• Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Servings: 5 cups, enough for a layer cake
  • Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate


Clear vanilla extract makes a whiter frosting, but it's harder to find. If you can't find it, you can still use regular vanilla extract.


Put softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. If you don't have a stand mixer, a hand mixer can do the job, but at a slower pace. On medium speed, cream the butter for

4 minutes

(longer for a hand mixer) or until the

color has lightened

and the consistency is very smooth. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you mix. The longer you whip the butter, the lighter it becomes, so let your eyes be your guide. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat at medium speed until fully incorporated. After each addition of sugar is blended, crank up the mixer to

high for 10 seconds

to get the frosting fluffy, and then turn it back to medium to blend in the next batch. After all the sugar is in the mix, turn the mixer to the highest speed and whip for another

20 seconds

. Add the salt (omit if you use salted butter) and vanilla and keep whipping. Turn the mixer to


and begin to add the cream 1 tablespoon at a time. Dribble the cream down the side of the bowl so that the mixer doesn't throw it back in your face. Add cream until you reach the desired consistency. If you decide you want a

firmer frosting

, add a little more powdered sugar. Your buttercream frosting is ready to go. Just cool your cake, cupcakes, or cookies before frosting.