There are stacks of American buttercream recipes available. Some vary slightly and some a lot. Below we share our super easy, go to recipe. You can achieve a fluffy, silky, almost white, spreadable buttercream in just a few simple steps. If you try it out we would love to see your results! Tag us in your Insta posts and stories :)
When I think of American buttercream, it reminds me of my childhood. You see, every now and then I would eat a piece of cake at a party, or from a bakery, and it would have this really delicious, sweet and oh so tasty icing, but I didn't know what it was called! It wasn't until I was an adult baker that I realised all along my fave icing was called AMERICAN BUTTERCREAM (ABC)!
Whats your favourite buttercream for cake decorating? Italian meringue, Swiss meringue, ermine, mock cream???
We love them all! But American is for sure, my fave!
We've used this recipe, week in, week out, for years and years. It's stable, crusts well, can be left out at room temp (not in direct heat or sunlight) or stored on the bench, covered and at room temp for over a week. We also know plenty of people who freeze and defrost their leftovers.
Our ABC is vanilla flavoured. To change the flavour up, you just simply add your desired ingredients at the end. There are heaps of possibilities. You might want to whip in some chopped raspberries for a full rich raspberry flavour, or perhaps you prefer to use concentrated flavouring. The choice is yours. Simply make up your batch of vanilla ABC, and flavour it at the end to your liking.
Some flavours we regularly add to our ABC are
- Cream Cheese
- Salted Caramel
And, SOOO much more!
To be able to achieve a good lump free, quality batch of ABC, it's handy to have the following tools:
- STAND MIXER (preferred). Or, a good quality hand mixer. Or any mixer will do the job. You might just have to whip for longer.
- RUBBER SPATULA (If you haven't got a rubber one, a spoon or other utensil will do. But we highly recommend you invest in a good rubber spatula!
- INGREDIENTS (Makes enough buttercream to fully ice a large cake, eg. 2 x 8 inch cake layers, or if its for cupcakes you should be able to ice 30-50 cupcakes depending on how high you like your pile).
- 500g good quality unsalted butter at room temp
- 1kg pure icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla (we prefer extract)
- 1/4 cup water
- Decent pinch of salt
- Flavouring of your choice (if flavouring)
- Place butter into your mixer bowl and turn on almost highest speed. You'll need to whip for around 5-10 minutes depending on your set up. We find scraper attachment achieves the quickest and best results. But everyone has their preference. Any paddle attachment will do a good job or if you're using your hand mixer, that will work too. Continue whipping your butter until it turns a nice, very pale colour.
- After every couple of minutes, remove attachment from bowl, and totally scrape down the whole thing. Remove all excess butter sticking to the edges/bowl. Don't leave any yellow bits behind. Repeat that process a few times during the whipping stage.
- Sift your icing sugar. This step is important if you want to avoid clumps. However I usually don't do this much (time poor) but it's highly recommended if you're starting out or want to achieve perfect lump free ABC.
- Once you're happy with your pale yellow (almost off white) butter, add your sifted sugar half a cup at a time. After each addition, mix on high for 30 seconds. Continue process until it's all combined. Now whip for a further few minutes.
- Add in your vanilla and decent pinch of salt and whip for another minute.
- At this point, you'll need to scrape that bowl down one last time. This is also where I add the water. You might be more comfortable with one or two tablespoons of water. I prefer a quarter cup. Try a bit at a time and see how you go. This step will bind it altogether and finish off a creamy, fluffy, easy to spread buttercream that also sets hard, which makes cake decorating a breeze. If you're adding lots of liquid for flavour/or food colouring, you can forego the water step if you like. Or if you're flavouring with cocoa powder for chocolate buttercream, you many need to add extra water.
for a richer, even creamier vanilla BC, you can replace the water with heavy cream, pr even milk! It does make the taste even better thats for sure. However, the reason we use water, and recommend water esp for commercial set ups, is because it keeps the buttercream stable. For example, if you plan on having that cake sitting out on a dessert table for a few hours looking pretty before it's cut up to eat, the cream or milk (or any dairy in that case, esp cream cheese) can spoil. White it does help create a delicious flavour, you'll just need to be extra careful wit handling your cake and ensure it doesn't stay out of the fridge too long.
If selling cakes to customers, it's highly advised to avoid fresh dairy as typically customers lobe to have their purchased decorated cakes out on display for guests to see. Water won't in any way alter or diffuse your flavour. It's just an extra ingredient that binds and helps cream your buttercream. Makes decorating easier!
We would LOVE to see your creations using MINT American Buttercream Recipe! Don't forget to tag us.