Monday, December 12, 2011

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

 This is a basic buttercream recipe, good for cupcakes, sugar cookies and cakes.

Buttercream Frosting
1 cup {2 sticks} real butter, at room temperature {I don't recommend using margarine; it alters the taste and texture too much}
3 1/2 - 4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Put the softened butter into a bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add one cup of powdered sugar. Using a hand mixer or the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, beat all the powdered sugar into the butter. Add the second cup of sugar; beat until sugar is incorporated. Add another cup of sugar and incorporate. Add the final 1/2-1 cup sugar and beat on medium speed for 4-5 minutes. Trust me on this. Don't try to cut back on the time. Beating it for this long will make it fluffy and creamy and beautiful. The color will also change and you'll end up with a snow white frosting. It's lovely. Don't forget to scrape the bowl a time or two. Add the vanilla {after you've beat it for 4-5 minutes} and mix just until incorporated. If the flavor is still a little too buttery just add a little more sugar until you get the flavor you want. When you're finished beating the frosting, it should be stiff and hold it's shape {as in the photos} but still be wet enough that it will stick to your surface when you use it.

You can store this frosting in the refrigerator. Just be sure to pull it out about an hour before you need it and once it's softened up again, beat it for a minute or two to fluff it back up.

This frosting colors really well. You can also do a chocolate version by cutting out 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar and adding 1/4 cup cocoa powder at the same time you add the vanilla. If you need a stronger chocolate flavor, just add more cocoa and adjust the powdered sugar measurement accordingly.

If you find that you want a buttercream frosting that isn't quite as sweet, add a 1/4 cup or so of sour cream with the butter. You may have to add a little sugar to get the right consistency but not too much.

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