You can use this base recipe to create hundreds of different flavours!
- 2 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 907g or 2 lb (about 7 cups) powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons cream or milk**
Start by preparing your ingredients: the powdered sugar should be sifted to remove any lumps and the butter should be at room temperature. If the butter is cold, bring it to room temperature quickly by popping it in the microwave for 10 seconds and then flipping it over and microwaving it for another 10 seconds.
In a mixer with a beater (paddle) attachment, mix butter for a few seconds until smooth. If it’s not smooth and there are any lumps of butter, your butter is too cold.
Add 1/4 of the powdered sugar and salt (if using) and mix on the lowest speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Scrape down to the bottom of the mixing bowl with a spatula to loosen any butter and sugar and add the next 1/4 of powdered sugar and mix for another minute on low.
Scrape down to the bottom of the bowl, add another 1/4 of the powdered sugar, mix for 1 minute on low, scrape, and add the final 1/4 of the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Mix for 1 more minute on low.
Check the consistency of the buttercream by stirring it with your spatula. It needs to hold its shape but also be spreadable. When you smooth or spread it with your spatula if the buttercream breaks apart, leaving little air pockets like in the photo below, it’s too stiff and you need add liquid.
Add cream or milk 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing for about 30 seconds to incorporate it, and test again. Alternatively, if you’re making a flavoured buttercream using a liquid like strawberry puree or coconut cream, you can thin out the buttercream by adding that liquid 1 tablespoon at a time instead.
For the perfect consistency, check to make sure that when you scrape a spatula across it, it leaves a smooth trail of buttercream behind with no air pockets.
*If you use salted butter instead, omit the salt in the recipe
**Try adding different ingredients to make different flavours of buttercream. Depending on how liquid the ingredients are, you’ll need to add different amounts. For example, you can add 1 tablespoon of lemon curd for every cup of buttercream to get the right consistency but you can add 1/4 cup of stiffer ingredients like melted chocolate or peanut butter for every cup of buttercream.