Five Essential Frosting Recipes that Every Cupcake Lover Should Have


Banana pudding cupcakesThese are your “go to” frosting recipes.  These are all you’ll need for most of your cupcakes.

  • Basic Buttercream Frosting
  • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
  • Best Fudge Frosting
  • Light and Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Browned Butter Frosting

The first four would make anyone’s list and I’m just in love with browned butter frosting.  It’s too good not to include.

We also use buttercream frosting mixes for both vanilla and chocolate buttercream. They are nearly foolproof and save loads of time.

Basic Buttercream Frosting

Use this on cakes and cupcakes.  It can be piped or spread.  Add color and flavor to it to fit your project.  We use Americolor color gels and Marsden and Bathe flavors.

Buttercream frosting is made with shortening or butter or a combination of both.  This recipe has a high percentage of butter for flavor.  Butter has a lower melting point than shortening and so a stabilizer is required.  Butter also tints the frosting to off-white. If you want a pure white frosting, you will need to go to all shortening or add white food color.  You can buy white vanilla so that the vanilla does not tint your frosting.

This buttercream frosting is stable in all but the warmest weather.

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup shortening
1 pound powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
1 teaspoon flavor or extract of your choice
a couple tablespoons of milk as needed for consistency
optional food color gel

  1. With the paddle attachment and your stand-type mixer, beat the butter, shortening, powdered sugar, and meringue powder together.
  2. Add the flavor and color. Beat the frosting, adding enough milk to reach the desired consistency.

Apply your buttercream frosting at room temperature. You can spread on a thick coating of frosting with a spatula or pipe it on with a pastry bag and either a star tip or a round tip.

Your frosting may be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Chocolate Buttercream FrostingBlack forest cupcakes

This is the sister recipe to our basic buttercream recipe.  It is perfect for cakes and cupcakes.

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup shortening
1 pound powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate wafers
milk as needed for consistency

  1. With the paddle attachment and your stand-type mixer, beat the butter, shortening, powdered sugar, and meringue powder together.  Add the vanilla.
  2. Beat the frosting, adding enough milk to reach just to reach a stiff consistency.
  3. Melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly. (If the chocolate is too cool, it will solidify before combining with the frosting.) Mix the chocolate into about one-fourth of the frosting.
  4. Combine the chocolate frosting with the rest of the frosting. Add more milk, if necessary, to reach the desired consistency.

Best Fudge Frosting

This is great light frosting.  It is a whipped frosting stabilized with the starch in the cocoa and in the powdered sugar plus meringue powder.  If your cake or cupcakes are going to be in a warm room, add another tablespoon or two of meringue powder.  This is stable enough to be piped but can be spread.

1 cup (2 cubes) butter, softened
3/4 cup Ramstadt Breda Medium Dark Cocoa or equal
5 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup

  1. Whip the butter in your stand type mixer with a whip attachment.  Add the cocoa and meringue powder and whip until smooth.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, whipping cream, and corn syrup.  Whip until fluffy.

Cream Cheese Frosting for Cupcakescarrott cake

We make a Light and Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting that is our “go to” frosting for pumpkin squares, carrot cake, zucchini bars, and snacking cakes.  It’s too light to hold up well on a cupcake so we revised it to make it a little more stable.  Still with this much whipping cream in the frosting, it is more light and fluffy than most cream cheese frostings.

Because it has so much whipping cream you must beat the frosting hard to incorporate air into the whipping cream and make it firm.  Use the whip attachment on your stand-type mixer and beat it at medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy.

4 oz. of cream cheese (1/2 of an eight-ounce block), softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons meringue powder
1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream the granulated sugar with the cream cheese.  Add the other ingredients and beat until light and fluffy.

Browned Butter Frosting

This may not be a basic frosting but it is so good, I just had to include it.  The butter is browned on the stove top before the sugar is added.  Spread this frosting.

3/4 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon butterscotch flavor
3-4 tablespoons milk as needed to reach the right consistency

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan until it has started to brown.  Watch it closely.  It should be just amber in color, not dark brown.
  2. Let the browned butter cool for a few minutes then pour the clearer liquid off the top into a small bowl leaving the dark solids and a little liquid in the pan.  Place the browned butter in the refrigerator to cool for about an hour.  It should cool to a gel.
  3. Add the flavor and browned butter to the powdered sugar in a large bowl.  Whip with an electric mixer.  Thin with additions of milk as needed.
  4. Frost and decorate as desired.
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