Buttercream Breakdown!

What is buttercream? Basically exactly what it sounds like! It is essentially butter and sugar combined to a spreadable delicious frosting! There are tons of ways to make buttercream, and a handful of different styles. What sets a buttercream apart from others, in my opinion, is the quality of the ingredients. Organic butter and sugar with local seasonal fruit cannot steer you wrong. 

Here is a breakdown of what you might find in a bakery
and two of my go to recipes!

Common Types Of Buttercream:

American Buttercream

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Italian Meringue Buttercream

French Meringue Buttercream

American buttercream is a very standard frosting, and what you might find most commonly. It is thick, sweet, and versatile, made with butter and powdered sugar. Below is my favorite strawberry buttercream recipe!

This is my personal favorite! Its lighter and silkier than American buttercream, and made with whipped egg whites. My recipe is below!

Italian Buttercream is very similar to swiss, however it is made by adding a hot sugar syrup to the whipped egg whites. This provides a more stable and slightly less sweet buttercream.

French buttercream is made with egg yolks, creating a richer and more decadent, custard-like frosting. 

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Recipe

4 egg whites
1 cup cane sugar 
3 sticks unsalted butter at room temp, cubed
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract 

First, separate your egg whites. I prefer to use my fingers to let the egg white fall into a clean bowl while the yolk stays in my hand. Be very careful in this step- any residual egg yolk will alter it's ability to properly whip. 

Add egg whites, sugar and salt to double boiler. I use my stainless steel stand mixer bowl over a small pot of water. Make sure the water level is not touching your bowl! Cook on medium/low heat until the mixture reaches 165 degrees F, whisking frequently. 


Next, using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, mix on medium speed until the egg whites reach stiff peaks. It should take about 10 minutes. This is your meringue! 

Once your egg whites have stiff peaks, switch to the paddle attachment and add in the butter. If your egg white mixture is still warm, your buttercream may become runny. Just pop it in the fridge for about 10 minutes. If it curdles at this point, increase the paddle speed and just keep mixing. It will eventually smooth out!

Lastly, add vanilla extract. Taste and add more salt if needed. I personally prefer a saltier buttercream! 


Additional fun add ins: melted chocolate,              honey, swap for vanilla bean paste. *be wary not to add anything with a high water content, such as fresh fruit, as it will ruin the consistency of the buttercream. 
Now you can frost a cake, any dessert, or eat it straight! There are truly no rules! Store your swiss buttercream in the fridge, but bring down to room temp before using. You can do this quickly by popping it in the microwave in 5-10 second increments. It will be good for about 5 days. 

berry jam

Strawberry Buttercream Recipe

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 tbsp pureed strawberries
2 tsp vanilla extract


Begin by adding the butter to a large bowl and beating. This can be done with a paddle attachment of a mixer, but in all honesty, I usually use a fork for this. My very DIY upbringing sometimes can never leave me, even when I own the proper appliances! Proof that you don't need fancy appliances to make great things. Although for this one, you may need some arm strength. 


Next, add in the strawberry puree and powdered sugar, in small increments at a time, alternating between the two. Keep mixing and adding the strawberry puree and powdered sugar until you get your desired consistency. You want it to be spreadable, but still hold its shape. 

Lastly, add in the vanilla and salt. Taste, and add more salt if needed! 

Store this buttercream in the fridge, and it will last about 5 days. Bring to room temp before spreading on cake! Or eat it straight from the bowl!