Frosting is a necessity in life!! I have made so many batches of this vanilla buttercream frosting over the years, I can make it in my sleep.
There is a controversy over frosting, believe it or not. Some people, like my mom, believe that the recipe should be half shortening and half butter. As I got older and came to realize how processed shortening is, so I cut it out of the recipe, and replaced it with organic butter. Butter is something I will never cut out of my life! I found that the frosting is just as good with all butter. The reason people like shortening is because it helps the frosting spread nicely. Even though it does do that, I think the all butter recipe that I make has a much better flavor. I have used it to decorate about a million cakes, cupcakes, and cookies over the years.
I promise this recipe is so easy, you will not want to buy pre-made frosting from the store again…well…unless it is really good quality frosting like these from Williams-Sonoma or Food Stirs.
If you do not have a stand mixer, don’t worry! You can definitely use a hand-mixer for this. You will just need to use a little bit more muscle to get it done.
I know a lot of people think they need a stand mixer in order to bake, and it does help tremendously. When I was in college though, I baked all of the time, and I only had a (broken) hand mixer that I was able to use. That didn’t stop me! I would still bake for every holiday and event, because I couldn’t help myself. So, the moral of the story is, don’t let the tools get in the way. I have built up my collection as I’ve gotten older. Most girls like getting jewelry for their birthday, well, I ask for knives, bakeware, and stand mixers….because that is what makes me happy in life!
Tips for perfect Vanilla Buttercream Icing
*Make sure that all of your ingredients are room temperature. If you use cold milk, it can cause the butter to seize up, and the frosting to break. If the butter is cold, it will not mix well with the powdered sugar.
*Use good vanilla extract. I love using Tahitian vanilla, because the flavor goes really well with very sweet things like meringue, vanilla frostings, sugar cookies, etc.
*Don’t over mix! This could cause the frosting to separate. You want to mix it enough so that it is light and spreadable.
*If the frosting is too thick, add more milk. If it starts to break up, or thins out too much, add more powdered sugar.
- 1 cup (2 sticks), unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 lb powdered sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons whole milk, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I love using Tahitian vanilla if you can find it)
- Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, mix the butter to break it up a bit
- Slowly add in the powdered sugar
- Once the sugar and butter start to combine well, turn up the speed on the mixer, and pour in the vanilla
- Then, pour in 2 tablespoons of the milk
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything gets mixed in
- Turn the speed up to about medium to mix the frosting
- Add more milk if the frosting is too thick
- If the frosting starts to break up, or is not thick enough add more powdered sugar
- This frosting can be used to decorate cakes, cookies, and cupcakes; it will hold its shape well with whatever you do.