Buttercream is a wonderful and delicious thing! It is so versatile and can be made in lots of different flavours and colours to suit any occasion. There are many recipes available but personally, I prefer to just use twice as much icing sugar to butter as I find this works best for me.
- 5oz very soft margarine or butter
- 10oz icing sugar, sifted
This will make enough buttercream to fill and ice an 8 inch round sponge cake or to pipe onto approximately 12 cupcakes. As long as you stick to the ratio of 1:2 you can increase or decrease the amount of ingredients to make as much buttercream as you need.
- Electric hand beater and mixing bowl or an electric stand mixer. You can make buttercream by hand but it is very hard work, takes a long time and you won’t get quite the same fluffy result as you do with a machine.
- Gel food colours if you want to colour your buttercream. I would recommend these rather than liquid food colouring as they will not affect the consistency of the icing. They are readily available on the internet and specialist cake shops but I’ve seen that supermarkets are now starting to stock them in the baking aisle.
1) Place your butter or margarine in your bowl and beat for several minutes until very soft.
2) Add half of the icing sugar to the butter and, starting on a slow speed, to avoid an icing sugar cloud, begin beating the ingredients together. Increase the speed to high and beat until all the icing sugar is incorporated.
3) Add the remaining icing sugar and beat this in as before. Continue to beat on a high speed for several minutes until the buttercream is very light and fluffy. It should have increased in volume and will be very pale.
4) If you want to colour the buttercream, use a toothpick to add a small amount of gel food colouring. Then beat this in thoroughly. If the colour is not strong enough, add in some more food colouring until you have the shade you want. Just remember, you can always add more colouring but you can’t take it away so proceed with caution!
5) To store the buttercream if you are not going to use it straight away, place it in a plastic box with a tight fitting lid and keep it in the fridge. Take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to use it so it comes back up to room temperature. You may have to beat it a little before use.
You can use the buttercream to fill and decorate cakes, for crumb coating before adding fondant icing, for swirling on top of cupcakes and many other things.