American Buttercream is a simple yet delicious frosting. A hint of milk and a drizzle of corn syrup make this buttercream frosting especially luscious and smooth.
I can tell you what I learned after 10 years owning a specialty cake business – When many folks here in the US say “buttercream”, they mean American Buttercream.
If you’re making a cake for a child’s birthday party, this is probably the icing you want to make. Not only is it a kiddy favorite, it is pretty much the easiest icing to make.
What is American Buttercream?
American Buttercream at it’s simplest is just 2 parts powdered sugar and 1 part butter whipped together with a little vanilla for flavoring.
- Unsalted butter – Allows you to control the amount of salt in your frosting.
- Confectioner’s sugar – Powdered sugar combines more easily with butter for a smooth frosting.
- Vanilla extract – A good dose of vanilla extract tames the sweetness of this buttercream.
- Whole milk – Softens the buttercream a bit and helps dissolve the sugar so you don’t have a gritty buttercream.
- Light corn syrup – Also helps dissolve the sugar and also adds a nice sheen to the frosting.
- Salt – A little salt is needed to balance out the sweetness of the frosting.
How to make American Buttercream Frosting
- Start with room temperature butter (65° -70°F).
- Soften the butter with the paddle or beater attachment.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add the powdered sugar a little at a time.
- Mix to combine then continue on medium speed for a few minutes to begin aerating.
- Scrape down the bowl and switch to the whisk.
- Whip the buttercream until light and fluffy.
- Use right away to fill and frost your favorite layer cake.
Why this American Buttercream is better
I use a slightly lower ratio of sugar to butter to tame the sweetness a bit. I also use a whopping 2 tablespoons of vanilla in the recipe to balance out the sweetness.
Another slightly unusual ingredient in this recipe is the corn syrup. Along with the milk, the corn syrup adds moisture to help dissolve the sugar. Corn syrup also makes the icing more glossy and luscious. You can leave the corn syrup out if you don’t have it on hand.
You can increase the sugar by up to a cup if you want a sweeter flavor or if you are looking for a “crusting” buttercream.
- American Buttercream is best used as soon as it’s made.
- American buttercream can be held at room temperature for 1-2 days.
- This frosting can be frozen. Wrap it two layers of plastic so the buttercream doesn’t pick up any off flavors.
- Previously refrigerated or frozen buttercream should be brought back to room temperature and whipped again before using.
Frequently Asked Questions
American buttercream is a type of buttercream frosting. Other types of buttercream are Italian Meringue or Swiss Meringue Buttercream, German Buttercream, French Buttercream and this Ermine Frosting recipe.
American buttercream is the perfect frosting for a child’s birthday cake.
First you can reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe so it is less than 2x sugar to butter. To balance out the sweetness of ABC use a little salt and lots of vanilla.
Pastry Chef Tips for making light and fluffy American Buttercream Frosting:
- Always start your buttercream with room temperature butter. Cold butter won’t incorporate enough air and warm butter will become greasy.
- Scrape the beater and bowl often to eliminate any lumps of butter.
- Once the butter and sugar are well-combined, switch to the whisk to get a super-fluffy buttercream
- American Buttercream can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days.
- Shortening can replace some or all of the butter in the frosting. For a shelf stable and heat resistant buttercream, use all shortening.
This is the perfect finish for any of your favorite cake recipes. It’s a classic filling and frosting for old-fashioned Vanilla Buttermilk Cake or Vanilla Butter Cake. It’s also great with Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake or Chocolate Butter Cake.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
American Buttercream Recipe
- 12 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 20 oz confectioner’s sugar (5 cups)
- 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 oz whole milk (¼ cup)
- 3 oz light corn syrup (¼ cup)
- ¼ tsp table salt
- Place 12 oz unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, Use the paddle or beater to beat the butter on medium speed until it is softened and smooth.
- With the mixer running on low, slowly add 20 oz confectioner’s sugar and mix until completely combined. Run the mixer on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Switch to the whisk attachment. On low speed, whisk 2 tablespoon vanilla extract, 2 oz whole milk, 3 oz light corn syrup and ¼ tsp table salt.
- Beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Use right away. Can be stored at room temperature for 1-2 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
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