…make the perfect buttercream icing


The perfect buttercream is so simple, yet so elusive.  It relys on fresh, really good quality butter and perfect proportions.


  • 3 cups of icing sugar for every
  • 80g of butter

Take the chilled butter out of the fridge and weigh your 80g.  Dice it and allow 5-10 minutes for it to soften to room temperature.  You don’t want it too warm as beating it will generate additional heat.

Cream the butter with a little icing sugar in the bowl of a stand beater, or in a large bowl with a hand beater.  The butter may not seem enough to justify a large bowl, but adding icing sugar will cloak you, your mixer and your kitchen in a mushroom cloud of fine powder, so a large deep-sided bowl will help to minimize the fallout.

Keep adding icing sugar and when the butter and sugar resembles crumbs you can add

  • 1 teaspoon of essence and
  • up to 3 Tablespoons of milk, lemon juice or fresh squeezed orange

Don’t mix the milk and juice as it will curdle.  Just one or the other.  Try to match it to your essence, vanilla with milk, lemon oil with lemon juice, rose essence with milk, etc.

This should make the consistency easier to work with and pull it together.  Now you just have to add the rest of the icing sugar and keep whipping until the flavours meld and the consistency is light, fluffy and spreadable.

Cakes, and cupcakes should be completely cooled before adding icing, and buttercream can be kept stored in the fridge.  Just remember to let it come to room temp before you try icing anything.

Colour is really important here.  You can go with the plain colouring and just add a little grated zest and garnish.  Or you can bring out your wild side.  I use the same gel colourants I use when I paint celebration cakes.  A drop is all it takes, and I often divide the mix into 3, colouring each lot separately.  I am not afraid of bright kitsch colours, but if remember that the colour will continue to develop after mixing, start off slow with the colour, as you can always add to it later.  Have fun

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