11. I normally make Italian Buttercream which is nice but wanted to try a not so sweet American Buttercream option for those that like it. I made the first batch but forgot to have the heavy cream at room temperature and it broke the butter instantly. So I tossed it out and made a new batch. Everything seemed to be nice and smooth and tasted ok (I say ok because I am an Italian Buttercream gal and hate American buttercream) but I decided to flavor it the next day with cocoa powder for my peanut butter cupcakes. So after leaving in a 70 degree house for 4 hours, it appeared soft to the touch. I put in my Kitchen aid to whip it for the 2 minutes that it says and it broke immediately and so therefore 2 batches in the trash. I am not new to baking but this frosting is more trouble than it is worth. I would recommend frosting the same day you make it and DO NOT REFRIGERATE unless you are planning on leaving it on the counter UNTOUCHED from the fridge for at least 8 hours or more before you whip it. I am not sure I will attempt it again since these are expensive mistakes but I do love the concept of venturing out of the super sweet American Buttercream!

    • Hi Tina, I’m with you! I normally don’t love American buttercream as it can be a tad too sweet in comparison to Italian. In regards to the batches that you tossed, I suggest letting the broken buttercream come to room temperature and then keep on whipping. The whipping will warm up the cold cream that you used and will eventually smooth out and come back together. Always keep whipping a broken buttercream and it should come back together (it can take several minutes)- it’s pretty forgiving in that way if you keep on whipping. Don’t give up!

      If you are trying to warm up a buttercream after its been in the fridge, you can scoop out a small portion and microwave it until it’s very soft (like too soft) and then whip it together with the cold buttercream. That will warm it up and smooth it out. Again, keep whipping for a while and eventually it will get there.

  12. PERFECTLY smooth, not-too-sweet buttercream frosting! I’m SO glad I found this recipe. I don’t love too sweet recipes. I am a novice baker and have been looking for the perfect buttercream recipe. I made an American buttercream first, and after adding half of the powdered sugar (which already seemed like a lot), I tasted it and was horrified at how sweet it was – it literally hurt my teeth! I thought I read the recipe incorrectly. After that, I swore I would never make American buttercream again! I googled “least sweet buttercream,” read up on the different recipes and landed on this one. I liked how this recipe specifically calls out that you can use the minimum amount of powdered sugar and it will still hold up. It was literally perfect. Will recommend this to anyone looking for a delicious, lightly sweet buttercream. Thank you!!

  13. Cant wait to try this recipe. Would you recommend this frosting with mascarpone to hold up for an out door wedding venue, temps around 80 degrees?

    • I think it would hold up well but don’t hold me to that! Italian buttercream frosting is the most stable so I think it might be a better option for you- you could even substitute some of the butter for shortening for even more security.

  14. Hi! Love the recipe and am anxious to try it. I am currently working on a cake but I saw somewhere that mascarpone  can make the buttercream turn yellowish after a few hours. The cake I plan to make is plain white with green airbrushed leaves. Would hate for the frosting to turn yellow, can you tell me if this does happen or not? Thank you in advance 🙂

  15. Could I add Raspberry puree to this buttercream without messing with the consistency?

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