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Vanilla-Buttercream Frosting

This recipe for vanilla-buttercream frosting should be used on this delicious chocolate cake recipe.

  • Yield: Makes about 6 cups
Vanilla-Buttercream Frosting

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, September 2005


  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 7 large egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds (5 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, softened
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar has dissolved and mixture registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

  2. Return bowl to mixer; fit mixer with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, and mixture is cool, about 10 minutes.

  3. Switch to paddle attachment. With mixer on medium speed, add butter, 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until mixture is smooth. Mix in vanilla extract. Use immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days.

Reviews (14)

  • gardengalkim1 27 Apr, 2014

    What a waste of time and ingredients. Heated the eggs and sugar to exactly 160 degrees. After 25 minutes of whisking, still not even soft peaks. Decided to add the butter anyway. After mixing it in I added lots of powdered sugar to tighten it up a bit. It did spread, not well and still REALLY tasted like butter. Won't bother with this one again....

  • MenloMom 27 Jun, 2013

    It was easy to make but definitely needs more sugar. Not a problem for me - since I plan to use it to frost my coconut cake and sprinkle with sweetened shredded coconut.

  • lupeelou6 11 Oct, 2011

    I just made this recipe for the first time last night. I thought I was going to have to throw it out when it started to crudle, but I just kept whiping it with the paddle and it was magic. It became very smooth and shiny. The only thing I don't like about this recipe is that it tastes like butter. Also, I'm not sure what the difference is between Swiss Buttercream and Vanilla Buttercream.

  • jenni2 26 Sep, 2011

    Just looking for reasons why my strawberry buttercream didn't work... that recipe didn't mention anything about getting the whisked sugar and egg to cool before adding anything else! And scanning, each buttercream recipe says different stuff - not all mention the 160 degrees for example and others don't mention how long to mix... I'm a little unhappy now. I should've looked at a bunch of recipes first to know how to actually make buttercream... next time i'll know to just keep whisking...

  • tohb 10 Aug, 2011

    I followed directions and when I was done it just tasted like butter

  • jpagan29 4 Aug, 2011

    Hollihobbi, thisrecipe is very finicky with temperature and timing. 1-your water should be barely simmering and 2-it should not touch the bowl. 3-you need a thermometer for the temperature.4-Change the whisk for the paddle when ready. and 5- If it curcles after adding all the butter KEEP BEATING> It will come together. I just did a batch and it turned out great and very flavorful. Just be patient with it and you will be rewarded with the best buttercream you have ever tasted! Jo

  • hollihobbi 31 May, 2011

    Followed directions to a T and the eggs curdled. Didn't think I over heated or over beat. Recipe should give timed guidelines or references. Wasted everything.

  • megnard 7 Mar, 2011

    This turned out terribly for me. It took about 20 minutes for my soft peaks to form and once I started adding butter, the icing curdled. I ended up throwing it out. =(

  • Lyndalouu 13 Feb, 2011

    You need to use granulated sugar for this recipe. I have made the caramel and strawberry versions of this frosting and they were both to die for! It is a nice fluffy frosting despite all of the butter in it. It is my favorite for frosting cakes and cupcakes. Now I'm wondering how it would be on sugar cookie cut outs

  • joyinthejumble 4 Feb, 2011

    I believe it is granulated sugar since you are dissolving the sugar. If it only has 1 1/3 cups of powdered sugar, I don't think that there would be enough to make 6 cups of frosting.
    That's my take anyway:)
    I accidentally typed this into the other buttercream recipes comments when I meant for it to be here...oops. Now I have to go and try to fix it:)

  • PacificaMom 19 Dec, 2010

    Did anyone answer your sugar question? I didn't see a response,

  • JLowe20 14 Dec, 2010

    Is the sugar, in the recipie, granulated sugar or icing sugar?

  • Lesliesully 17 Nov, 2010

    click on top of the recipe above, hold the mouse button and drag all the way to the bottom of the recipe and right click. Choose "Copy" and then paste it to a Word document. Then print the Word document.

  • Deege 11 Jul, 2010

    Unfortunately, the recipe for Vanilla Buttercream frosting will not print. The Print Preview shows a blank page.

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