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  • Mary Kay

Yummy Homemade Buttercream Frosting

Buttercream frosting is one of the easiest to make and it’s so versatile. With just a few ingredients you can have a frosting that tastes so good on cake, cupcakes, brownies, and much more. I don't have Mom's Buttercream Frosting recipe, but this sure feels right, according to what I remember when helping her.

With Buttercream Frosting, you can spread it, use it as a crumb coat and pipe it! And, you can flavor it the way you like it.

Make it with your favorite flavors, fudgy buttercream, chocolate buttercream, lemon, almond, green mint, and many more. Combine it with special decorations, sprinkles and much more.

I usually use one of my electric mixers for this recipe, in order to give it a very good whip to make it light and fluffy for spreading on the cakes. If I want to make it a little stiffer frosting for piping, the electric mixer saves my arms from all that beating. I remember Gram used to use her non-electric hand-mixer to get it whipped up. As a kid, I would help her beat, and I can attest for the muscles you build when beating it.

Prepare your mixing bowl:

Use a medium to large bowl with electric mixer, depending on whether or not you double this recipe.

Gather your Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

1 C Butter, soft (or ½ C butter & ½ c white shortening)

2-3 t Vanilla extract

1 t Almond extract (optional)

7 C Powdered sugar (about 2 pound bag)

2-4 T Milk (as needed) or heavy cream

I like to use 1/2 butter and 1/2 white shortening to give the frosting better body. I never use butter flavored shortening in place of butter or white shortening since I've never liked the false flavor of butter. Sorry, it tastes terrible to me. My tip to you is to use top notch ingredients when making buttercream frosting.

Whip up your frosting:

- With the electric mixer, beat the butter (and shortening option) until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes or more.

- Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.

- After you’ve added 3 cups, alternately add 1 tablespoon of the milk after a couple cups of powdered sugar as the frosting gets fluffier. You may not need all 4 tablespoons of the milk. Be sure to periodically scrape down the side of the bowl.

- When it gets to the spreading consistency or piping consistency that you desire, beat it a little more and get ready to use.

Flavor Options:

Depending on the cookies, cake or cupcakes, cheesecake or even graham crackers I’m spreading my buttercream frosting on, I am open to many different flavor options. Get creative and try some of your own! Note: I always use the real thing - NEVER fake the flavoring.

Decorate the top of the frosting with a corresponding seed or fruit to help identify the flavor, i.e., a cut of strawberry on top of the strawberry flavored cake, sliced almonds on top of the almond frosted cake, candied lemon slices on top of the lemon-flavored cheesecake, bacon chunks on top of a maple frosted donut, etc.

- Vanilla extract or vanilla seeds

- Maple extract or maple syrup

- Almond extract

- Lemon extract or lemon juice or zest

- Orange extract or orange juice or zest

- Coffee extract or finely ground coffee beans

- Strawberry extract

- Rum alcohol or extract

- Bourbon alcohol

- Hazelnut extract

Use this Buttercream frosting as a crumb coat, for between layers and as your final coat. It tastes that good.


- Use a full cup of soft butter if you want, without any shortening, for a stronger butter flavor. I like to use half shortening so it sets up nice with some firmness. Sometimes when it’s fairly hot outside the butter stays too soft. The shortening helps give the frosting some body. - If you want a chocolate frosting substitute 1/4 cup cocoa powder for 1/4 cup powdered sugar. - If you like a frosting with chocolate specks in it, melt chocolate candy melts and drizzle it warm into the frosting as the last step. - I always sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder before I add them, to get all the lumps out.

- You try what you think you’d like. Get creative. The creative journey is more than half the fun. Test a ½ cup of frosting first with a couple of drops of the extract to see how it tastes. If you're unsure about using all of the frosting to be colored, test just a portion such as a half cup. Then add more coloring or more frosting to get the color you want, keeping track of how much frosting and colored gel you used.

- Then try different colors. I only use gel frosting colorings. They are truer to color and don’t use as much product. Sometimes non-gel colorings will give the frosting an “off” flavor, especially if you use a large amount to get a darker color.

- Keep in mind that frosting can turn darker in a few hours. Be sure to experiment with your colors and time lapses.

Go from there to beat in creative colors and flavorings to the entire recipe. Have fun and “Bake your own Memories!”

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