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The Best Basic Frosting Recipes

Updated on October 20, 2014

Must have frosting recipes

Do you bake a lot of cupcakes? Cakes? Cookies? Here are some basic frosting recipes that are a must have in every kitchen.

Let's face it, the icing on the cake is what makes the cake, cupcake or cookies look yummy. If your frosting tastes and looks good your baking session will be a success. I enjoy baking and here are some of my basic frosting recipes. These are the ones I go to, time after time.

These are basic frosting recipes that will use ingredients you would normally have in your kitchen. I'll also give you a few recipes for that fancier cake or if you want to change things up a bit. Even if you are a beginner when it comes to baking, these icing recipes are sure to be a hit in your house.

Basic Icing

Most popular icing recipe

Great name....Basic Icing. But that is exactly what this frosting is, basic. This is the first frosting I ever used, it is not my favorite but it is easy and the grandchildren love it! Of course, grandchildren love anything with sugar in it...

This recipe can be used on cakes, cupcakes and cookies. It is the one I use when doing Christmas cookies because it is so easy and because you need lots of icing in different colors. Just add food coloring!


1 cup confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon of milk

Place sugar in a mixing bowl and gradually add the milk, then beat together, with electric mixer, until the icing coats the back of a spoon."

Some helpful variations:

CHOCOLATE ICING: exchange 2 tablespoons of the confectioners' sugar for cocoa

COFFEE ICING: mix 1 teaspoon of instant coffee with 1 tablespoon of boiling water. Cool and mix with the confectioners' sugar

Hand Held Mixers

Hand held mixers are very handy to have in your kitchen. Not only are they easy to clean but they work so much better than a whisk. Hand held mixers are perfect for making your frosting as well as the cake. You can use them for so many more things; pancakes, mashing potato's and beating egg whites. No kitchen should be without a hand held mixer. I have a stand mixer which I love but sometimes it is just easier with the hand held one.


Chocolate Frosting Recipe

Very rich

Chocolate happens to be my favorite flavor. I can't imagine ordering vanilla ice cream if I can have chocolate and so it goes with my frostings. I think you will find this chocolate frosting to be quick and easy, plus it just tastes good. There is nothing better with a cold glass of milk that a big piece of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Make sure you try this one.


3 1/2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

2/3 cup butter, softened (not melted)

1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon chocolate extract

Place the softened butter in a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy, then add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the cooled chocolate and chocolate extract and beat until combined.

Note: The chocolate needs to be melted but not hot when you add to the other ingredients.


Vanilla Frosting Recipe

If you like vanilla, you'll love this

Here is a very, very good vanilla frosting recipe. This recipe is also good on Christmas cookies. It is rich and creamy but not overpowering. If you are looking for a frosting that will not overpower your cake or cupcakes, try this one.


2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners's sugar

3 to 4 tablespoons of heavy cream

Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and blend well. Add the sugar and beat until well blended and smooth. Add the cream and beat until creamy.

Many of us favor our flavors and have different taste buds.....let's see who reigns.

What is your preference?

See results

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Simple ingredients and very easy

I always thought that Buttercream Frosting would be too time consuming to make but then I found this recipe that changed my whole way of thinking. This is a great buttercream and it's easy too. There are also many variations to the basic icing recipe.


1 cup of butter, softened

1 tablespoon of cream or milk

3 cups confectioners' sugar

Place the butter and cream in a bowl and beat together until fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth.


ORANGE OR LEMON BUTTERCREAM: Substitute fresh orange or lemon juice for the cream and add a little orange or yellow food coloring.

Orange or Lemnon zest will also add some wonderful flavor

CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM: Replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup cocoa

COFFEE BUTTERCREAM: Replace the cream with 1 tablespoon of cold strong espresso coffe and 1/4 teaspoon of coffee extract

MOCHA BUTTERCREAM: Replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup cocoa and replace the cream with 1 tablespoon of cold espresso coffee

NUT BUTTERCREAM: Beat 1/4 cup butter with the sugar, then add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/4 cup smooth peanut or almond butter and 2/3 cup chopped pecans to the finished frosting and beat well.

Presentation is very Important

Show off your special treats. Use pretty plates to serve your cookies and cake stands for your cakes and cupcakes. It can make all the difference in the world.


Royal Icing Recipe

My all time favorite

This is the icing my grandmother made, then my mother and now it is my favorite. It is what I remember a cake tasting like when I was a little girl. Yes, I can remember some things about my childhood (my children would probably argue that point) however; this icing is great on cupcakes and cakes. It also is very impressive to look at because it is sooooo fluffy.

Note: Because this frosting uses egg whites you should keep your finished product refrigerated.


3 large egg whites, at room temperature

4 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon liquid glycerin ( I've also used a teaspoon of cream of tartar if I have no glycerin)

Put the egg whites (make sure there is NO yolk) in a large bowl and while beating them gradually add the sugar. Beat with the whisk attachment for about 10 minutes until stiff peaks form. Then add the glycerin until smooth.

Yummy, think I'll go bake a cake!


Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Very, very good recipe

You normally think of carrot cake when you think of Cream Cheese Frosting but there are several other cakes that this frosting is absolutely delicious on. I'm going to give you a recipe for Hawaiian Wedding Cake that this frosting was made for, so make sure you read to the bottom of this lens.


9 tablespoon butter, softened

1 cup cream cheese, softened to room temperature

4 cups confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar. Mix well then add the vanilla extract and beat until smooth and creamy.

Now for the perfect cake under that perfect cream cheese frosting, THE HAWAIIAN WEDDING CAKE


2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup walnuts, chopped

20 ounce can crushed pineapple

Place all of the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until well blended. You can do this by hand.

Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish and place cake mixture in pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

When cake has cooled frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

I've taken this one to several church potlucks and this is the first cake eaten....very, very good!

Measuring Cups

Here is another item that you must have in your kitchen and again you can never have enough. When baking it is always easier to measure out all of your ingredients before starting. Having several measuring cups enables you to practice this and make your baking jobs much easier. Having everything measured and ready to go also keeps you from skipping an ingredient.

I welcome any comments you would like to make about frosting recipes or recipes in general. It will only take a minute so please add your comments.

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