Cake. One of my favorite breakfast items. But what is a chocolate, white or party cake without some good old fashioned frosting? Well, it's just cake. Which is still pretty good. Less sweet.
A few years ago my mother showed me how to make buttercream frosting taste delicious, and it turns out that it is all about the method. The components of this frosting are decadent and simple: butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt and milk. Basically, all of the good stuff. But how to make the frosting not just taste like butter, or like straight sugar for that matter? It's all about taking it slow.
Start off with about 1/2 cup butter, cut up into chunks and about 3/4 cup powdered sugar in a metal mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until they are nice and creamy.
First the butter will break down into small pieces amongst the sugar. Then the sugar will start to combine
Then the butter and sugar will really come together into a nice creamy mixture.
Then the mixture will get creamy and uniform. Beat for a bit longer — just to make sure.
Now that you have your creamy base mixture, you are going to start to build your frosting by adding more powdered sugar and butter chunks little by little, fully incorporating and creaming, before adding the next bunch. When you have used about 3/4 of your sugar and butter (16 ounces sugar and 2 sticks of butter would be all of it) give it a taste. You want it to taste perfect and delicious, not too buttery, and not pure sugar.
To aid in this, add 1 pinch of salt, and about a tsp. vanilla, or more to your liking. Run your mixer and mix well. As you are mixing, splash in about 1 Tbsp of milk. This should loosen the frosting up and start to make it nice and fluffy. You will see the frosting start to spread out nicely around the bowl in a very light and creamy sort of way. Taste again.
If the frosting does not taste perfectly to your liking, add a little bit more salt. If you feel that the butter taste is still to strong, add more sugar and mix, mix, mix! If it is not quite fluffy enough for you, add another splash of milk (make sure the mixer is running so that the milk combines smoothly). If you don't think that it is enough icing, build up your quantity by alternating the rest of your butter and sugar in. When it is all in, splash in more milk to gain desired consistency and taste. Might need a pinch more salt! Maybe a dash more vanilla?
Once you have adjusted the milk and salt, and mixed for longer than you ever thought, you should have some slam-dunk frosting! Enjoy! Go frost a cake, or cupcakes, or make cookie sandwiches :)
1. For vegan frosting, coconut oil is a lovely replacement for butter, and coconut milk/almond milk or hemp milk do wonders in place of the cow milk. Make sure that the coconut oil is chilled/in a firm state and not liquid
2. Add some orange zest for for an extra delicious kick! About 1/2 tsp while you are in the middle of the mixing process
3. For chocolate frosting substitute some of the powdered sugar for unsweetened chocolate powder. You can make it deep dark by adding more chocolate. There is plenty of sugar in there, so go nuts!
4. Red Beet juice will turn your frosting to a lovely, rich, pink color. And it doesnt take much! Stay tuned for more ways to naturally dye your fluffy, perfect buttercream frosting!
- 16oz powdered sugar
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- up to 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract