How to Make Perfect Butter Cream Icing (including quantities)

How to make butter cream icing can be a bit hit and miss and if you are making something that needs a huge amount of it or even just a small amount, then it’s best to get it right so as to avoid having to make more (getting the colour/consistency right again) or wasting any.

So here’s my method and guide to perfect butter cream icing:

The method is simple, but try not to cut corners.

Make sure that your butter is at room temperature so as to make the mixing easier. Gradually beat in the ‘sifted’ icing sugar and milk with a wooden spoon or electric whisk until light and fluffy. Stir in the flavouring and or colouring a ‘small’ amount at a time.

Single quantity (for icing fairy cakes or covering a Victoria sandwich cake)

50 g / 2 oz Butter (room temperature)

125 g / 4 oz Icing Sugar (sifted)

1 teaspoon Milk

Double Quantity (for covering double layer cakes – or 12″ tins)

125 g / 4 oz Butter (room temperature)

250 g / 8 oz Icing Sugar (sifted)

2 teaspoons Milk

Quadruple Quantity (for HonieMummy’s Fairytale Candy Cake)

250 g / 8 oz Butter

500 g / 1 lb Icing Sugar

4 teaspoons Milk

Icing a large cake with quadruple quantities

Flavour variations:

Vanilla :

single – 1/2 teaspoon; double – 1 teaspoon; quadruple – 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Citrus :  (choose lemon, lime or orange) – don’t add milk

single – 2 tsp rind, plus juice (instead of milk); double – 4 tsp rind, plus juice ; quadruple – 8 tsp rind, plus juice

Chocolate : – don’t add milk

single – 1 tablespoon cocoa powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water (instead of milk); double –  2tablespoon cocoa powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water; 4 tablespoon cocoa powder dissolved in 4 tablespoons of water

For more yummy cake toppings (glace icing, royal icing, cream cheese frosting and luxury cream cheese frosting pop take a look at this post to top the lot.

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About HonieMummy (HonieBuk)

Mum of two girls (14 & 7 and step-Mum to one boy (13). All of whom are bright, fun-loving, creative and musical and make me proud and despite his disability (CP) my step-son and family face challenges with a smile and the will to succeed. Love to travel (mainly US/Canada/Scotland), passionate about photography, music is a must, always in HoniesKitchen, networking and of course my amazing family! I like to Blog infrequently whenever it takes my fancy and I don't mind sharing my ups and downs, advice and querky ideas with you all. I will mostly post recipes and photos of food, family and travel. I love to review products that my family and me would use - I kinda consider it my 'duty' to let you all know if something is as good as it says on the tin and a 'must buy' product, that all families should know about. Find these in HonieLikes. If you like what you see, please tell me - I work hard at these things :o)
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21 Responses to How to Make Perfect Butter Cream Icing (including quantities)

  1. Pingback: Fairytale Candy Cottage – Children’s Party Cake | HonieMummy Blog

  2. Rebecca says:

    Well I didn’t know how to make it,so I tryed it and it worked :D

  3. Barb says:

    This recipe isn’t suitable for piping. Not stiff enough

    • It does ‘not’ say in the recipe that it is suitable for piping, although I have piped with it myself using both the Easy Accent Decorator and the Decorator Bottle Set, both from Pampered Chef.

      If you are struggling to pipe, then you need only soften the mix with a tiny quantity of liquid (start very small) or by allowing the mix to raise slightly in temperature (by moving to a warmer place).

      I must either have a good grip when it comes to piping or a warm kitchen :o)

      I do wholeheartedly recommend the above products from Pampered Chef for piping icing, frostings (inc. cream cheese based) and even creamed potatoes.

  4. Pingback: Cup Cake Toppings to Die for (glace icing, royal icing, butter cream, cream cheese frosting) | HonieMummy Blog

  5. Pingback: Hello Kitty cake | Real Food Lover

  6. Elisabeth says:

    Hi Lynne

    I just want to say a huge massive thank you because this recipe (and its useful range of quantities) does indeed make PERFECT butter cream icing.

    It played a crucial role in my first Hello Kitty cake!

    And I give it a shout-out on my Real Food Lover blog.

    Do let me know if all is in order and I have given due credit.

    Good to make your acquaintance online, Elisabeth

    http://realfoodlover.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/hello-kitty-cake/

  7. Becca says:

    Hi I am a mum of 1 and we decided to make his dad a birthday cake. I’ve never baked a cake from scratch before but seemed ok, I tried your tip on butter icing and my god it came out absolutely delicious!!! I’m very proud of myself lol thank you so much for your help x

  8. Tanya says:

    The chocolate icing turned out beautifully! Real hit with the whole family! Although I did have to add abit more icing sugar for thickness- it was a delicious way to top our cupcakes! Thank you. 😊

    • I sometimes have to do that myself. Once you have the basics for a great recipe, you’ll learn how to adapt it (and correct it when it’s needed). It could be something as simple as the temperature of the room or the humidity.
      Glad you liked it – try lemon or vanilla! Or if you look in HoniesKitchen there are some other great cake toppings.

    • On a completely separate note …. I was talking to someone about kick boxing today and couldn’t remember the name of someone I knew who was ‘very’ good at it. You have the same name as his wife, so I’ve just had an “ahhh, now I remember” moment lol.

  9. nukkies says:

    hi i would like to know whether its milk powder or liquid milk u r adding to

  10. sharron says:

    I made butter icing at the weekend with warm water and vanilla essence but was fat too soft and was everywhere by the time I finished – will try the above recipe for the wedding at the weekend.
    Hope it works better – any tips for putting frills around the buns!!! Dreading attempting that!

  11. Andy Bailey says:

    Very useful thanks! I had to add a bit more milk but maybe that’s because I didn’t add any colouring but, very pleased to have found a reliable set of ingredients with their weights.

  12. Teresa Frankish says:

    Hi I love baking but cannot master butter cream what so ever for piping and always looks like it’s split can you help

  13. sarah says:

    hiya would this buttercream be ok as a crumd coat for a cake before putting fondant on :)

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