Butter and sugar. Two magic ingredients in the baking world, which, when combined, form a perfectly smooth and pipeable magic substance called frosting that you can pile on top of your cupcakes and cakes, or pipe into your macarons. Don’t skimp on the vanilla guys – the more the better! But don’t bother adding it if you’re making chocolate buttercream (see Notes); you won’t taste it at all.

If you're after something less sweet and much smoother, try out my Swiss meringue buttercream frosting!

1 Batch




Makes 1 batch frosting / Enough for 20 cupcakes



  • 500g (2 cups) unsalted butter, softened

  • 500g (4 cups) icing (confectioners’) sugar

  • 2–4 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

  • 2 tbsp full-cream (whole) milk (at room temperature) (optional, but recommended)



Add your softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can also use a hand mixer for this recipe, but if you do use a hand mixer, just make sure your bowl is large. Mix the butter on low speed to begin with, then switch to the highest speed and mix for 5 minutes until the butter is fluffy and turns pale in colour.


Stop your mixer and scrape down the side of the bowl using a spatula. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and mix again on low speed. LOW SPEED PEOPLE! The last thing you need is to end up in a sugar dust storm! (I’m speaking from experience…)


Once all the sugar has been incorporated, it’s safe to turn your mixer up to high speed. Continue beating on high speed for about 5–6 minutes, or until the butter turns pale in colour and becomes fluffy again. If you want to soften your buttercream and make it a little smoother, add the milk and continue mixing for another couple of minutes on medium speed. At this stage, you can also add any food flavourings or food-gel colourings.


For chocolate-flavoured buttercream, just add 80 g (23/4 oz) sifted unsweetened cocoa powder with the icing sugar.


My cake recipes sometimes call for more than one batch of frosting. Depending on the size of your mixing bowl, you may need to split the frosting into two batches when flavouring and colouring it.



  • Mixing bowls

  • Measuring cups

  • Measuring spoons

  • Stand mixer

  • Electric hand mixer (if you don't have a stand mixer)

  • Paddle attachment

  • Spatula

  • Sieve



Basic Recipes

Cupcake Recipes

Cake Recipes

Macaron Recipes

Vegan Recipes

No-Bake Recipes

Frosting Recipes

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Hey there! My name is Nick Makrides! I'm guessing you love baking as much as I do which is how you stumbled upon my website!


This is the best spot on the internet to learn how to make the most amazing desserts that don't just look impressive, they also taste delicious and are easy to make!

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