Recipes for the Home Chef
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Buttercream Frosting Recipe

This creamy, versatile Buttercream icing is used, in varying amounts, in many of the cake recipes included in this website. It can be flavored in a multitude of ways to go well with many types of cakes. It works very well for decorating with a pastry bag. To flavor buttercream see Buttercream Flavoring.

Note: 2 to 3 cups will be required for a 2 layer, 9-inch cake.

For 1 cup:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

For 1 1/2 cups

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar (scant; 7 tbsp)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

For 2 cups

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

For 3 cups

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar (scant; 14 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • Beat yolks in a medium stainless bowl until light. Combine sugar and water in a heavy 2 1/2-quart saucepan; stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and syrup comes to a boil. As sugar is dissolving, wash down any sugar crystals that cling to the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.

  • Boil syrup gently, without stirring, until it reaches 239°F (soft-ball stage: 238°F to 240°F. Syrup will form a soft, pliable ball when rolled between fingers in ice water.) When syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, immediately remove from heat and pour into the yolks, beating constantly as you pour. Continue to beat until the mixture is light, fluffy, and cool to the touch.

  • In medium bowl of electric mixer, cream butter. Gradually beat butter into yolk mixture, 2 tablespoons at a time, until smooth, shiny, and spreadable. At this point you may fold in some stiffly whipped cream or vanilla pastry cream to lighten the buttercream (this is optional). Flavor the buttercream according to the chart at Buttercream Flavoring. Use buttercream immediately or refrigerate until ready to use. Store up to 3 days in the refrigerator or freeze up to 2 months.

  • Note: If the buttercream separates at any point after the butter is added, the butter may be too cold. Wrap a hot, wet towel around the bowl; then beat until smooth. If you think the buttercream has warmed up too much, refrigerate a few minutes, then beat until smooth.
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