Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

This is my favourite vanilla buttercream; super creamy, full of rich vanilla flavour and the perfect addition to a variety of cakes, cupcakes, macarons and even sugar cookies!

This recipe is super easy to make too, but there are a few things to keep in mind…

The most important ingredient in buttercream is – surprise, surprise – the butter. I always use real butter (no margarine or butter substitute) and prefer unsalted, which you can find in supermarkets for around £1.50.

You should also always start with soft butter – if it’s too cold and it will be tough to work with, if it’s melted you can end up with a greasy mess. Make sure you take the butter out of the fridge in plenty of time to bring it to room temperature.

Vanilla is also a key ingredient. As I mentioned in my vanilla cupcake recipe, good quality vanilla extract is essential. Personally, I like to use vanilla bean paste, but it can be a bit pricey. Whatever you do, make you to get your hands on real vanilla extract rather than fake vanilla flavouring.

Finally, I would totally recommend investing in a stand mixer or hand-held mixer for making buttercream. You can make it by hand, but it will be a serious workout, so you might want to spare your arms. A stand mixer or hand mixer will make beating the butter and mixing ingredients so much easier.


600g icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
250g softened unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2tbsp milk or water


  1. Start by cutting your butter into small chunks then using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, beat the butter on a medium-high speed for 5 minutes until it goes pale and gains some volume. You may need to stop your mixer and scrape down the bowl a couple of times.

  2. Sift in your icing sugar a little at a time, scraping down the bowl and beating on a low setting between each addition. Repeat until you’ve used all of your icing sugar. If your buttercream is a little too thick, add one to two tablespoons of milk or cool water from the kettle to loosen it up.

  3. Once your icing sugar is fully incorporated, add your vanilla extract, bring the mixer up to high speed and beat the buttercream for another 5 minutes until you’ve reached a light, fluffy consistency.

This recipe makes roughly enough for 12 cupcakes (depending on how much buttercream you like, of course), but if you do have any leftovers, buttercream freezes really well. Put it into an airtight food container and freeze for up to three months – just don’t forget to make a note of the date or write it on the box.

I’d love to hear what you think about this recipe – don’t forget to leave me a comment!

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