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Buttercream recipes

close up of a naked cake with cherries on top

There are so many buttercream recipes; I could do a series of lessons on them and used to when I worked full time teaching.   We use different types of buttercream for cake decorating. The different types can be for different flavour profiles, but will also depending on when and where our goodies will be served (think temperature and time).

The Many Faces of Buttercream

First things first, let’s talk diversity—no, not among people, but among buttercreams! 😄 Whether you’re after a zesty lemon twist or a rich chocolate hug, there’s a buttercream for that.

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The Right Buttercream for the Right Cake

Different cakes require different types of buttercreams. A light and airy sponge cake would go well with a meringue-based buttercream, while a dense chocolate cake would be delicious with a richer, American-style buttercream.

Weather Alert! 🌦️

Believe it or not, weather can significantly impact your frosting results. If it’s hot and humid outside, you may need to reconsider using delicate Swiss meringue and opt for a more resilient frosting, such as one made with shortening (recipe below). Or have you heard of Ermine Frosting that’s a bit more stable than your plain buttercream. Either way, on a hot day, you shouldnt leave your frosting covered cakes in the heat for long.

FAQs: Unveiling the Buttercream Mysteries

Can I freeze my buttercream?

Absolutely! Just store it in an airtight container, defrost in the fridge and rewhip. Or if you have a Thermomix you can chop the frozen buttercream into small cubes and blitz.

What’s the best way to color buttercream?

Gel-based food colors are your best friends—they won’t mess up the consistency but will give you great colour.

Think about this when colouring your Buttercream

You can also use a combination of fats, such as butter and vegetable shortening, but be cautious of the effect on color. Butter has a yellow hue, so if you desire a blue shade, you might end up with green. Similarly, pink can turn into apricot when combined with a butter-based buttercream. To achieve a cookie monster blue using yellow butter as the base, it is advisable to first turn the entire mixture white first. This can be done by adding titanium dioxide or using white gel color (which essentially has the same effect in liquid form). By making it white first and then adding your desired color, you can achieve the results you’re after and your Cookie Monster wont look like Oscar the Grouch. This is the only way to do it. 😊

By the end of this post, I hope you feel like a buttercream connoisseur! Don’t forget to check out my Bake Club Online (Season 2) online course where we go even more in-depth. Toodles! 🍰

Buttercream made with butter

5 from 2 votes

5 stars tells us you love the recipe

Butter Buttercream. I mainly use this for taste on cool days or when I can control where my cake/cookies will be served.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Course Cake
Cuisine Various
Servings 1 quantity
Method Conventional


  • Stand mixer


  • 250 g Butter unsalted
  • 500 g Soft Icing sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of my homemade vanilla essence or shop bought
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons of cold water


  • Place your butter in a stand mixer and beat until light and creamy
  • Add the icing sugar a bit at a time to incorporate into the mix
  • Add some vanilla essence or any other essence you wish to use
  • At this stage, you may need to add a touch of col

Buttercream made with shortening

5 from 1 vote

5 stars tells us you love the recipe

This one is for hot days and for using with colours that need to be spot on. Not my preferred choice of icing, although if you are going to be serving these on a hot day and they are going to be sitting out for any length of time you will need to use a more stable fat (than butter). Also great if you have to match the bridesmaids dress colour.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Course Cake
Cuisine Various
Servings 1 quantity
Method Conventional


  • Stand mixer


  • 250 grams Vegetable Shortening
  • 500 grams Soft Icing Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter Essence or Butter Vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon Clear Vanilla
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons Cold Water


  • Place your shortening into a stand mixer and beat until light and creamy
  • Add 1/2 the soft icing sugar mixture into the bowl by mixing in stages to incorporate
  • Continue beating the mix until it becomes smooth.
  • In another bowl add the other 250g soft icing mix along with the water, butter essence and clear vanilla
  • Mix with a spatula and once cleared pour into the icing mix and beat well.


    1. Hey Megan,
      We do a deep dive into Buttercreams in Bake Club Season 2. We talk about which recipe and ingredients are suitable for what and under what conditions.

      This is what’s in the first module of Season 2
      Recipes included:

      Buttercream Recipe 1
      Buttercream Recipe 2
      Buttercream Recipe 3
      Flat Rose Video Tutorial
      Banana Cupcakes
      Honey Cupcakes
      Quick and Easy Vanilla Cupcakes
      Quick Method Cupcakes
      Red Velvet Cup Cakes

      Then, of course, there are the lessons with tips etc.


      1. Bec, what do you consider vegetable shortening in Australia? In the US, it’s generally Crisco. Would copha be a reasonable substitute?

        1. Hi Megan,
          Copha is fine, but it’s really hard. You need to chop it very small then blitz it in the Thermomix. I say chop it small because it will put less pressure on the blades.
          Without a Thermomix, you’d be better off grating it to get it to a reasonable consistency for buttercream.
          We have a product here in Australia called Solite. It’s considered to be very similar to Crisco. You can get all these ingredients (not copha that’s from the supermarket) from cake decorating shops.

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