Have you ever had to make a layer cake and then wonder which buttercream frosting would work best? Wondering if you should make or buy your own frosting? Here are more than 30 frostings and buttercream recipes to choose from.
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Did you know that a simple homemade frosting really takes as little as 5 minutes to make? And all it needs is unsalted butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla, which you probably already have on hand. Plus, you don't need any special equipment, all you need is a bowl and whisk (or electric mixer). So, for me, buying frosting has never been an option.
Of course, buttercreams and frostings have come a long way over the years with so many options to choose from. Why make a simple 5 minutes frosting when you can make a rich, velvety meringue frosting that just about 15 minutes?
The truth is there is a right frosting for the right cake and the right frosting for the right time. So choose wisely. I have explained more about it below in the FAQ but have also given a detailed instructions in my The ultimate guide to Buttercream frosting.
For now, let's drool over these 30 plus buttercream and frosting recipes.
Royal Icing Recipe with Meringue Powder or Egg White Powder
Frequently asked questions
Icings are those simple glazes you make to pour over a pound cake, pastries. Sometimes made with just powdered sugar (confectioner sugar) and milk and sometimes make with melted chocolate too. The icing is usually pouring consistency while frosting is thick, light, and fluffy that can be spread over a cake or piped over cupcakes.
They are quicker similar and often used interchangeably. The main ingredient in buttercream is of course butter.
All buttercreams are frostings but not all frostings are buttercream recipes. For example, a cream cheese frosting is not a buttercream similarly a buttercream made with vegetable shortening is a frosting.
Cupcakes can be served with any frosting from simple vanilla to cream cheese or meringue. What is important to think through is - how am I going to store these cupcakes and how long are they going to be out?
For example, if your cupcakes are going to be sitting out for a long time then cream cheese frosting or perishable frosting is not the way to go. If your cupcakes are going to be out in hot humid conditions then you probably want to avoid meringue or butter-based frostings too.
That's not true. It depends on the project you need to use it. Shortening-based buttercream is considered better only in some conditions. It has a longer shelf life and can be kept out on the counter for days if stored well. Is non-dairy, as well as parve.
Sometimes things can go wrong but most often there are ways to fix buttercream recipes. So, don't make haste to throw the batch just yet. Read my article - Ultimate guide to buttercream recipes to see the troubleshooting and fixing options.
Different types of frosting and buttercream recipes?
Yes, I know that was a long list of buttercream recipes. The number of frosting recipes can be overwhelming and sometimes confusing. In general, we can categories these as
- Butter-based buttercream - simple all-purpose buttercreams like my velvet American buttercream, Vanilla buttercream (eggless).
- Decorators buttercream - often with all or some vegetable shortening to prevent the frosting from melting easily like my Bakery style frostings - Vanilla and Chocolate frosting as well as flour for stability often called Ermine or boiled flour frosting.
- Cream Cheese based - made with cream cheese, often with or without butter, like my classic cream cheese is made with butter which adds more stability and my no-butter cream cheese frosting when you want a more luxurious dessert type frosting.
- Meringue buttercream - made with the addition of whipped egg whites. Less sweet than the classic butter-based buttercream like my Swiss Meringue or Italian Meringue.
- Egg-based buttercream - like the French Buttercream and German buttercream made with egg yolks then whipped to make a light and fluffy frosting with the addition of butter.
- Whipped Cream Frosting - the lightest of them all is, of course, simple heavy cream. I shared 5 different methods to make whipped cream at home. As well as a whipped cream buttercream frosting.
Which frosting or buttercream recipe to use?
There will always be many options to choose from but the only one that's usually just right for you. Here are a few questions to consider. Often you will have to take all four into consideration when making this decision
- What cake flavor do I want?
- Where are you going to display the cake - inside vs. outside?
- The inside allows you to use perishable fillings while outside depends on the weather.
- What is the weather at the time of the event? Is it cold winter or hot humid summer? Hot summers need more caution with perishable frostings.
- How far does the cake have to travel? long travels in cold weather are not an issue if you pack things well. Hot summers can be a nightmare, so carry ice packs.