Viva La Buttercream

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    Basic Buttercream

    Basic Buttercream

    While the process is basic, the taste is far from it. Perfect for every kind of baking need, and crusting too, so perfect for playing with your food!
    Prep Time 5 mins
    Cook Time 1 hr
    Servings 1 batch


    • 500 g (18 oz) Powdered Sugar (Icing Sugar)
    • 250 g (9 oz) Butter Lurpak if possible, or another quality butter
    • 2 tsp Vanilla Flavour
    • Water to thin as necessary


    • Mix the butter until it’s soft and creamy, and add your icing sugar a bit at a time, making sure it’s nice and mixed together before adding more. This is the key to eliminating the ‘gritty’ feel of full butter buttercream
    • Scrape down the mixing bowl after incorporating each addition of Icing Sugar, to ensure an even mix. It also helps to mix your buttercream on a relatively low speed, as whipping lots of air into your buttercream can actually make it harder to work with, particularly if you plan to use it between cake layers, as air has to go somewhere, and you don’t want it bulging out of your cake!


    Basic Buttercream is safe at room temperature for one week. I don’t recommend refrigerating or freezing Basic Buttercream, as it messes with the consistency. You can however freeze prepiped flowers, or moulded elements for up to 3 months, as long as they are well covered to avoid freezer burn.
    I recommend you resist thinning your Buttercream until you have it mixed, as its easy to add to much. Its also a good idea to use water instead of anything dairy based, as its no longer shelf stable once dairy is added, and must be kept refrigerated.

    38 thoughts on “Basic Buttercream

    1. I use Brill Brand buttercream… Decent taste… I often struggle with foamy icing and need something magical for piping roses and other flowers… Would LOVE you help and advise…

    2. Hi, juat wondering if you use salted or unsalted butter or if it makes a difference.?Also if i use the recipe for basic buttercream do the cakes need to be refrigerated or just kept at room temp, from a food safety standpoint.Love your work by the way ?

      1. I use unsalted Butter, although you can use regular or slightly salted, which will cut the sweetness of the sugar. You can keep Basic Buttercream, prepared as above, at 20-23 degrees celsius for up to 1 week. If it is warm, or if you add milk or cream to the mix, you need to store it in the fridge.

      1. Honestly, the Cream Cheese recipes that I have come across have been REALLY sticky. If I was going to pipe Cream Cheese Frosting, I would make Basic Buttercream, and flavour it with something like Lorann oil. I know its cheating, but that’s a tough recipe to get right. Also, cream cheese frosting needs to be stored in the fridge, whereas flavoured Basic Buttercream could sit at room temperature. That’s a plus too!

    3. Is your recipe by measure or weight? For instance, is the 9 oz by weight or it is just over a cup? thank you so much for this guidance!

    4. I have tried several buttercream recipes, and today I tried this recipe. Wow!!! I am not a fan of gritty buttercream, this recipe solves that problem for me, it is lovely and smooth and made some pretty flowers, most importantly it did not melt away in my warm hands

    5. Hi Kerrie, I love your work. Amazing to see your beautiful creations! Regarding the buttercream could you substitute butter for shortening (like for like) I work with kiddies with allergies so avoid dairy.Many Thanks,Lisa

    6. Hi KerriganLove your buttercream looks so silky and smooth. I made the buttercream but still I can’t get it smooth, still left with little bit gritty buttercream. Should I wiped more ?Thank you

      1. Basic Buttercream is a crusting buttercream, so it ill never be completely smooth, but adding your sugar a little at a time, and letting it mix in completely before adding more will help.

    7. Tried your buttercream recipe for my first attempt at piping frosting. The frosting was not only delicious but was very easy to work with. I still need a lot of practice but at least I’ve got good buttercream to work with. Thank you!

    8. Hi Kerrie,This recipe sound terrific. I am in Qld and the weather is starting to heat up. I am making a choc mud fondant covered cake for a baby shower. Would this buttercream be suitable under fondant as a filing? The request has been made for as much chocolate as possible! Thanks Kerrie

      1. Yes, absolutely! If you are having serious heat when the shower comes around, consider adding some ganache, or melted chocolate to the buttercream, which will help stabilise it, and pump up the chocolate factor too!

    9. Please tel me what I’m doing wrong. I have made two wedding cakes, nothing spectacular, but I’ve had the same issue with both. My buttercream is so thick! The first cake I’ll take as a learning experience. However, the second, has proven I didn’t learn anything. The butter cream was fantastic! The cake was delicious, but there was so much icing! I tried to smooth the middle layer like you showed in a video, not happening with this buttercream. It was almost the consistency of plaster, lol. I’m sure I could have added milk but I wanted my rosettes to stay formed. Oh my, I’m a baking mess! Please, Any words of wisdom for me would be greatly appreciated!

      1. Oh Heather, sounds like you have had some fun! Basic Buttercream prepared as directed in the recipe is perfect for flowers, and can still be used for filling and icing, although depending on your climate, you may want to add a little fluid to thin it out. I usually use water, primarily so it can stay at room temperature (if you add milk it will need to be refrigerated). I would suggest adding water in teaspoon amounts (for a single batch), until you are happy with the consistency. You can usually go softer for rosettes than you would flowers, but maybe test pipe a couple and see how they go. Its also a good idea not to ice your cake too heavily if you plan to add rosettes, so the weight of them doesn’t pull the buttercream off your cake! Hope this helps!

    10. Kerrie what is the difference between korean buttercream. As I trying to Google to see the different it’s shown up that this buttercream have been pattern trademark and who ever attended the classes must sign a paper to keep for themself. Your flower looks like what korean buttercream. Is there any differents? Is there any chance to reduce the sweetness if this kind of buttercream? Thanks so much and u are legends. Please come to Perth!!

      1. From what I can discover, it seems that Korean Buttercream is generally made with bean paste, although I don’t have a recipe. You can make Buttercream flowers with any kind of Buttercream, but the structure of Korean Buttercream allows you to pipe thinner layers than most Buttercreams.

      1. Yes! I use Basic Buttercream for everything! While you need it very firm (as directed above) for flowers, you can thin it for icing a cake, as depending on your climate, it might be too hard to spread it otherwise!

    11. Hi when i crumb coat my cake then i put it in the fridge then when i want to coat the cake to make it look nice it doesnt work i cant get it smooth i really need your help thank you

      1. Depends, if its really cold, you may need to add the water (and make it warm water) if its the middle of winter and you’re having trouble mixing it. Conversely, if its summer, wait till you have it mixed, as it may not need water at all.

    12. Hi Kerry, I would really like to try your buttercream. I always struggle with the consistency, due to my uncertainty of room temperature. Either it’s too soft or then too hard if I put it in the fridge. What temperature should the butter or buttercream be, when you refer to room temp? And also would it work for russian tips? Thank you!

    13. Hi Kerrie doing a ombre cake 4layers of cake and the cake needs to be outside in the day with the butter will it melted when I. Leave it out. ?. And I. Could never get my bettercream smooth . Could this buttercream be put in the fridge then leave it out the next day before the party starts.Thank you

      1. That’s great Sandy! I would suggest if you are having trouble getting a smooth finish, thin the "cosmetic" layer a little, so it spreads easily, but keep the first layer thicker, so its nice and strong. Check out "Frosting a Cake" on my blog to see it step by step.

    14. Hi, I usually cover my cakes in ganache and fondant, but my daughter’s first birthday is in January and am thinking with the Queensland heat buttercream might be the better way to go. Will your recipe hold up in the heat? We’ll be having her party at a park, so won’t be refrigerated, but I was going to attempt to put it an esky of some sort.I’ve never really used buttercream so any advice would be fantastic!Thanks

      1. There’s really no icing that will survive heat, though you will have better stability with buttercream made with shortening, or with some ganache mixed in. I know there’s no way around it (that’s why I recommend cakes stay inside!), but if I had to, I would go with ganache in buttercream, not quite as strong as shortening, but 1000 times tastier!

        1. Thanks so much for your quick response. Ganache is definitely tastier, I will do a few test runs and see what quantities work.

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