A few weeks ago my friends asked me if I would show them how to make buttercream look and taste good. They said there would be fun, wine, and cupcakes. Clearly, this seemed like an event I would dread attending.
After going neglected for far too long, my pastry bags, frosting tips, and sprinkles saw the light of day. My friends were equally thrilled to show them some love. So, on a lovely, cloudy, September afternoon, this is what we did:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick room temperature butter (my favorite is Challenge)
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Starting with room temperature butter makes a big difference. You can always soften it in the microwave, but I start any baking adventure by placing my butter on the counter to sit. I bake, it warms, life is splendid. I also find it easier to use a stand mixer, and from experience, a Pistachio green color makes all the difference. Mostly, it adds extra grins.
Place the room temperature butter in the mixer and beat it until it’s a little fluffy. Next, add in the powdered sugar slooowly as it makes for a much smoother consistency – a 1/4 cup at a time should do it. Also, not placing all the powdered sugar in at once makes your kitchen look like less of a coke den.
Next, add your vanilla (pure, not imitation). Depending on if this frosting will be a base for another flavor, or you want it to be straight up vanilla, add vanilla teaspoon by teaspoon to taste. Tasting is a big part of this adventure. I rarely end up eating my finished product because I’ve eaten so much of if throughout the process…
If you have a wild hair, liqueurs are always a great addition. For this party, we chose to make two frostings: a creme de menthe and a hazelnut flavor. Basically, add this tablespoon by tablespoon to the frosting until it’s as flavorful as you like. If the buttercream becomes a bit too soft, add a little more powdered sugar to offset the liquid. When all is said and done, you want a buttercream that is easy to frost, but also holds its shape.
Done. Feel free to eat this frosting by the spoonful, build it a shrine, or place it on cupcakes. We did two of these three.