Icings, Frostings & Sauces/ Recipes

The Best Buttercream Icing Recipe: FAQ

My Best Buttercream Icing Recipe Ever is the single most popular recipe on my site, without a doubt. With almost 300 comments and over 68,000 people who pinned it on Pinterest (Seriously? What do you people DO all day? Just kidding. Kind of.) there have been a lot of people who have weighed in on this amazing icing and almost 100 percent are in love with it.

With that love and adoration however comes a lot of questions. People use my recipe for birthdays, weddings and more, which means that in the past two or three years since I have first published my recipe, there have been a lot of questions. These are important events and everyone wants to get it right.

(if you don’t want to read the FAQ, skip all the way to the bottom for a printable recipe!)

I have been meaning to write up a FAQ or A Buttercream Icing Recipe 101 and here it goes. I have read through all those comments and have compiled the most commonly asked questions about this icing.

OUR LATEST VIDEOS

What the heck is coffee cream?

Coffee cream here in Canada is a high fat cream, usually around 15-18%. I wanted to use a cream with a high fat content and coffee cream is right between half & half cream and whipping cream. I personally didn’t want to use whipping cream but commenters have let us all know that this icing is just as incredible using whipping cream.

It is NOT a fake creamer. No powders or fake tastes here.

Why Do I Have To Use Salted Butter? Why Not Just Add Salt?

Here’s the deal on why I am so adamant on using salted butter and not adding salt to the recipe.  The quality salted butters have had salt added to the point of tasting perfect. This means that when you use it in your buttercream icing, it’s not too salty and not lacking in salt. Buy a good quality salted butter ( I love PC brand Organic churned butter) that tastes amazing by itself.

When you start with a salty, creamy butter that has a fantastic taste off the spoon, so to say, then you are guaranteed to have a fantastic buttercream icing. We are not using precise salt measurements for baking purposes ,we are using it for taste. There is such a huge difference between the two. It is very hard to salt a buttercream to the exact point you will achieve with a perfectly salted, good quality butter.

If you start with a great tasting butter, dilute it with cream, vanilla and 4 cups of icing sugar it’s simply not possible for it to end up too salty. This is what makes this the Best Buttercream Icing recipe, after all, that sweet salty umami!

Icing Sugar is Powdered Sugar And is Also Confectioners Sugar.

All the same thing and make sure it’s fresh! This type of sugar will wick tastes and aromas from the air.

You Can Add Almost Anything And It Still Is Amazing

My talented, inspired readers have added Tenessee Honey Whisky, lemon, lime and I’ve added almond flavoring for a great cherry taste.

Check out my other favorite buttercream icing recipes that I use all the time,  Chocolate Buttercream Icing and Lemon Buttercream Icing recipes. Just as incredible as this one!

How Many Cupcakes/Cakes/Layers Will This Cover?

I simply cannot tell you this. I am a heavy-duty icer so this doesn’t cover 2 dozen cupcakes for me.  I can tell you that it yields around 3 cups of icing (now this depends on how whippy you make it as well! Can be closer to 4 if you whip larger amounts of air and add more cream). It will do a crumb layer of a double layered 8/9 inch cake perfectly. I always make extra and freeze the leftovers. Which takes us to our next question.

Do I Have To Refrigerate It? Can I Freeze It?

This icing can stay out as long as butter can and remember, will act like butter as well. This is not a lard icing which is why it tastes so much better but butter melts and softens up easily. I leave out cupcakes/cakes for hours at my parties and they are completely fine at room temperature, creamy and lovely, just like butter. I have frozen it as well and there is no problem when it defrosts. Indeed, I freeze it on cakes all the time.

Can I Pipe Designs With It? Can I Color It?

Yes and yes! Check out my R2D2 birthday cake,  Rocket Birthday Cake, Canada Day Cake and Fourth of July Cake, all done with this exact recipe. The Wilton icing gels color this up beautifully. Have fun creating!

The Best Buttercream Icing Recipes from @kitchenmagpie. Her classic buttercream icing is the most popular buttercream icing on the web!

Here is a list of all the best Buttercream icing recipes on my website!

Classic Buttercream Icing

Lemon Buttercream Icing

Pistachio Pudding Buttercream Icing

Cream Cheese Buttercream Icing

Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Candy Bar Buttercream Icing

Vegan Buttercream Icing

And here is the recipe for classic buttercream icing.

Print

The Best Buttercream Icing Recipe


  • Author: Karlynn Johnston
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Total Time: 5 min
  • Category: icing

Description

Simply the best buttercream icing ever! Use high quality salted butter and high fat cream to make this extra decadent!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of good quality salted butter
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla clear vanilla if you want a whiter color
  • 4 cups of icing sugar
  • 4-5 tablespoons of coffee cream 18% and up

Instructions

  1. Using room temperature butter, place it in your mixer bowl.
  2. Using a paddle attachment, whip the butter until it’s creamy and fluffy.
  3. Add in the icing sugar, one cup at a time, beating in completely, until all 4 cups are combined.
  4. Add in the vanilla and whip again to combine.
  5. Add in your cream, less cream = stiffer icing. More cream – fluffier icing.

Enjoy everyone!

Love,

The Icing Happy Magpie

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92 Comments

  • Reply
    Kristina Craig
    January 13, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    It really is!

  • Reply
    Charlene Birston
    January 13, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Thank You – sharing!

  • Reply
    Leanne
    August 13, 2016 at 6:03 am

    Does the icing sugar need to be sifted?

  • Reply
    CakeDoc
    July 17, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Absolutely love this recipe and it is my only go to for buttercream!! Do you have a recipe for royal icing?

  • Reply
    Ed
    June 17, 2016 at 3:31 am

    Sugar blues

  • Reply
    Ed
    June 16, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    4 cups icing sugar,have you ever read Sugar Blues?can a healthier alternative be used ?

  • Reply
    EruDesu
    May 28, 2016 at 3:27 am

    I just have a question:

    Wouldn’t you want to use unsalted butter?  Or are you using salted butter to counter how sweet so it’s not “too” sweet?

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      thekitchenmagpie
      June 12, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      EruDesu It counters the sweetness for sure.

  • Reply
    Amber
    May 9, 2016 at 3:10 am

    What is coffee cream in Australia? Is it light thickened cream? And what brand of salted butter is good that is available in australia? Thanks xx

    • Reply
      Jacqui
      May 24, 2016 at 6:59 am

      @Amber  I use regular thickened cream for this frosting, and it is perfect.

    • Reply
      EruDesu
      May 28, 2016 at 3:19 am

      @Amber Coffee cream is 18%, people usually use whipping/heavy cream though…(35%)

  • Reply
    NadiadeJong
    March 30, 2016 at 6:12 am

    THE -best. I have tested at least 6 different recipes and all were either too sweet, too powdery.. This one- perfect. Thank you!!

  • Reply
    marina
    March 15, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    never heard of coffee cream before but love to try this famous recipe (based on the comments here), may i know the brand of the coffee cream that you used? perhaps it can helps alot of people here in Asia who are not familiar with this coffee cream. If there is a specific brand, i can do a google to find and buy it online.

    Hoping the author can spend a little time to reply my so boring question! thanks \U0001f60a

    • Reply
      BCollinge
      April 1, 2016 at 2:27 am

      The type of cream isn’t a huge deal, I have tried it with whole milk and it was still delicious!

    • Reply
      JenniferxLam
      April 9, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      @marina Actually, Coffee Cream is Whip cream. We use half & half cream 🙂 I hope that helps! xx.

  • Reply
    Lala and Lily
    February 4, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Wow! My 5 year old daughter and I just made this recipe and we are without words, mainly because our mouths are full of the yummy icing! We made a cake, then cupcakes and now cinnamon rolls! It is 8pm and we can’t get enough, thank you, thank you, thank you! This is my very 1st post EVER but it deserves the credit!

    We love sweets,

    Lily and LaLa

  • Reply
    Judi
    January 20, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Try it sometime with whipping cream. Talk about to die for…

  • Reply
    Mery042309
    December 20, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    What other brand of salted butter is considered good quality? I live in US and I have never seen the PC brand in any supermarket. Thanks.

    • Reply
      JenniferxLam
      April 10, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      Mery042309 It’s a Canadian Brand 🙂 You can also try Nelson’s Butter. Any butter is fine actually :) 

  • Reply
    Roza aljarml
    December 2, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    how much is a cup of butter and a cup of sugar in this recipe?

  • Reply
    anonymous
    August 25, 2015 at 5:49 am

    Can I use this buttercream icing recipe to make buttercream roses? (Like Wilton roses)

    • Reply
      EruDesu
      May 28, 2016 at 3:20 am

      @anonymous buttercream roses are made with buttercream icing

  • Reply
    Anisa
    August 7, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    can i use unsalted butter for this recipe ? 

  • Reply
    amanda
    August 7, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Hi just wondering how long will this last on a cake. ?one week?? I am making my cousins 18th bday cake and i work so wanted to ice it on sunday for a friday party would this be ok? I know the cake will last this long just worried about the icing.

    • Reply
      thekitchenmagpie
      August 15, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      @amanda I wouldn’t leave it for the week, BUT I freeze my cakes whole. The icing might have teeny droplets of water when it defrosts, but they always evaporate by the time I serve the cake.

  • Reply
    Nejua07
    July 28, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Is this buttercream stiff enough to be used under fondant?

    • Reply
      EruDesu
      May 28, 2016 at 3:21 am

      Nejua07 Yep! People usually use buttercream icing to crumb coat the cakes because using fondant.  If you find the fondant too stiff, add a bit of egg white (like, just a little), and whip it in.  If it’s too runny, add more sifted icing sugar!

  • Reply
    lulu2224
    July 26, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Oh and also can I replace the coffee creamer with single or double cream? Single cream has a fat content of  18% double cream has a fat content of 48%. Does the kind of cream matter? 

  • Reply
    lulu2224
    July 26, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Hi, are the cups, UK cups or US cups? An can you please convert the ingredients (the butter and icing sugar mainly) into grams? As its more accurate

    • Reply
      EruDesu
      May 28, 2016 at 3:22 am

      @lulu2224 Google is very good at converting 😉

  • Reply
    Kake lady
    June 19, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I have heavy cream with a 40% will that work?

    • Reply
      EruDesu
      May 28, 2016 at 3:22 am

      Kake lady It does, usually people use the 35% cream for making whipped icing, so 40% is fine too.

  • Reply
    ClaudiaAcostaMay
    April 20, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Tried it,  loved it, making it again.  Although I am not a fan of buttercream, I gotta say this one is really good  The only issue I had was that the icing did not come out white,   it is more like a cream color,  I guess when you color it is better.  I used it just by it self, no coloring.  

    • Reply
      EruDesu
      May 28, 2016 at 3:24 am

      ClaudiaAcostaMay Could’ve been a few things.  The colour of the butter, if you used the vanilla extract or artificial vanilla, or maybe the coffee cream? (I don’t drink coffee, but I don’t think it’s exactly white?)

  • Reply
    Angela
    February 4, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Well, I was going to Pin this but then you said this: ‘(Seriously? What do you people DO all day? Just kidding. Kind of.)’

    I’m not going to give you any more social media if you find it so repugnant.

    • Reply
      Little Lamb
      April 4, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      @Angela  Angela, I think perhaps you need a hug or possibly a heavily frosted cupcake!  Don’t take it all so seriously.

  • Reply
    Jasmine
    December 26, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I’m looking for a buttery sugar-reduced icing. Would this do?

  • Reply
    Jasmine
    December 26, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I’m looking for a buttery, non-sweet icing? Would this do?

  • Reply
    Btadler
    December 23, 2014 at 4:20 am

    How many batches of this recipe do I need in order to make the R2D2 cake?

  • Reply
    guest
    December 13, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    I only hav whol milk in the house..will that work?ee

  • Reply
    guest
    December 13, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    I dont any cream  the house..will whole milk do?

  • Reply
    CJ
    November 28, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    This buttercream recipe is incredible and now I want to make a white chocolate version of it. Do you have a recipe or any suggestions on how to transform your recipe into a white chocolate buttercream?

    • Reply
      thekitchenmagpie
      November 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      @CJ Oooh. White chocolate is such another monster on it’s own….maybe, just maybe, a white chocolate pudding mix somehow? It would have to be dissolved in the cream or something….

    • Reply
      Lea
      November 13, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      @CJ I realize that this poster might not come back, but in case anyone else wanders along here with the same question (if thekitchenmagpie hasn’t already addressed it elsewhere)– you might want to forego buttercream in this instance and use ganache, instead! I’ve used white chocolate ganache both whipped and glossy on cakes to wonderful effect!

  • Reply
    cindi
    November 21, 2014 at 1:04 am

    I’m making this tonight. What kind of icing tip did you use for the pictured cupcake?

  • Reply
    Skye
    November 20, 2014 at 3:52 am

    Hi just made this icing and tastes yum, only problem I found is it turned out abit yellowish in colour what could that be from as I have just made a tester today in prep for a birthday cake I have to make next week

  • Reply
    Maggiechloe1017
    November 12, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    This was by far the best buttercream frosting recipe I have ever had. I was eating it like ice cream.

    • Reply
      thekitchenmagpie
      November 13, 2014 at 2:23 am

      Maggiechloe1017 Yay! I am glad you liked it, thank you for letting me know!

  • Reply
    cocoa
    November 1, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I’m pretty sure someone has asked this question already but since I don’t have time going through 300 comments (good job on that!) I’m gonna ask anyway–can I use regular (table) cream rather than coffee cream? I live in Toronto but I cant seem to find coffee cream anywhere. Maybe adding drops of coffee to the cream will do..?

  • Reply
    lupita
    October 28, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    hello i just came to this page and i can’t wait to try it this friday for halloween. 

    i would like to know if you have a mocha buttercream recipe or mint buttercream. Thanks

    • Reply
      thekitchenmagpie
      October 28, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      @lupita Just add a few drops of mint extract to taste for the mint flavor! I don’t have a mocha one yet….

  • Reply
    ARIANNE ARAIZA
    October 25, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    THANK YOU FROM MÉXICO!, I LOVED THIS BUTTERCREAM RECIPE AND I’LL ALWAYS USE IT!

    • Reply
      thekitchenmagpie
      October 26, 2014 at 2:46 am

      @ARIANNE ARAIZA I am so glad you like it!! Thanks for letting me know!

  • Reply
    Elle
    October 11, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    I only have heavy whipping cream in my house right now, will that be too heavy to use?

    • Reply
      thekitchenmagpie
      October 16, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      @Elle No, it works just fine!

  • Reply
    Cake lover
    September 27, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    can u plz tell 1 cup of butter is how many gms.? and also 1 cup means which cup??

    • Reply
      Shellie
      October 13, 2014 at 3:37 am

      Cake lover 227 grams (you can always google this type of question and it pops right up – you might want to purchase American measuring cups to make it easier to follow recipes that use cups.  :)

  • Reply
    Elisa
    September 27, 2014 at 1:24 am

    Oh my goodness. I am never using premade frosting again. This is so good, my daughter demanded that I scrape the frosting from a batch of freshly decorated cupcakes and replace it with this immediately, hahaha! Thank you so much for posting this great recipe. It’s awesome.

    Elisa

    • Reply
      thekitchenmagpie
      September 27, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      @Elisa You are so welcome, I am glad that you loved it!

  • Reply
    DebbieUmbaughIerano
    August 26, 2014 at 12:25 am

    best, best, BEST icing EVER!  thank you! :))

  • Reply
    guest
    July 31, 2014 at 3:34 am

    I can’t seem to find anywhere, is it vanilla extract or essence?

  • Reply
    halllagirl94
    May 1, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    What do i do if i dont have a thing to whip the butter?

  • Reply
    Sweepea2008
    April 29, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Can I use flavored coffee creamer–like Coffeemate or International Delight?  I have no idea how to figure out the actual fat percentage.

    • Reply
      ambat1991
      May 2, 2016 at 1:18 am

      I used coffee creamer and it turned out well, it was just sweeter.

  • Reply
    Debbie Haines
    April 26, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Hello… I  was anxious to try out your recipe, but I wondered if you have the ingredients in grammes or Ounces and let me know what cream it is? I live in England and not heard of ‘coffee cream’? I would appreciate any advice as I would love to try it out .. many thanks

    Debs

    x

  • Reply
    Katie
    April 13, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Is coffee cream just like normal whipping cream? Stupid question but I’ve never seen coffee cream in Australia!

    • Reply
      thekitchenmagpie
      April 13, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      @Katie It’s a very high fat cream, below whipping cream but above half and half. The more fat the better! 

      • Reply
        Sweepea2008
        April 29, 2014 at 6:00 pm

        Can I use flavored coffee creamer–like Coffeemate or International Delight?  I have no idea how to figure out the actual fat percentage.

  • Reply
    Noreen W
    April 11, 2014 at 2:55 am

    OMGosh… I have used this Buttercream Icing three times in the past two months since I have found YOU….It’s the BEST we’ve ever had! The Hub, the Kids, the Company, the extended Family and the Friends and little ‘ol me LOVE this Buttercream Icing! It’s a BIIIIG YUM!

    • Reply
      thekitchenmagpie
      April 11, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Noreen W Yay! So glad that it’s a hit with your family!

  • Reply
    Wendysmom
    March 23, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    To anyone doubting…..this IS, without a doubt,  the best buttercream icing/frosting!  I’ve used it many times and it always comes out just great.  And is SO delish!

  • Reply
    cookingnana
    March 1, 2014 at 1:46 am

    Hi running late with cooking my cakes so while they are cooking I thought I would look up buttercream frosting, as I don’t really like buttercream icing the last time I mixed it with ganache turned out well but I have to say this sounds great I think I will try it. I was wondering can I make it up now and keep in the fridge and use later tonight or should it be applied to the cake straight away? I will be using it as a filling and also for dirty icing and then applying fondant over the top. Also I would like to add fresh raspberry juice has anyone tried this before?

  • Reply
    anitamaxb
    November 6, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    18% and Up  is the amount of fat of cream have?

  • Reply
    Noreen W
    October 21, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Okay so I used your Buttercream reciped again and again and once again recently for my twins 5 year old bday party! It turns out every time! We love it! Thanks for sharing this really awesome buttercream icing recipe! IT’s the BEST that I’ve ever made for sure! My twins said…. Mommy? and I looked over… they had their thumbs up!  :-)

    Cheers, Nor

  • Reply
    Noreen W
    October 21, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Yah! WOW! Greatful I found YOU on the web! Okay so I used your Buttercream recipe again and then again and then ….once again recently for my twins 5 year old bday party! It turns out every time! We love it! I too have used Whipping Cream from time to time when don’t have coffee cream… Divine and it does take color very well! Thanks for sharing this really awesome buttercream icing recipe! IT’s the BEST that I’ve ever made for sure! My twins said…. Mommy? and I looked over… they had their thumbs up!  :-)

    Cheers, Nor

  • Reply
    Lyndseycoco
    September 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Can you use flavored coffee cream instead of just regular coffee creamer?

  • Reply
    Test
    June 12, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    i just want to post without signing in!

  • Reply
    laurisa
    May 28, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks so much!  I’m excited to try this.  I have been looking for a GREAT frosting recipe.  I would love to get your chocolate buttercream recipe, but the link takes me to the lemon frosting recipe.  Let me know how I can find the chocolate recipe.  Thanks!

  • Reply
    Cupcake Baker
    May 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    I have used whipping cream in this frosting and it is amazing.  All of my customers LOVE it.  It also takes color very well.  Thank you so much for this recipe…I use it all of the time.

  • Reply
    BFab
    April 17, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    I can’t wait to try this!  Just an FYI, both your chocolate and lemon icing links take me to the lemon icing recipe 🙂

  • Reply
    Karlynn Johnston
    April 9, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    It lasts as long as cream does, so you have quite a few days of keeping it in the fridge!

  • Reply
    Mmmmwhatsnext
    April 9, 2013 at 11:33 am

    How long will this last once made?

  • Reply
    Auntie A
    March 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I just made a batch of this icing and I have to say it really is the best I have ever tasted! I can’t stop eating a pinch of it here and there! Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. I had taken taken Wilton cake decorating classes years ago and had always used their “buttercream” recipe, but that one calls for shortening instead of real butter. I’m so glad that I don’t have to offer anyone a shortening-laden cupcake or cake ever again!

  • Reply
    marylouh
    February 18, 2013 at 2:41 am

    This was amazing icing!  and so great to work on my cake with so thank you for posting.  My other icings were always inconsistent, and I realize the biggest difference was to blend in all the icing sugar first and then add the liquids.  And all i had was 1% milk and it still turned out great.  When I plan ahead, I will definitely use the cream!  This is my new go-to buttercream icing, and I have been looking for a couple of years!!  thanks!

     

  • Reply
    sundaecone888
    February 5, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Hello there! I wonder, can you advise me on how to add coffee to make it coffee-flavored? Thank you so much! 

    • Reply
      ncatlett1
      February 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      I have made frosting coffee flavored by using instant coffee crystals, I have just mixed it in with the butter and sugar after it has been creamed. Has been delicious.

  • Reply
    ncatlett1
    January 25, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I know you have read this a 1000x’s, but THANK YOU!!!! This is my go-to frosting recipe. I couldn’t find it and I almost cried 😀 sad, huh?! 

  • Reply
    Sheila Oshawa Ontario
    December 31, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Just tried and it turned out perfectly. So yummy!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    lucyhill06
    November 7, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Looks so sweet and yummy! Hmp…just so love to try this one.

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  • Reply
    damn_delicious
    November 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Definitely need to try this! I’ve bookmarked it for my next cupcake recipe – thanks! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kristina Craig
    November 5, 2012 at 2:08 am

    I just used it today for a lovely Dora birthday cake!

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