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American Buttercream Frosting


3 cups

Creamy, fluffy and not overly sweet compared to some frostings, this simple recipe is the go-to for hand-frosted everyday cakes and cupcakes.


  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons heavy cream


  1. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment), beat butter and sifted confectioners’ sugar together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla extract and heavy cream and mix until smooth. Use immediately or store covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days, allowing frosting to reach room temperature before using.

Kitchen Tips:

  • To create a lighter colored frosting, use clear vanilla extract, cream the butter longer, and substitute 1/2 of the butter with shortening.
  • For a sweeter frosting, add ¼ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar at a time until the desired sweetness is reached.
  • This is a great everyday frosting to hand frost cakes and cupcakes for that homey, homemade look. Substituting part or all of the butter with shortening is recommended if using for piping.