This Easy Vanilla Frosting recipe is fluffy and satiny, not to mention delicious. It is so simple with my 3 key tricks for success. It is as uncomplicated and as delicious as you could ask for.
This fluffy vanilla frosting is a basic American buttercream, meaning a few simple ingredients: butter, confectioners’ sugar (a.k.a. icing or powdered sugar), vanilla extract and a splash of cream. It’s easy for even the most beginner baker, but delicious enough that even pro bakers will want it in their regular rotation.
Here are the 3 Secrets To Making the Best-Ever Vanilla Frosting
- Use only a whisk attachment on a stand mixer, the paddle attachment will not whip the frosting to the fluffy, cloud-like texture.
- The temperature of the butter is key. Here’s how to quickly bring butter to room temperature.
- Allow the mixture to whip for a solid 5 minutes. Letting the mixer run for a prolonged time allows the butter and sugar to whip up into a luscious, pillowy texture that incorporates a lot of air for a mouthfeel that teeters on the precipice of mousse-like. Because air is essentially an ingredient, the sugar is less dominant for perfectly sweet, never cloying, icing for the cake.
- You can make this vanilla frosting recipe in advance and refrigerate it. You’ll need to bring it back to room temperature before you use it and it should be re-beaten for a minute or so for optimal results.
- If ever there is one place where unsalted butter is non-negotiable, it’s in a vanilla frosting. Salted butter will totally overpower this recipe.
- Whipping cream is perfect for the most airy, fluffy texture but regular milk definitely works too. The difference is subtle (but worth using cream if you have the option).
- As the frosting sits, it will thicken and become drier. This is because the sugar absorbs the free liquid. If you are not using it immediately after the 5-minute beating time is up, beat in 1-2 tablespoons more cream or milk just before filling your piping bags.
- This recipe yields enough frosting to frost and fill a two-layer 9″ cake, or 24 cupcakes. If you’d like to frost the cake and then pipe additional details, make 1 1/2 times this recipe.
- As with any butter-based frosting recipe, you only want to frost a cake once it is completely cooled. Even a slightly-warm cake (any warmer than room temperature) will make the butter in the frosting melt and the frosting will become greasy and/or slide a bit off the cake.
Where To Use this Vanilla Frosting:
Easy 5-Minute Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
- 12 oz softened unsalted butter (1 1/2 cups)
- 13.5 oz confectioners' sugar (3 1/3 cups)
- 6 tbsp whipping cream or milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- Combine all ingredients in stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until very pale and very fluffy. Pause several times to scrape down sides of mixer bowl.