A frosted cupcake is a classic American dessert.
Here is my go-to recipe for an easy buttercream frosting, made with powdered sugar, butter, milk and vanilla. It’s sweeter and less silky than a classic European buttercream, but so easy to make. Some of my friends prefer this version for its sweeter taste. There are just a few tricks for getting it smooth and fluffy every time. (Chocolate Cake recipe here) This recipe makes enough to frost 30 cupcakes, or a layer cake with enough extra for fun decorations.
3 sticks (12 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 LB (about 6 cups) powdered sugar
5 – 6 TB milk or cream
2 Tsp. vanilla extract
Cream the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix until blended. Then beat until it becomes very creamy and begins to get fluffy. This is a stiff mixture, but this is an important step to get all the lumps smoothed out.
Add the milk and vanilla, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix on low to incorporate the liquid, then beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Note: to get the stripey red, white and blue frosting shown above, use a bamboo skewer to “paint” a stripe of gel food color inside your pastry bag. Start from the tip and go to about 1/2 way up the inside of the bag. I used red on one side and blue on the other side. Then fill the bag with frosting. When the frosting pipes out, it’s striped like above.