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Homemade Buttercream Frosting

Updated on February 13, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

There are literally hundreds of recipes for buttercream frosting in all flavors and ingredients. Some, like the Wilton Buttercream, don't even contain real butter. Some buttercreams are more difficult to make than others but with a little practice consistantly perfect results are achievable for almost anyone.

You will need a good mixer, and the ability to follow directions closely. For Swiss meringue buttercream you will need a strong arm and a good balloon whisk. For those that might be concerned about the use of raw eggs in the traditional butter creams it is important to remember that extremely hot sugar syrup is added to the mixture and any bacteria present would effectively be killed off. Just be sure to add the syrup slowly or you will end up with scrambled egg frosting.


Dark Chocolate Buttercream

This buttercream has the light texture of traditional buttercream without the eggs. Use it for Devils Food, fudge Cake, or a yellow cake. You can omit the coffee and use the same amount of cream if you like. This makes enough to fill and frost two 8-inch cake layers.

5 stars from 1 rating of Dark Chocolate Buttercream

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Ready in: 5 min
Yields: About 2 cups of buttercream,


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 15 oz jar marshmallow cream
  • 2/3 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
  • 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon strong coffee, cooled


  1. Cut the butter into one inch squares and allow it to come to room temperature without letting it get so soft it loses its shape.
  2. In a large mixer bowl beat the butter and marshmallow cream at high speed until fluffy and well blended.
  3. Switch to low and carefully stir in the cocoa, making sure there are no lumps. When the cocoa is totally mixed in switch back to high and beat in the chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. If the buttercream is too thin chill before using.

Dark Chocolate Buttercream

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/10 cake
Calories 376
Calories from Fat198
% Daily Value *
Fat 22 g34%
Saturated fat 14 g70%
Carbohydrates 43 g14%
Sodium 175 mg7%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
Wilton's buttercream recipe is perfectly suited for decorating cakes.
Wilton's buttercream recipe is perfectly suited for decorating cakes. | Source

Wilton Buttercream

The WIlton Buttercream is similar to what you will find on the cakes from most bakeries. It is generally made with shortening to keep it white, and will a little almond and vanilla flavoring.

Wilton Style Buttercream

  • 1 cup solid white shortening (or half unsalted butter)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond flaving 
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cream or half and half

Beat shortening, or shortening and butter, until light and fluffy. Add the extract and beat well.

Beat in the confectioners sugar. Add cream as needed to make the product smooth.

This can easily be made vegan by using corn syrup or soy milk in place of the cream. 

Bitterweet Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Melt the chocolate and the butter together, either in the microwave or in a double boiler.

In a large bowl mix the confectioners', vanilla, and 1/2 cup cream.

Beat in the warm chocolate mixture.

Add the remaining cream little by little until the desired consistancy is reached. Let stand until it thickens up enough to spread.

(c)Marye Audet 2008
(c)Marye Audet 2008

Silky Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place the sugar and egg whites in a heat proof bowl over simmering water on the stove. Whisk contantly until it feels hot when you put your finger in it. This should take about three minutes or so.

The sugar will be dissolved and the mixture will resemble marshmallow cream.

Take bowl off the heat. Beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool. This will take about five minutes.

Add the butter A few squares at a time, beating until smooth.

When all the butter is in the bowl beat on medium high speed until it is veryt thick and smooth. This could take as much as ten mintes.

If the buttercream curdles or seperates during this process just keep beating it. It will come back together.

On medium speed beat in the lemon juice a little at a time and finally the vanilla. The buttercream will be silky smooth and very white.


  • Add 1/4 teaspoon almond
  • Add 1 tablespoon rosewater
  • Add 1 cup of coconut
  • Add 2 tablespoons Gran Marnier instead of the lemon
  • Substitute brown sugar for the sugar for a praline type, add either almond or butternut flavoring


A soft cloud of buttercream on top of vanilla cupcakes is a perfect finish.
A soft cloud of buttercream on top of vanilla cupcakes is a perfect finish. | Source

French Buttercream

  • 6 egg yolks  
  • 1 cup sugar  
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup  
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup water 

Mix the egg yolks until thick and pale lemon-colored.

Put the the sugar, one-fourth cup water and corn syrup in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, wiping down the sides at the beginning, until the syrup registers 215 degrees on a candy thermometer,This will take about five minutes. 

Remove from heat. 

Turn the mixer to low and pour the hot syrup into the eggs in a slow stream.  When the syrup is completely poured in whip at hight speed until the bowl is just barely warm.

With the mixer on low, carefully pour the hot syrup into the eggs in a slow stream.  Add the cubes of butter, a few at a time. Whip until all the butter is incorporated.

Beat a few more minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and creamy.


  • Substitute strong coffee for water.
  • Substitute Bailey's for water
  • Substitute Maraschino cherry juice for the water
  • Substitute rum for the water 


Italian Buttercream

Your Best Cakes Ever

Fantastic cakes are impressive but not that difficult. Here are some tips to help you along:

  • Spend some time practicing new techniques before you try to make something big like a wedding cake.
  • If you use one of the egg based buttercreams remember that you must store the cake in the refrigerator.
  • Almost any flavoring or fruit puree can be added to butter cream with good results.
  • If the cake will be standing on a table on a hot day (like in a summer wedding, for example) use a recipe that calls for all shortening. This will keep the butter from melting off the cake.
  • Making cupcakes is a great way to practice the techniques.
  • A good mixer is a must for great buttercream.
  • Always use unsalted butter.

With a little practice anyone can make beautiful, delicous buttercream covered cakes.

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    • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

      Marye Audet 

      6 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      you can substitute regular cocoa if you like... the dark gives more flavor. It is a little too soft to do much more than stars or scallop, definitely too soft for roses

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      For your dark chocolate marshmallow recipe do you think it would be firm enough to use to decorate a cake in the wilton style? Also could you use regular cocoa powder instead of of the dark?

    • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

      Marye Audet 

      6 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Eliska - so it was too thick on the 1/2 cup of cream? You used 1 pound of powdered sugar? You used heavy cream, not the whipping cream (which has skim milk added) If so next time cut back on the heavy cream, start with 1/4 cup and add a little at a time until it is the right consistency

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i don't know what i did wrong, i followed the receipe to the TEE for the bittersweet chocolate buttercream and its consistency is not thick at all...=(

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This was so, unbelievably helpful!! I used your recipes on my husbands home made birthday cake and they were a hit! Thank you!!

    • danutzvd profile image


      7 years ago from Romania

      yam-yam-yam....loks gooooood !!

    • Sunshine Uy profile image

      Sunshine Uy 

      7 years ago

      Thanks so much for the tips! I've been wanting to learn how to make frosting for a long time now.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Mary, thanks for the great buttercream choices. I've been looking for a great recipe and now have a few to choose from.

      BTW, I linked my latest hub: Russian Tea Cakes to this one. Happy Holidays.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      If u made Wilton buttetcream icing and it came out thin consistancy and. I medium consistancy way do I do

    • christinecook profile image


      8 years ago

      great selection of butter creams,thanks for sharing.

    • dragonbear profile image


      8 years ago from Essex UK

      Great selection of buttercream! I would never have got so many in one place - great hub, thanks!

    • Pollyannalana profile image


      8 years ago from US

      Wow I had to copy those and I'm just on a diet, lost four lbs!

      Well I will fix it for company and try not be a pig all by myself. How do you get time for all this lady?

    • febriedethan profile image


      8 years ago from Indonesia

      Looks so yummy and delicious, thank you for sharing :)

    • Pam_Cakes profile image


      9 years ago from Chicago

      Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes! Thank you. Buttercreme is best when you use the actual butter in it. As you know, Wilton-style buttercreme uses shortening or lard. Some folks like the Wilton-style best, but I have to say... as an up-and-coming pastry chef I absolutely HANDS-DOWN recommend the buttercreme recipe with the butter in it. Btw, I love the variations you posted for the French Buttercreme, that's the way to do it. Great Hub Ms. Marye!

    • Proud Mom profile image

      Proud Mom 

      9 years ago from USA

      Marye, I've never seen or tried dark chocolate Buttercream. I always make the vanilla and tint it for what ever we're frosting (mostly sugar cookies). I'm so anxious to try these, ESPECIALLY the chocolate.

      Thank you so much for the recipes!

    • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

      Marye Audet 

      9 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      oops Pat..fixing that now.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      The silky butter cream frosting recipe is a bit confusing, it doesn't say how much water and no indication on what to do with the egg whites!

    • DarleneMarie profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      Looks D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!  Thanks for the great recipe ideas and inspiration on my next cake adventure!

    • profile image

      market solution 

      9 years ago

      Another great hub! The buttercream on the video presentation sounds awesome. I can hardly wait to try it. Thanks!

    • Rhelena profile image


      9 years ago

      Those look delicious!

    • LouiseKnittel profile image


      9 years ago from Ohio

      I never knew that there were so many differnt kinds!

    • SweetiePie profile image


      9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Thanks for the impressive answer to a hub request. I love all of your ideas, but the idea about practicing on cupcakes sounds like a good place for me to start. Thank you!


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