The Basics: American Buttercream

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The Technique

American Buttercream

A good frosting recipe that you can count on for a number of occasions should be in every recipe box. They often times serve to springboard creativity in the kitchen when a baker feels inspired to experiment with new techniques & flavors. Buttermilk, coconut milk & whipping cream are wonderful flavor enhancers that can be used in place of milk. The addition of melted unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate can also transform the buttercream into a chocolate lovers dream. Keep these jewels close. They are the foundation for creating lasting memories & special requests for future celebrations. You’ll revisit them time & time again. Follow my pointers to make this American classic.

rebecca gordon buttermilk lipstick Southern Recipes & How To's Easy Tailgate Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickClassic Vanilla Buttercream
makes 5 cups

The recipe makes enough for 3 {8-inch} or 2 {9-inch} cake layers using a homestyle or smooth finish bakery-style frosting technique. Set aside 3/4 cup of the buttercream once prepared to use for piping a simple decoration on top & a border around the cake base.

1 1/4 cups butter, room temperature
1 {32-oz} bag powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
6 Tbsp whole milk
A generous pinch of kosher salt

Beat the butter, 3 cups of powdered sugar, the vanilla extract, the almond extract & 2 Tbsp of milk with an electric hand-held or stand mixer until well blended & fluffy. Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar 1 cup at a time with the milk 1 Tbsp at a time, beating well after each addition until light & fluffy. Beat in a generous pinch of kosher salt.

Southern Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickFROM THE KITCHEN OF BUTTERMILK LIPSTICK 
{testing notes}

How To Make American Buttercream

A beautifully handcrafted celebration cake can loose its luster in the first bite when decorated with the wrong ingredients… looks can be deceiving. The one substitution that should not be made is when it comes down to the fat. Steer clear of shortening as a base in particular. The high melting point of this no-no leaves a coating of tasteless residue on the tongue & the roof of the mouth. There is a time & place to use shortening when cooking & baking– just not in frostings, icings & buttercreams which serve as the luxurious accessories to exceptional cake layers. Treat them as such. Splurge on real butter for the sake of good taste.

How To Make Vanilla Wedding Cake Buttercream Frosting Icing Rebecca Gordon Buttermilklipstick southern recipes tailgating easy entertaining party ideas birthday cake

rebecca gordon buttermilk lipstick Southern Recipes & How To's Easy Tailgate Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickThe Technique

One of the easiest frostings to prepare for a celebration cake or a batch of cupcakes, American buttercream begins with a base of powdered sugar & softened butter. The most traditional versions call for milk to help thin the mixture for an ideal spreading consistency & they’re generally flavored with vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Some pastry cooks add additional enhancers to help cut the intense sweet taste on the tongue by using lemon zest or almond extract to remain true to a classic vanilla flavor. A pinch of salt can also help balance a recipe as well. Here’s what you should know.

No. 1

The Ingredients

The Butter

Begin with butter that’s very soft but still holding it’s shape. Unwrap the stick & hold it over the mixing bowl allowing it to tumble away from the paper. It should smash into the side & bottom, resembling a good spreading butter.

The Sugar

Powdered sugar-based frostings are an elementary way to ease into making a birthday cake from scratch for the first time. You shouldn’t need to sift the sugar unless you see noticeable lumps.

The Flavorings

 Pure vanilla extract imparts a high-quality flavor. If you’re looking to recreate that artisan wedding cake you indulged in recently, almond extract was more than likely the secret ingredient in the amazing buttercream. A little goes a long way so start small.

No. 2

The Mixing

Beat the sugar into the butter a little bit at a time. You’re looking to achieve soft, billowy peaks. You want the frosting to be stiff enough to hug the cake layers keeping the basic structure intact but soft enough so as not to tear them.

A stand mixer or a hand-held mixer can be used to make the frosting. Use a rubber spatula to occasionally scrape down the bowl sides.

We all measure ingredients a bit differently that’s why some recipes call for a range. If the frosting seems a little stiff, add some extra milk if it seems too loose, add some more powdered sugar.

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About Rebecca Gordon

* Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Southern College Football Fanatic * SEC Tailgate Strategist * Southern Recipe Writer & Sometimes Novelist * Half-Hour Hostess * Media Personality * Houndstooth Hound Owner * Small Town Dreamer * Big Idea Doer * 3rd Generation Pimiento Cheese Fixer * Casserole Maker * Budweiser Drinker * Bourbon Cocktail Sipper * Peanut Butter Love Affair * Cookie Monster * Calorie Burner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer but doesn't care * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rebecca Gordon shares over 20 years of cooking knowledge in the instructional filled original editorial content on Buttermilk Lipstick as well as the cooking class format videos that can be found on her YouTube channel through regular collaboration with numerous media outlets. Gordon draws from an extensive background in corporate publishing spanning over 13 years on both the business and editorial side focusing on women’s southern lifestyle. She is a classically trained pastry chef and draws from fine dining restaurant experience from a James Beard award winning chef as well as her southern roots upbringing to share cooking, entertaining & style content relevant to today’s modern woman.


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