Vanilla Buttercream Icing

Author Melissa Sperka


  • 3 sticks [1 1/2 cups] softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 2 lb powdered sugar
  • 8 Tbsp heavy cream [plus add'l as needed]
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream together the softened butter and vegetable shortening. Beat for 3-4 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color.
  • If you'd prefer, you can use the exact same technique using all butter. In that case, it would be 4 sticks total. [The small amount of vegetable shortening stabilizes the frosting.]
  • Add the sifted powdered sugar alternately with the heavy cream.
  • If you'd like the icing to be easily spreadable for frosting cakes, add more cream one tablespoon at a time. If you'd like a more stiff icing to maintain it's shape for piping onto cupcakes, add slightly less.
  • After all of the powdered sugar has been added whip in the vanilla and salt. Adjust the mixer speed to medium-high and whip for 5-7 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • If you'd like to add color to this buttercream, I recommend using color gel additives so as not to change the consistency of the icing.
  • Makes enough tol frost [2] 8/9" rounds for a layer cake or 30 cupcakes.
  • Freeze leftovers.


Buttercream icing prepared in this way will form a "crust" rather quickly. So, keep a damp cloth over the bowl of icing while you frost your cake or cupcakes to slow this process.