American Buttercream Recipe

American Buttercream Recipe

When I began my journey as a hobby baker the very first frosting I used was an American Buttercream.  For those of you not living your lives within the world of cake, American buttercream is what most people call “Birthday Cake Frosting.”  

Understanding frosting

When I worked in chain grocery stores I would be tickled when we offered people buttercream or whipped topping how many would respond “Give me that regular cake icing.”  Once I ventured out on my own, people then asked for “birthday cake” icing.  It took a few months to stop asking what kind of icing people wanted.

This is where my test kitchen came in handy.  In the early days, I would make things and give them away.  Forreal.  I was notorious for dropping off goodies in mailboxes at all times of the day and night.  I love to create but honestly, I didn’t have time to talk.   I just needed feedback.  I would put my package in mailboxes and text, people, after I’d driven away.  

Creating new flavors

Once you develop a solid vanilla base buttercream flavor options are limitless.  Typically the first flavor people go after is chocolate.  Naturally vanilla and chocolate pair well together.  I have added unsweetened cocoa powder, teaspoon by teaspoon until it tasted great.  I’ve added chocolate candy melts, chocolate syrup, and even chocolate pudding!  Listen, sometimes you have to use what you have right?

Strawberry would be another favorite.  I’ve used fresh strawberries, cooked with some fresh squeezed orange juice and sugar.  I crushed the berries on the stove and really allowed those natural flavors to cook down and let it cool then added it to the frosting.  Delicious but not great for piping!

The easiest way to flavor strawberry frosting is to use strawberry candy flavor as its super concentrated or to use a strawberry emulsion.  My personal favorites are LorAnn Oils or LorAnn emulsions found at your local craft stores or on Amazon.

American Buttercream Recipe

American Buttercream Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes


  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine (softened)
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
  • 4-6 tablespoons milk (or other flavored liquid)


  1. Beat shortening and vanilla until light, fluffy and smooth.
  2. Add flavoring and mix.
  3. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.
  4. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.
  5. Gradually add milk or other creamer and beat until light and fluffy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.