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5 Ingredient Vanilla American Buttercream

5 Ingredient Vanilla American Buttercream

This 5 Ingredient Vanilla American Buttercream whips up incredibly quickly.  As in only 10 minutes! While American buttercream is sweeter than other versions (for example Swiss Meringue Buttercream or Italian Meringue Buttercream), the addition of salt helps to offset the sweetness. 

I like to use this buttercream with baked goods that are less sweet or have a deep chocolate flavor (like my Dark Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies) because it balances the flavor really well. 

This is a really good go-to base recipe for American buttercream that can be modified with any flavoring. Simply substitute the vanilla extract for your desired flavor.

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Ingredients:

Equipment:

Making the Vanilla American Buttercream

Place butter in your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer.  Beat the butter at medium speed for 1 minute until the butter is soft and creamy.  Add the sifted powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla2, and salt.  Mix on the lowest mixer setting until the powdered sugar is moistened.  It’s ok if there are a few lumps at this point. 

Making White Chocolate American Buttercream

Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2-3 minutes.  This will smooth out any lumps in the buttercream and incorporate air.  During this process, the buttercream’s color will lighten, and the volume will increase.  Beat the buttercream until it reaches stiff peaks (i.e., the buttercream will stand straight up when you pull out the beater and hold it upright). 

How to Adjust the Consistency of American Buttercream

This recipe is written to make a stiff buttercream. 

If the recipe is too thick (i.e., you need to thin the buttercream), add one Tbsp of heavy cream at a time until you have achieved the correct consistency. 

If the recipe is too thin (i.e., you need to make it stiffer), add up to ½ cup (approximately 60g) of sifted powdered sugar. 

How to Remove Air Bubbles from American Buttercream

If you over whip the buttercream (i.e., beat the buttercream at high speed for too long), you might incorporate large air bubbles into the buttercream. 

If you are using this buttercream to decorate cakes or cupcakes, you know how important it is to get a smooth finish without air bubbles.  That being said, air bubbles are really only a problem from an aesthetics point of view because the buttercream will still taste the same. 

To reduce the air bubbles, use a large wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir the buttercream by hand.  While stirring, push the buttercream up against the side of the bowl to “pop” the bubbles.  It will take a couple minutes to reduce the air bubbles.  Get ready for an arm workout!

Storing Vanilla American Buttercream

5 Ingredient Vanilla American Buttercream

Use immediately or cover tightly in an airtight container.  If you don’t cover the buttercream, it will form a dry crust very quickly.

The American Buttercream can sit out at room temperature for up to 1 day.  After that, store it for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.  After freezing, thaw the buttercream in the refrigerator overnight and then beat the buttercream on medium speed for a few seconds until it’s creamy again.  Add a small amount of cream or milk when re-beating the buttercream if necessary to achieve the creamy consistency. 

This recipe makes approximately 4 cups (800g) of Vanilla American Buttercream.

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Notes

  1. You can make this buttercream recipe with half-and-half or whole milk, but the buttercream will be slightly less creamy and less rich.  (Back to “Ingredients” section)
  2. If you want super white buttercream, use clear imitation vanilla.  This will still provide a vanilla flavor, but it won’t darken the color of the buttercream.  You could also use a small amount of white gel food coloring to brighten the buttercream. (Back to “Making the Vanilla American Buttercream” section)
  3. Tip for decorating with Vanilla American Buttercream: If at any point the buttercream is getting loose or starts to melt, put it back in the fridge for a few minutes for the butter to firm back up.  If you’ve left it in the fridge for too long, beat it for a minute to bring it back to the correct consistency.

5 Ingredient Vanilla American Buttercream

Prep Time10 mins

Equipment

  • Digital scale (or dry measuring cups, liquid measuring cup, and measuring spoons)
  • Stand mixer (or hand mixer with a large bowl)
  • Silicone spatula

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • cups (544g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup (60g) heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp (9g) vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp (1g) salt

Instructions

Making the Vanilla American Buttercream

  • Place butter in your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer. Beat the butter at medium speed for 1 minute until the butter is soft and creamy. Add the sifted powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt. Mix on the lowest mixer setting until the powdered sugar is moistened. It’s ok if there are a few lumps at this point.
  • Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2-3 minutes. This will smooth out any lumps in the buttercream and incorporate air. During this process, the buttercream’s color will lighten, and the volume will increase. Beat the buttercream until it reaches stiff peaks (i.e., the buttercream will stand straight up when you pull out the beater and hold it upright).

How to Adjust the Consistency of American Buttercream

  • This recipe is written to make a stiff buttercream.
  • If the recipe is too thick (i.e., you need to thin the buttercream), add one Tbsp of heavy cream at a time until you have achieved the correct consistency.
  • If the recipe is too thin (i.e., you need to make it stiffer), add up to ½ cup (approximately 60g) of sifted powdered sugar.

How to Remove Air Bubbles from American Buttercream

  • If you over whip the buttercream (i.e., beat the buttercream at high speed for too long), you might incorporate large air bubbles into the buttercream.
  • To reduce the air bubbles, use a large wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir the buttercream by hand. While stirring, push the buttercream up against the side of the bowl to “pop” the bubbles. It will take a couple minutes to reduce the air bubbles. Get ready for an arm workout!

Storing Vanilla American Buttercream

  • Use immediately or cover tightly in an airtight container. If you don’t cover the buttercream, it will form a dry crust very quickly.
  • The American Buttercream can sit out at room temperature for up to 1 day. After that, store it for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw the buttercream in the refrigerator overnight and then beat the buttercream on medium speed for a few seconds until it’s creamy again. Add a small amount of cream or milk when re-beating the buttercream if necessary to achieve the creamy consistency.
  • This recipe makes approximately 4 cups (800g) of Vanilla American Buttercream.

Notes

  1. You can make this buttercream recipe with half-and-half or whole milk, but the buttercream will be slightly less creamy and less rich.
  2. If you want super white buttercream, use clear imitation vanilla. This will still provide a vanilla flavor, but it won’t darken the color of the buttercream. You could also use a small amount of white gel food coloring to brighten the buttercream.
  3. Tip for decorating with Vanilla American Buttercream: If at any point the buttercream is getting loose or starts to melt, put it back in the fridge for a few minutes for the butter to firm back up. If you’ve left it in the fridge for too long, beat it for a minute to bring it back to the correct consistency.

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