Cupcake Secrets: How to Make Flawless Frosting Every Time

4 years ago

My kids love cupcakes.  My daughters requested pink.  I have written the recipe for Basic Vanilla Buttercream and just so you know, I am NOT a fan of food coloring at all, but after the pink request and realizing white doesn't photograph as pretty, just a couple drops of red food coloring and Pink it is.  Sprinkles just makes everything better.


Image: Courtesy of Taylor Made Market


I'm a chef.. not a pastry chef. But after making over a hundred cupcake flavors, I quickly mastered the basic frosting.  I've tried many recipes for buttercream before but this is my hands-down favorite...I use this recipe all the time and add X or Y to it depending on the flavor cupcake I am going with.  You can “TaylorMake” this recipe to whatever flavor you want.  Chocolate Buttercream Frosting? Add cocoa or maybe a key lime buttercream with lime zest.  Just use this recipe as a base.

For the Buttercream--butter, sugar, vanilla, and cream, whats not to love?  The texture is incredible and it spreads very easy.  Great to decorate with as well.  I have used it to frost cookies, cakes, cupcakes and it plays well with fondant, even though I don't

The key is whipping it for as long and as fast as you can to get it nice and light and fluffy! For a silky smooth frosting, Sift your powdered sugar.  Make sure you use UNSALTED Butter and have it at room temp. DO NOT MICROWAVE IT!!  (I had a pastry chef friend tell me to lay butter out on the counter the night before and it will be perfectly softened in the morning.)

For the cupcakes - This recipe will make exactly 24 moist & delicious standard size cupcakes

Make sure to beat the butter and sugar for the full 5 minutes because that really is the difference between light and dense cake. If you don't have buttermilk, you can use regular milk with a tsp of lemon juice OR mix 1/2 cup milk with 1/2 cup sour cream for the same effect and flavor.



For the Cupcake:
    • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 5 eggs
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 3 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
    • 1 cup buttermilk (or substitute milk + 1tsp lemon juice)
For the Frosting:
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter. Mix until just combined.
  4. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the frosting.  In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

  6. Add vanilla and whipping cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed.
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