I remember when I was growing up, my mom was always baking these big, gorgeous wedding cakes for friends and family. It was so exciting to sit and watch her frost the cake and stack the tiers high, then decorate it with perfect frosting roses and embellishments. She always made the most perfectly white, fluffy vanilla buttercream frosting to frost it with. She would spread leftover frosting on graham crackers for Joanie and I.
When I started baking cakes and cupcakes several years ago, I couldn’t get the consistency of my buttercream frosting right. The frosting would never be fluffy enough and would never hold up when I piped it through a tip. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong until finally I had my mom walk me through it. Turns out there is a very simple trick to getting the fluffiest frosting that’ll stay where you put it. The trick is, you beat the crap out of it! My mom told me to whip the butter in the mixer on high for no less than 7 minutes! So here is my buttercream frosting recipe based on my mom’s recipe, but I don’t use shortening like she did because I just don’t like the mouth feel.
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature. (This is VERY important, if your butter is too soft or melted it won’t fluff up. I would err on the side of too cold if anything. Let your butter set on the counter over night if you can.)
4-5 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp real vanilla extract
5-6 Tbs milk
With an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the butter on high for 10 minutes. You can periodically stop the mixer to scrape down sides of the bowl. The butter will get fluffy and almost white in color.
When butter is very light and fluffy (after 10 minutes of whipping) turn mixer off and add the vanilla and two cups of the powdered sugar. Turn mixer on low until the sugar is combined and then turn it on medium speed and add 2 tablespoons of the milk.
Turn mixer back to low and add the rest of the powdered sugar and a couple more tablespoons of milk until you have a fluffy, light, spreadable consistency.
You are now ready to spread the frosting onto cakes or cupcakes. This can be done using an off-set spatula or pastry bag and tip. If you don’t have either of these, the back-side of a butter knife works just fine. This recipe will frost approximately 24 cupcakes or 1 9×13 cake or a two layer 8 inch round cake. Happy frosting!!