Classic Buttercream Frosting Recipe
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This adaptable buttercream frosting recipe can be used as-is or dyed any color you like. You can pipe, spread or schmear it onto cupcakes and cakes as desired, and a tablespoon or two of milk more or less can firm it up or loosen it to exactly the consistency you’d like. We like to use this buttercream frosting for our Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes.
You don’t have to be any kind of expert to pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Just practice a bit — you can always scoop frosting back into a piping bag and start over.
- 24 tablespoons good butter*
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk, give or take
- Gel icing color of choice
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or the whisk, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated.
- Add the vanilla extract and milk and turn up the speed to medium high. Beat until very light and smooth.
- If making multiple colors, divide icing into separate bowls. Use a toothpick to swirl a little bit of gel icing color into each bowl, then mix thoroughly, adding more as necessary to achieve desired shade.
- Spread or pipe onto cupcakes and decorate as you like.
* Salted or unsalted butter is fine. I tend to use salted to offset the frosting's intense sweetness.