Welcome to the first post of my buttercream series! (To see the second post: Italian Meringue Buttercream, click here) In the next three posts we are going to be diving deep into buttercreams (that’s the dream, right?). We will be talking about the three main types of buttercreams: Italian Meringue Buttercream, Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and American Buttercream. I’ll give you my favorite recipes, step-by-step instructions, troubleshooting for common problems, storage, and my best tips. Honestly, you’re probably going to learn more than you ever wanted to know about buttercream.

Buttercream (5 of 7)

Let’s start with the easiest one: American Buttercream. American Buttercream is pretty much foolproof. It is a lot sweeter than the other two buttercreams, which is why I don’t use it too often. This is the style of buttercream that comes on most cakes from the grocery store and in the canned icing in the baking aisle. This is a great starting point in understanding buttercream.

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For in-depth “whys” and “howtos”, skip to the end of this post!

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American Buttercream

Easy and delicious American Buttercream
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: American Buttercream, Buttercream
Servings: 8 cups

Ingredients

  • 6 sticks (678 grams) butter softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 11 1/2 cups (1300 grams) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • heavy cream as needed

Instructions

  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until very soft and creamy.
  • Add the salt, vanilla, and half of the powdered sugar and beat until fully combined.
  • Add the rest of the powdered sugar and beat for 5-6 minutes.
  • If the buttercream is too thick add heavy cream, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • You can add food coloring or other flavorings at this point if you would like.
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American Buttercream

  1. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until it is very soft and creamy. The butter needs to be really soft or your buttercream won’t be as fluffy as it should be.
  2. Add the salt, vanilla, and half of the powdered sugar and beat until fully combined. It should be able to stand at a medium peak. Which means that when you pull the beater off of the mixer and hold it upside down it should make a peak that stands up, but droops a little and moves when you shake the beater.
  3. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and beat on medium speed for 5-6 minutes.
  4. If the buttercream is too thick add the heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. It should not be liquidy at all. It should not fall off of the beater when you pick it up. It should be easy to spread.
  5. If you want to color your buttercream add the food coloring before you add the heavy cream, as to not add too much liquid.
  6. You can also add other flavorings to it, like cocoa powder.

Storage

  1. You can store American Buttercream in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week or in the fridge for up to 2 months. It holds really well and will not change the texture or taste at all.
  2. If you store it in the fridge, set it out at room temperature for about an hour. Then place it back into your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until it comes back to the original consistency.
  3. If you store it in the freezer, let it sit out at room temperature for a few hours. Then place it back into your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until it comes back to the original consistency.

Troubleshooting

  1. If your buttercream is runny:
    1. This means that too much liquid was added at some point in the recipe. If your butter was melted, not softened when you added the powdered sugar, then this is the problem. Place your buttercream in the fridge for 5-10 minutes and go back to beating until you reach the desired consistency.
    2. If you added too much vanilla, heavy cream, flavoring, or food coloring you will need to add more powdered sugar to thicken it up. This will also make your buttercream sweeter, but it will save you from having to make a whole new product. Add just a bit at a time, while beating, until you reach the desired consistency.
  2. If your buttercream is lumpy:
    1. You just need to keep on beating it until it comes together. The butter might have been too cold, but it will warm up as you continue to beat the buttercream.

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