My Favorite Fluffy Buttercream Frosting

My sister came over a few days ago and wanted me to help her make a cake for her sons first birthday. Of course I love every opportunity I get to help someone bake and I feel pretty cool when they ask for my baking opinion =). She wanted to make a mini tiered cake (and I don't own the mini tiered cake pans so I had to get creative) and she wanted a delicious, white, fluffy frosting to cover it. She asked if we could get a really white frosting without the yellow tint. I told her the trick is in the technique. It's not just about the ingredients you put into the frosting, but also the method in which you prepare the frosting. In my opinion, these are the keys to a very light, fluffy, creamy, and amazingly delicious buttercream frosting:

1. Really whip the butter. I am talking until it's basically white. Really pay attention to the shade of the butter when whipping, making sure it becomes very very pale.

2. Use heavy cream. Cream makes everything better, and creamier of course.

3. Lots of butter. Yes there are days I try to be a little healthier and reduce the amount of butter I add to my buttercream frosting but those days I will admit, it's just not quite as good. This is an indulgent frosting and sometimes it's definitely worth it.

4. Ratio is important, don't add any more powdered sugar than listed or the proportions won't be right and your texture wont be what I call perfect.

5. Don't overdue it with the vanilla, add no more than 1 1/2 tsp. If anything reduce the amount. The beauty of the flavors of the buttercream comes from the butter. Basically it makes it taste like ice cream, it doesn't need to be enhanced, just lightly highlighted.

6. Whip it some more. Once you add the cream you still want more air and fluffiness in there. This isn't a one minute frosting recipe but I'm telling it's well worth the time and patience invested.

My sister and I both agree this is the best Buttercream Frosting, EVER! Don't forget the trick is in the technique. There are hundreds of buttercream frosting recipes out there, but the one that sets this apart from the others is preparation (and the use of salted butter). I hope you love this recipe! Now go make a batch of this luscious frosting and have cake today. Any day is a great day for cake =)! 

....And wait! Don't throw that frosting out! I frequently end up with a little frosting left over when I'm frosting cakes or cupcakes because I can't perfectly evenly divide it out. And no way am I going to throw good frosting down the drain! So, what to do with it (PS feel free to any additional ideas in a comment below)?

Ideas for leftover frosting:

  • sandwich between Nilla Waffers and roll edges in sprinkles for an easy treat the kids will love

  • spread over warm toast, add a pinch cinnamon if desired

  • spread over graham crackers, optionally sprinkle with chocolate chips

  • add a spoonful or two to your morning bowl of oatmeal (I tried a cream cheese in my banana oatmeal one morning, wow good)

  • use it as a dip for pretzels 

  • dunk teddy grahams or gingersnaps (its like homemade Dunkaroos)

  • spread over fruit, such as bananas or strawberries

  • melt chocolate frosting and pour over ice cream

  • add chopped nuts to it, chill and cut in squares

  • spread over warm pancakes or french toast

  • fold in some whipped cream or cool whip and use it as a fruit dip

  • add some caramel sauce and dip apple slices

  • turn it into a simple craft with the kids, tint it with food coloring, get out all the different varieties of sprinkles, icings and little candies you have in the cupboard and let them spread it of graham crackers and decorate as desired.

  • and of course last but not least simply place leftover frosting in an airtight container, store in refrigerator (up to 4 days) and enjoy throughout the next few days by the spoonful (if you don't want to temp yourself so much, freeze it for up to 3 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator - never microwave to thaw).

Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature (3 sticks)*

4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3 Tbsp heavy cream

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (use clear if desired)


In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, using the paddle or whisk attachment whip butter on medium high speed (if using whisk attachment whip on high speed) until nearly white and very fluffy, about 7 - 8 minutes, frequently scrapping down the sides of the bowl. Add in powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until blended, then increase speed to medium and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 - 6 minutes, frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl. Immediately spread over cooled cake or cupcakes. 

Note: if you want an alternate flavor of frosting, coconut or almond extract would be a great substitute for the vanilla extract, just add it to taste.

*I like to break the rules of baking =), I use salted butter. I like how the salt in the butter balances out the sweetness and I don't like to add in salt myself because I feel like it doesn't have a chance to dissolve well enough since it's not heated. If you prefer unsalted then feel free to use that instead, although I'd recommend adding at least one cube salted butter then two unsalted, try it out you may just love it.

Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Make A Mini Cake Using Glass Storage Containers

If you were wondering how to make the mini tiered birthday cake, this is how I did it:

1. Line each a 1 cup, 2 cup and 4 cup oven safe, round glass storage container with aluminum foil, pressing and molding the foil directly to the insides of each container and leaving an slight overhang of foil on the sides (to lift out the cake), then spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray (or use a baster and baste with vegetable oil or melted butter) then dust with flour and shake off excess.

2. Preheat oven according to directions listed on cake mix box and prepare cake according to directions listed on package.

3. Fill foil lined cups 2/3 full (you may have just a bit of excess batter). 

4. Bake in preheated oven*(baking time will vary based on what type of cake mix you use, so judge accordingly), I made the confetti cake and it took about 25 - 30 minutes for the one cup, then an additional 5 minutes for the 2 cup, then another 5 minutes for the 4 cup (so you should be removing the smallest first, letting the medium bake a little longer and the largest bake the longest), insert a toothpick into the center of cakes to check for doneness.

5. Allow cakes to cool in glass bowls several minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool run a knife evenly along the top (about 1/2 - 1 inch down) to make cake even and remove excess on top.

6. Turn cakes upside down and frost, frosting largest first, then medium and finishing with the smallest (note that frosting sets quickly so keep that in mind if adding sprinkles).

7. Celebrate and enjoy!

*I feel silly even putting this but don't cover cake with the plastic storage lid when baking (kind of a given but I just wanted to clarify, bake it uncovered you don't want that lid to melt =).

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