How To Make Perfect American Buttercream

I have to be honest. I used to hate making buttercream.

It was a nightmare and I know many people that feel the same way.

Working with buttercream was a struggle for me for many years.

Every time I attempted to make buttercream, it was either too thick and difficult to spread or too thin and melty!

For awhile I swore off working with American Buttercream. But as I started to get more and more cake orders, I was unable to avoid working with buttercream.

Determined to no longer use store bought buttercream AND avoid the common problems I ran into, I tested and altered my recipes...

Then one day I discovered it... I finally developed The Perfect American Buttercream! (check out these cakes I made with it)

Want to learn how to make these cakes too? Check this out and you will also get all of the tools you need to be able to make them too!

I found this beautiful sweet spot in my experiments which is why I call it the Perfect American Buttercream.

This Buttercream recipe has an excellent butter to sugar ratio, allowing it to be soft enough to frost smooth cakes but stable enough to pipe decorations and details on the cake.

This recipe solved all of my issues with frosting a buttercream cake and I just had to share it to help anyone else struggling to find the right buttercream, so here it is!

Quick Note:

You can use this recipe to create all of the cakes you see below. Yes. including all of the photos on this post, plus more! You will also get instructions on how to make the cakes themselves along with all the tools you need to make them (no additional trips to pick up random pans). If you're interested check out the Caking Art Pro Kit (it opens in a new window so you wont lose your spot), now onto the recipe!American Buttercream recip:


  • 3 cups (6 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 9 cups of sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Beat the butter for about 5 minutes on medium speed, preferably using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. 
  2. While the butter is whipping, sift the confectioners' sugar.
  3. Scrape the sides of the mixer bowl so the butter is not sticking. On slow speed, gradually add the confectioners' sugar 1 to 2 cups at a time, as the mixture starts to combine and there is no loose powder, raise the speed to medium allowing each batch of sugar to incorporate with the butter before adding the next. Continue adding the powdered sugar until it is fully combined into the butter.
  4. Add the vanilla extract, heavy cream and salt to the butter and sugar. Raise the mixer to a medium-high speed. Beat for an additional 1-2 minutes, making sure to scrape the bowl so everything is incorporated.
  5. Once you have whipped up the buttercream place it in a container or a bowl with a cover. Seal the container with its lid so no air can get in. You can leave out the buttercream in a room temperature room if you are using it within 48 hours. If not place it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Working with buttercream successfully: 

The cake design options are endless when using this recipe.

Having the perfect American buttercream recipe will only get you so far, you also need the correct tools and knowledge to work with the buttercream to create "cakes of art"!

Tip #1- With instruction and practice it is easy to frost a smooth and super straight cake.

Having a proper frosting scraper is essential. You want the edge of it to be as thin as possible. A thin edge is less invasive and gentler on the buttercream allowing it to smooth out cleanly.

You also need to know how to hold the scraper properly against the cake while frosting. If you are going for a 90 degree straight edge cake, always hold your scraper parallel to the cake. The easiest way to ensure your smoothing parallel is by holding the scrape at a 45 degree angle towards the cake.


Tip #2- A turntable is your best friend. The best way to achieve a perfectly smooth and round frosted cake is with a turntable. It allows you to turn the cake as the scraper smooths out the buttercream, leaving behind an even and straight side.

PRO tip- I always remind my students, the scraper should begin to touch the cake at the same time as you turn the turntable and you should pull it way from the cake at the same as you stop turning the turntable, to leave a clean surface with no marks from the edge of the scraper.

Tip #3-  This buttercream is so lovely to pipe with as its not too dense making it easy to squeeze out of the bag, but it holds its shape beautifully to pipe super fine details.

You will need the correct piping tips to pipe specific details. To pipe monster fur you want to use a grass tip which has 5 small holes on the end, so as you pipe individual strings of buttercream are formed, which look like fur!

Always make sure to twist the back end of your piping bag to keep the buttercream from falling out, tying a rubber band around the twist is helpful to keep it from opening. 

Tip #4- The best way to color buttercream is with gel food colors. The gel coloring is thicker like a syrup and more pigmented then liquid food coloring.

Your colors will be vibrant and the texture of the buttercream will not change. With a liquid food color you are adding to much liquid and the buttercream can become to loose and runny.

As you mix your colors, you always want to start with less gel color and add more as you go. It is easier to add more then take away too much. 

These cakes ended up coming out beautifully and yours can too!

You can learn how to make ALL the cakes you see above AND get everything you need to make them! (cake pans, spatula, piping tips, piping bag, and even the gel colors)

All you have to do is check out the Caking Art Pro Kit and you will get the lessons to make these cakes for FREE when you pick you kit up.

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