Vanilla Buttercream for Flower Cupcakes

Photo: Tosca Radigonda
5 cups

Use paste or gel food coloring to tint buttercream; they provide intense hues and don't cause streaking or flaking.


  • 1 ¼ cups sugar

  • 5 large egg whites

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Food-coloring gel paste


  1. In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugar and egg whites. Place bowl over pan of simmering water; whisk until whites are hot and sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Remove from heat, and transfer to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until cooled and fluffy, 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until incorporated. Stir in vanilla.

  3. To tint, divide buttercream into small bowls, one for each color of flower petals (setting aside some untinted buttercream, if desired); color about 1/2 cup green for the leaves. Add a small amount of food coloring; stir well. Add a bit more color at a time until desired shade is reached.

Cook's Notes

If not using immediately, store frosting, well covered, in the refrigerator up to 1 week, or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature; beat well.

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