Vanilla Buttercream Icing

This has to be my favourite buttercream icing recipe for cupcakes and cakes. It’s the perfect texture for that swirl on top of cupcakes and it holds the shape well when adding gel food colouring.


Here are some of my tips when making this fluffy, light, vanilla buttercream icing.

– You need to whip the butter for at least 3 minutes with an electric mixer until it is pale, white and light. You don’t want to miss this step!

– Always sift the icing sugar.

– If you are colouring the buttercream, add it last and gradually. It is very hard to lighten the tone, but it’s easy to make it darker.

This recipe makes a large batch which is enough to make a large sized swirl on 12 cupcakes.


  • 5 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 450 grams (2cups) butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Using the whisk attachment on your electric mixer, whip the butter on medium to high speed for around 4 minutes. You want to beat the butter until it is pale and light.
  2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the icing sugar.
  3. Increase the speed to medium – high, add the vanilla extract and food colouring, continue to mix for around 2 minutes until the mix is light and fluffy.
  4. Frost cupcakes or cakes as desired.

If storing the buttercream in the fridge, it will set harder and you may not be able to pipe with it until you bring it back to room temperature again. If you have already made the cupcakes and iced them, it’s fine to store them in the fridge to let the icing set.


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