Getting your vanilla buttercream right is probably your first step into cake decorating. Without a proper flavor or consistency of your icing, your cake may not taste like what you had hoped for. This recipe is the basic step towards getting your cake right. Today, I will share with you the recipe that I use for all my vanilla buttercream iced cakes. I have used “Buttercream” icings that do not call for any butter in it at all. Instead, shortening is used. I tend to make my icings using all butter, unless the client has informed me that the cake will be sitting in a warm climate for a bit before it is cut and served. In that case, I will replace ¼ of the butter with shortening as it is a lot more stable than butter.

Here are all the things you need to make a perfect buttercream icing with a medium-stiff consistency. To make your icing stiffer, add more icing sugar. To make is thinner, add a tablespoon (or more depending on your preference) of warm milk.

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This recipe will make 10 cups of icing. It is a lot! If you’re covering an 8” cake with a buttercream filling, then you should half the amounts. I always use salted butter for buttercream icings because it gives it a nice balanced flavor. Also, adding salt to unsalted butter during the mixing process, does not always blend the salt too well resulting in you biting into a piece of cake and tasting salt! So avoid all that and use salted butter! Start off by blending 3 cups of salted butter with 1 cup of vegetable shortening on a medium speed.

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Beat until it is well incorporated.

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Then add 5 teaspoons of vanilla extract and keep mixing.

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Then, add in your 2.2 lbs of icing sugar. Yes, the bag you saw in the above picture. All of it! I know it is a lot of sugar, but some of the recipes I’ve seen, use double that amount! Add in your sugar 1 cup at a time and mixing for about 1 minute before adding more.

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This gives it enough time for the sugar to dissolve and won’t result in grainy icing. I don’t know how true it is in terms of all the mixing sciences involved, but it seems to work for me. After you’re done adding all the sugar, beat the mixture for another 3-5 minutes. You end result will look something like this.

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It will have doubled in quantity and when you press a spatula against it and pull towards you, it should hold a nice peak.

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If it doesn’t, then add more sugar to it making sure it doesn’t get deathly sweet. And that’s it! This was the recipe for vanilla buttercream icing.

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You can always substitute the vanilla extract for the flavoring of your choice. Here are some of my regularly used oils/extracts/flavorings.

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You can use any kind of flavouring.

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I received this beauty in the mail today! So exciting! I’ve never used any other form of vanilla except for the extract so I was super duper mega excited to buy this as I’ve heard some amazing stuff about the bean paste. Let me tell you, it not only tastes good, but looks so much better with the little bean specks. It’s nice! This is what it looks like. I HAD to give it a try :D

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If you’re making your icing ahead of time, or if you’re storing any excess, cover your bowl with a plastic wrap and store it in the fridge.

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If you’re using extracts, substitute it with the same amounts of vanilla. If you’re using a juice, then you will have to adjust the consistency accordingly by adding sugar because juices will thin out your icing. Using cocoa powder on the other hand, will make it stiffer, so add milk to your icing. Also, if you’re using a fruit flavoring like lemon or orange, give your icing a little bit of extra texture by adding a teaspoon of rind to it. Softer fruits like strawberries, blueberries etc. Can directly go into the icing or you can make a sauce by boiling them with water and sugar and putting that into your icing. Use your imagination and you can whip up any kind of buttercream icing :) Here are some of the cakes I’ve covered with this buttercream icing recipe.

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2 Thoughts on “Vanilla Buttercream Icing

  1. Lisa Fields on August 2, 2013 at 8:27 AM said:

    Your recipes sound great, can’t wait to give some of them a try. I have a question, where do you find the best price on Vanilla Bean Paste?

    • Thank you for your wonderful comment Lisa :) For shipping to Canada, the best price according to me was on vanilla food company website. I bought the 32oz for $34.23 with a $7 flat shipping ($9.50 for anywhere in the States). If you’re in US, then your best bet is getting it from amazon. Click HERE to check the best price I found on there. You also get free shipping from amazon.

      If you bake lots, get the 32 oz because it does end up being cheaper in the end as compared to getting the 4oz. I have the Nielsen-Massey brand and so far I’m loving it! :) I hope you like it! :)

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