I know you’re here because you want to learn to make American Buttercream, and you are in the right place! Once you learn the basic proportions and method, you won’t even need a recipe to make all sorts of variations on American Buttercream. So let’s get to it!
This is the frosting of my childhood. Butter, 10x, vanilla. Maybe a couple or 3 squares of Baker’s chocolate melted and added. Maybe a little cream or half and half. But simple and homey.
You probably won’t find a butter frosting on a cake at a fine dining restaurant, but it sure is comfort food at its best.
No real recipe needed–just make this to taste. This freezes just fine for a month or so, so if you make too much, it’s okay.
I promise–this is much more of a technique than it is a recipe. Get to know the components and how to mix them, and you’ll do great!
- cool room temperature butter
- powdered sugar, sifted (3-4 cups per stick of butter)
- pinch of salt
- splash of vanilla
- Liquid of choice to thin to spreading consistency (see Options below)
- melted and cooled chocolate
- cream or half and half (or other liquid: orange juice, lemon juice, liqueur, etc)
- food coloring
- other extracts, such as lemon, orange, mint, etc
- dried spices (cinnamon, ginger, etc) or citrus zest
- Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the pinch of salt and then add the powdered sugar, a bit at a time, until you are happy with how sweet it is. Figure around 2 cups of powdered sugar per 4 oz. butter, but just do it to taste.
- Add your vanilla and chocolate, if using. Or, omit the vanilla and add your other extract along with some zest, if you'd like.
- Thin to spreading consistency with the liquid of your choice.
This frosting is incredibly versatile. Stir in mini chocolate chips, toasted and ground nuts, coconut--almost anything you can think of. Substitute some peanut butter or other nut butter for half the butter to make a peanut butter frosting.
For Cream Cheese Frosting
Use 4 oz cream cheese (half a block) and 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter and 6-8 cups of confectioner's sugar. Cream cheese frosting is excellent with a bit of orange or lemon zest mixed in. Use buttermilk for the thinning liquid to get a nice tangy flavor.