Classic Vanilla Buttercream
Note that this is an “all-butter” recipe. The flavor is wonderful, but it does not do well in extremely hot conditions. The butter in the recipe causes the icing to become very soft in hot conditions. For a more “heat-friendly” recipe, see the “Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream” recipe, which contains shortening.
Also, due to the butter in the recipe, the frosting becomes firm in the refrigerator. It will soften again as it warms to room temperature.
**For a Softer Buttercream with a much lighter crust, I cut the amount of sugar from 6 cups to 4 cups, and cut the milk from 1/4 cup to 3 tablespoons, and cut the salt to 1/4 teaspoon. This lighter consistency of buttercream works great with cupcakes or cakes that don’t require the Viva method of smoothing.
2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, slightly softened but cool to the touch and holding it’s shape
6- 7 cups (690-805 grams) powdered sugar (depending on desired consistency. More sugar=more crusting)
2 tsp. vanilla (8 grams), use clear imitation vanilla if you like a whiter frosting
1/4 c. (60g) whole milk or more if needed
1/2 teaspoon salt (3g) to cut the sweetness (preferably fine grain or popcorn salt)
Cream the (slightly softened) butter until smooth. Blend in the vanilla. Add half of the powdered sugar and most of the milk. Beat at medium speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated. Add remaining powdered sugar and milk and mix at medium speed another 3 to 4 minutes scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. I slow down the mixer to very slow. (#2 on the Kitchenaid) for 1 to 2 minutes. This will help eliminate air pockets in the buttercream. The texture will become very smooth.
This recipe can be doubled or halved.
Can be frozen in air tight container for at least three months . Thaw on countertop.
This is a crusting recipe, which works well with the Roller and Viva Paper towel smoothing methods. However, humidity may make it less likely to crust, in which case you can use the hot knife method for smoothing. If using the softer version of this recipe written above in blue text, it will have very little to no crust.
Yields approximately 4 1/2 cups of frosting. Enough to frost a two layer 8 or 9 inch cake.
**If your buttercream is too thin, add more sugar. If the consistency is too thick, add a bit more milk.