I don’t know about you but buttercream icing can be so hit and miss sometimes! Is it too runny, too thick, or have you experienced the dreaded SPLIT! Pretty much I’ve done it all. I’ve made that many batches of buttercream icing for all manner of cakes and cupcakes. Luckily I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way that means I now make perfect buttercream icing every time! Do you want to join the club? Then check out my secrets below!
It’s a big claim isn’t it? Perfect Buttercream Icing every single time! But I can almost guarantee that if you follow these seriously easy steps you’ll have perfect icing for your next cake. I have to admit I do love icing though. It’s so moreish that I (ashamedly) often end up eating it directly out of the bowl…. you know, instead of lunch. Something my hubby tells me off for all the time. Yes it tastes amazing but there’s no need to dread making it, or even buy store bought icing. Especially when it’s actually really easy to make your own.
So What’s The Secret To Perfect Buttercream Icing?
It’s actually really basic. All you need is REALLY SOFT BUTTER. And lots (and I mean A LOT) of beating. Got it? Right OK, I’ll leave you to it now, you don’t need to know anymore than that do you? No OK so it may not be THAT simple. But it nearly is.
The term often used in recipes in “room temperature” but that is a really vague instruction. What you’re actually looking for is a very technical term… smooshy. You butter is ready to go when you can push a finger into it and its smooshes very easily underneath.
This is achieve-able in two ways. Either leave your butter on your kitchen for a good hour at least or do what I do and stick it in the microwave for 15-25 seconds. I don’t recommend any longer than that as it can edge to closer to melty butter. Once your butter is very very soft it’s time to start beating it.
Pop it into your stand mixer, pop it onto high speed and beat it for a solid 10 minutes. Yes really a whole ten minutes. Your butter will beat down, become creamy, smooth and lighten substantially in colour. (Which is key if you’d like to keep your frosting white).
Now Whip It. Whip It Good!
Essentially you want as much air as possible into your icing at this stage. Using a stand mixer will make this part much easier on you, but if you only have hand beaters you can certainly do it to. (You may just need a break for your arm every so often). Now Slowly add in your icing sugar much like you would if you were making a pavlova. You want your sugar to beat down and really dissolve into your butter so only add a quarter of a cup at a time and continue to beat on high in between each addition.
Throw in some vanilla extract and follow with the remaining icing sugar, again with small additions. Once all of your icing sugar is completely beaten in put your mixer back onto high speed and whip for an additional 3-5 minutes. Add in your milk/warm water and finish off with another 3 minute beat. Seriously, beat the hell out of it!
And honestly that’s it! Finish it off with some gel food colouring of your choice and give it a good beat in too. Voile! Perfect buttercream icing every time. Simple huh. Want to know the next best part? Buttercream icing sugar freezes amazing and can also be kept at room temperature (out of direct sunlight) for a good week.
So now you know the secret to Perfect Buttercream Icing, so hop to it! What gorgeous concoction do you plan on whipping up this time? Check out the below recipe for a little inspiration!
Perfect Buttercream Icing
- 250 grams Salted Butter very soft
- 500 grams Icing Sugar CSR is gluten free
- 2 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 tbsp Full Fat Milk or Warm water
- Gel food colouring of choice
- Place the soft butter into the bowl of the mixer and with a paddle attachment beat until creamy.
- Once creamed, turn up the mixer to full speed and beat for 10 minutes.
- Add half of the icing sugar approx 1 cup at a time, ensuring each addition is well beaten in.
- Add the vanilla extract and beat again for 30 seconds.
- Add the remaining icing sugar, again 1 cup at a time until fully incorporated. Now turn the mixer up to full speed again and beat continuously for an additional 3 minutes. Be sure to stop every now and again and scrape down the sides of the bowl and beaters to make sure everything gets mixed in.
- Turn the mixer off, add the milk/water and slowly work together. Turn back up to high speed and beat for an additional 3 minutes.
- If colouring, add your gel food dye now and beat until you reach the desired colour.
- Pipe, decorate and use to your hearts content!
- If it’s a particularly hot day and your butter is starting to melt and separate, simply pop the whole bowl straight into the fridge for a few minutes and allow it to harden up.
- Remember not all Icing Sugars are Gluten Free
- This batch makes enough to pipe onto 12 cupcakes or one small cake. The recipe can be easily double or tripled for larger quantities.