This is the lightest and fluffiest vanilla buttercream frosting. It’s perfect for frosting just about anything— cakes, cupcakes, cookies and more!
Are you a frosting person? I’m totally a frosting person. What’s under the frosting is important too, of course, but I definitely can appreciate a big pile of billowy frosting.
And for me that’s exactly what frosting should be like— light, creamy and cloud-like.
I’ve developed this vanilla buttercream frosting recipe over several years and too many cakes, cupcakes and cookies to count, and I feel pretty confident calling it the very best. Because it is!
WHAT’S THE SECRET?
There are two ingredients that really help make this frosting what it is— heavy whipping cream and just a touch of almond extract.
Using heavy whipping cream instead of milk, and then whipping it on high speed for several minutes really gives this frosting its light and fluffy texture. Turn your mixer on low for just a few moments until the ingredients come together, then turn it up to high and walk away for about 3 minutes. Come back, scrape down the bowl and whip it for another 1-2 minutes. It turns out perfectly whipped every time.
Almond extract is my other secret. I add a small amount, only 1/4 teaspoon. It’s not enough that the almond flavor comes through, but it gives the frosting a little something extra, and helps it taste kinda fancy.
How to use this whipped vanilla frosting
One recipe yields enough frosting for:
- Filling and frosting a double-layer 8 or 9-inch layer cake. If you have 3 or more cake layers, or want to do a lot of piping decoration, you may want to double this recipe or use another filling option for the cake.
- Frosting 24 regular cupcakes with a moderate amount of frosting per cupcake, or 12-15 cupcakes with a generous amount of frosting (as shown in this post).
- Frosting 24-36 sugar cookies.
Feel free to add food coloring as desired. You can also use other flavorings and other extracts.
This frosting is great for piping and decorating cakes and cupcakes. If the frosting starts getting too soft as you work with it, chill it in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm it up.
If you’d like to make this frosting in advance, it can be stored in the fridge for at least 1 week and in the freezer for at least 1 month. Let it come back to room temperature, then beat for 1-2 minutes until fluffy again.
baking tip:How to frost like a pro
I am not an expert when it comes to decorating with icing. I know my limitations. But I also know how to fake it and make it look like I know what I’m doing. How do I do it?
- I always sift my powdered sugar before making the frosting, ensuring it’s smooth and lump-free
- I use gel food coloring instead of liquid, resulting in vivid colors. Look for gel food coloring in a craft or baking supply store, or buy online.
- I use a piping bag with plain and star tips, which go a long way to make my decorations looks professional.
Watch the video
Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 4 cups powdered sugar (1 lb, 455 grams), sifted after measuring
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks, 226 grams), at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract , optional, but highly recommended!
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, mix all of the ingredients on low speed until it starts to come together.
- Increase speed to high and beat for 4-5 minutes until frosting is fluffy, pausing once or twice to scrape the bowl down.
- (Optional Step) The frosting will be very airy with lots of bubbles. To achieve a smooth frosting, beat it with a wooden spoon by hand for 2-3 minutes. This will push all of those air bubbles out.
- Use frosting as desired to cover cakes, cupcakes, cookies, etc. This is enough frosting for a double layer 8 or 9-inch cake, 2 dozen cupcakes, or 2 dozen 4-inch cookies.
- Store frosting at room temperature for 1-2 days, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to several months.
This post was originally published April 2016.
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