How Much Buttercream?

To frost two dozen cupcakes in a simple Rossette or Swirl:20131012_205627

1 packet or 250g (8oz) Butter

2 cups icing sugar + 1 cup extra

This is not a recipe for buttercream but just a note on how many packets of butter to cupcakes ratio

There are a lot of buttercream recipes online but here is how I make mine:

Cream the softened butter until pale.  Add the seeds of half a vanilla pod. Beat.  Add the icing sugar a half cup at a time until two cups have been incorporated. If the mixture is stiff add more softened butter. If it’s too soft add more icing sugar.

Q: Why does the icing sugar quantity change each time? .


1) Humidity.  On a hot day, the buttercream will be softer

2) Addition of food colour.  Even paste colours thin the buttercream.

3) If you may require a firmer buttercream (a crusting butter cream) that holds its shape for example when using a rose tip to pipe petals

4) If you add any liquids (Vanilla extract, any fresh fruit puree or juice).  Additional icing sugar will be needed to firm up the buttercream.

5) If you add cream cheese (see below)

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a good go-to item to keep in your fridge.  To make a lighter version of a cream cheese frosting, add half a tub (125g/4 oz) to the butter after you’ve creamed it.  The great thing about cream cheese apart from the wonderful flavor it adds to frosting, it actually helps to produce a more smooth consistency. Cream cheese also can save a curdled buttercream.  I don’t like to thin my buttercream using milk because it can cause the whole lot to curdle if you over whip after adding the milk.  If this does happen, try adding a couple of tablespoons of cream cheese and more icing sugar and beat once until blended.

Remember, if you do add milk (I usually use evaporated milk) or cream cheese, your cupcakes will need to be placed in the refrigerator to keep the diary contents fresh. This is the another reason why I usually don’t use milk to thin buttercream and instead use extra butter or better still, just make sure I don’t add too much icing sugar in the first instance.

If you decide to add 4 oz cream cheese to the above butter ratio, you’ll probably be able to ice 34-36 cupcakes. Below is a light cream cheese frosted cupcake coloured in pale green. You can see the consistency of the frosting is lighter and shinier than regular buttercream as in the white rosette in the top picture.


Take home message

Buttercream is easy to make. It’s just butter and icing sugar. When trying to add anything different to flavor or thin the buttercream, it’s a good idea to keep cream cheese handy incase the added ingredient causes undesirable changes to the consistency.


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