Classic American Buttercream

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes About

    725 g

Appears in



By Lorraine Pascale

Published 2017

  • About

This recipe can be found on cakes and cupcakes all over the States. It is super rich due to the addition of what Americans refer to as ‘heavy’ cream (double cream), but, if you prefer, you can substitute the cream with milk. For different flavour options, feel free to add ingredients such as almond extract, Camp coffee essence or the zest of one lemon or orange. As a guide, this makes enough buttercream to cover a two-layer 20cm cake.


  • 200 g unsalted butter, softened
  • seeds of ½ vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp double cream or whole milk
  • 475 g icing sugar


  • hand-held electric whisk or stand mixer


Place the butter, vanilla and double cream or milk together in a large bowl or stand mixer. If you are using a hand-held electric whisk, then add the icing sugar little by little as you whisk so that the icing sugar does not fly everywhere, whisking well between additions.

If you are using a stand mixer, fit it with a paddle attachment, then add the icing sugar in one go and carefully place a tea towel over the machine taking care not to get it anywhere near the paddle. Beat it hard until it is light and well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure it is evenly combined. Remove the tea towel when the sugar is all mixed in.

When the buttercream is super light and fluffy, use as desired. It keeps at room temperature for 3 days, or up to 2 weeks in the fridge covered with cling film.