How to make: The Perfect Vanilla Buttercream

Vanilla buttercream is the ideal filling for a Victoria sandwich cake and makes a cupcake something special. The perfect vanilla buttercream relies on good quality ingredients, unsalted butter, icing sugar, the best quality vanilla extract and a splash of milk. It’s incredibly easy to make but takes a fair few minutes to achieve a creamy texture. If you have a stand mixer that can do all the hard work for you, then it really is no bother to make at all.

Here’s my recipe for the Perfect Vanilla Buttercream.

Ingredients (enough to top and fill a 20cm sandwich cake or 12 cupcakes)

200g unsalted butter (softened)
400g icing sugar (sifted)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (I use Nielsen Massey)
1 tablespoon of milk
Gel food colouring (optional)


1. Beat together the butter and icing sugar until the mixture is light and airy, start off on a slow speed then increase the speed as the buttercream comes together. If your stand mixer has a bowl lid, then use it to prevent icing sugar flying everywhere. Mix for several minutes.

2. Next, mix in the vanilla extract and milk. If you want to colour the buttercream add a drop or two of the gel food colouring now, then mix well. Add only a small amount of the gel colour at a time because the colour will develop as the buttercream is being mixed.

3. The buttercream is ready when it tastes creamy and smooth (with no grittiness from the icing sugar). You are looking for a consistency that is not too stiff but firm enough to pipe.

Your vanilla buttercream is now ready to use. If you wish to use it later, place a layer of cling film directly on top of the buttercream and store at room temperature (not in the fridge). This will prevent a crust developing on top.

I’m off to the BBC Good Food Bakes & Cakes show tomorrow, I simply can’t wait. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Until next time.



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