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Basic Vanilla Buttercream

This recipe for Basic Vanilla Buttercream is courtesy of Billy Reece from Billy's Bakery in New York City.

  • Yield: Makes enough for 30 cupcakes
Basic Vanilla Buttercream

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, May 2006

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.

Reviews (29)

  • mikeshn 13 May, 2014

    I like the recipe.

  • Lulu24 19 Nov, 2012

    this recipe is yummy, but does anyone know how long it lasts before it goes off? how long do you have to use it? as it makes quite a lot, i used it for my victoria sponge cake- made using two 8 inch sandwich tins, and even after sandwiching the layers together with it and putting some over tops and sides of cake, I still had half a load left!!! best made with lurpak though as any other butter will make buttercreams too buttery and lurpak has a more mild flavour. can substitute milk for water.

  • Lizzette M Rivera 21 Oct, 2012

    Too sweet but good. I added like one teaspoon of lemon juice.

  • Lissa Karim 18 Sep, 2012

    Enter your review...

  • astroturfskirt 12 Aug, 2011

    delicious! super creamy - used just a little over 6 cups (sugar) and i threw in extra vanilla. i will be using this again and again. perfect with chocolate fudge cupcakes!

  • kparks2 1 Mar, 2011

    I am in love with this recipe. It is def my go to recipe for frosting. Simple and ingredients that I normally have on hand. However, the cupcake recipe I use calls for 24 cupcakes and I find that cutting this recipe in half gives me more than enough frosting. Also, a suggestion I tried today, I cupback a little bit ont he milk and used about a 1 tbsp of lemon juice and it added a nice tropical flavor to it!

  • SuperSpeechie 31 Oct, 2010

    Love this frosting!! It's a little sugary sweeter than other buttercream I have tried, but I thought it was a good thing! It went perfectly with Billy's vanilla cupcakes.

  • rachel_nyc 19 Sep, 2010

    This buttercream is simple

  • cris11 26 Jul, 2010

    Mine turned out perfectly! I'm a pretty novice baker. I also live at a high altitude, so I made the necessary adjustments. I think the recipe is PERFECT! YUM!!

  • lovereining 8 Jun, 2010

    When you made your icing that was really watery, did you use a non fat milk? That is all I can think of. The more fat in some hard to mix ingredients, the easier it will blend. I think it is called emulsifying. Try using [filtered word] milk and make sure you add your ingredients in the right order.

    angiegirl62 - did you use 2 Tbsp of baking soda? or 1 Tbsp? or maybe you overfilled the cups? I just want to make sure my batch turns out well. lol!

  • psmcmann 24 Apr, 2010

    In the video - Billy says to put in 2 TBS of baking soda but the recipe indicates 1 TBS. Please clarify. This is consistently an issue with recipes on your website!

  • TiffanyCo 21 Mar, 2010

    WOW! This is probably the best buttercream icing I've found. To make it extra vanilla-y, I added the scrapings of 1 vanilla bean :) No lumps or grittiness, nice and smooth.

  • angiegirl62 3 Feb, 2009

    i tried the cupcakes and didn't even make it to the frosting because when i took the first pan out of the oven, the batter had bubbled and expanded during baking and had come up out of the cups and spread all over the top of the muffin pan. Why did my batter explode? Anyone have any ideas?

  • gday_mich 1 Feb, 2009

    LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT! No probs making it at all. Result, yum!!! I've only just discovered baking through Martha's Cookie cookbook. Discovered that as nice as they were, I'm a cupcake gal. Now trying lots of recipes much to my hubbie, friends and families delight. Thanks Martha for introducing me to baking.

  • andy88 16 Dec, 2008

    hi im mexican so i dont know if you refer to 325n n f or n n c
    the cupcakes soud great :D

  • mannnda614 27 Nov, 2008

    I have no idea u guys ever make this!! (dont mind me , im just pissed with myself) I tried to salvage my mixture for 2 WHOLE HOURS. I just kept stirring and stirring, with and without the electric mixer. But mine totally failed. The milk just keep sipping out of the mixture. Then i thought, how could butter and milk ever combine?? So, i just threw 2 hours of effort away bcos the mixture was full of small lumps and wet milk

  • cupcakelover3 17 Aug, 2008

    I used this recipe on chocolate cupcakes (recipe from the back of a Hershey's cocoa can- YUMMY!) but only used 4 cups of the powdered sugar and my guest went nuts! I feel I have finally found the best combo of chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. Life is good!

  • cupcakelover3 17 Aug, 2008

    I used this recipe on chocolate cupcakes (recipe from the back of a Hershey's cocoa can- YUMMY!) but only used 4 cups of the powdered sugar and my guest went nuts! I feel I have finally found the best combo of chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. Life is good!

  • cupcakelover3 17 Aug, 2008

    I used this recipe on chocolate cupcakes (recipe from the back of a Hershey's cocoa can- YUMMY!) but only used 4 cups of the powdered sugar and my guest went nuts! I feel I have finally found the best combo of chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. Life is good!

  • marthaismyguru 28 Jun, 2008

    Did anyone catch where Billy gets his white sprinkles?

  • dizzydeb 19 May, 2008

    Wonderful tasting buttercream recipe. I cut down a bit on the butter and it still turned out great. One of my favorites. Added a few sprinkles on top and everyone was suitably impressed.

  • kimwylie0523 15 May, 2008

    Lolitalinda:
    Make sure your butter is room temperature and not melted, and really make sure you cream the butter well. This is sooo important. Once you've made the frosting, keep it refrigerated and covered until you are ready to use it. If it gets too warm, it will get "melty." Any baker will tell you that buttercream has a tendency to melt.

  • Little_Iowa 14 May, 2008

    I love this frosting - made a bit on the stiff side and it pipes perfectly! These cupcaske are always a big hit in my family and at work. Try spreading a little orange or lemon curd between the cupcake and the frosting - extra yummy!

  • Lolitalinda125 13 May, 2008

    I actually live across the street from Billy's and I cant have enough of them! so i decided to make the frosting at home, tragedy!! i followed the recipe and it was horrible!! it was massivly watery! was it the milk?? i ended up adding almost 2 boxes of sugar i even refrigerated for like 10 minutesand nothing!! watery!!!!!
    does anybody have maybe a clue where i went wrong??

  • chefbb317 30 Apr, 2008

    im going to have to try this they look deliouses kimwylie0523!

  • zocola 13 Apr, 2008

    I did not think that this frosting was anything special. It just doesn't have any flavor and I am a vanilla lover.

  • kimwylie0523 1 Mar, 2008

    Yummmmm!! This frosting rocks my world! I made cupcakes for my community band (we're doing a birthday tribute concert for Leroy Anderson) and needed a simple and tasty frosting to top them off with. I added food coloring, which blended easily, and topped them off with sprinkling sugar. They're delicious, and I can't WAIT to share them! (possible update??)

  • marisal 2 Jan, 2008

    Wonderful frosting but I made some changes and made a smaller batch. 1 1/4c butter (some salted that I had lying around), 1 1/3c sugar and enough milk to make it frosting like, approx. 1/4c. It was perfect! Just as tasty as all of the other famous bakeries... Magnolia, The Cupcake Cafe

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