Vanilla Buttercreams

Butter cream wedding cake
Butter cream wedding cake

My dear friend Kim was married over Memorial Day weekend and I had the honor of making her wedding cake. My apologies for the poor picture above, I am neither a photographer nor a food stylist. The bottom tier was cocoa cake with creamy peanut butter mousse, middle tier was white velvet cake with chunky peanut butter cup mousse and the top-tier cocoa cake with raspberry mousse. Clearly Kim has fabulous taste :)

While planning the design I quickly realized I misplaced my recipe for buttercream. Although I should know it by heart I hadn’t made it in a while and needed to confirm the proportions. After I found it I realized I needed to digitize it immediately!

Traditional buttercream made with Italian meringue is laborious process however the silky, sweet and creamy texture is worth the work. Although only four ingredients this recipe requires three difficult skills, i.e. whipping egg whites, melting sugar and melting chocolate. If you are not up for the work I’ve included a simple butter cream immediately following. I prefer to flavor butter creams that I use for wedding cakes with white chocolate so as not to disrupt the beautiful ivory color with brown vanilla extract or vanilla beans. After reading this I hope you can appreciate the complexity of real butter.

Each recipe makes enough to frost and fill a 9″ layered cake.

Mise en place
8 oz. egg whites
14 oz. sugar
21 oz. unsalted butter, at room temp
4 oz. white chocolate, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt

  • Melt the white chocolate using a double boiler. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Add the sugar to a sauce pan and add enough water to dampen the sugar. Bring to a boil and boil until the sugar reaches 240 degrees (soft ball stage).
  • place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk until frothy. Slowly pour in the 240 degree sugar.
  • Whip the whites and sugar on high until stiff peaks form and the meringue has cooled completely. Add a pinch of salt.
  • Turn the mixer down to medium and slowly add the butter trying not to break the emulsion.
  • After all of the butter has been added switch to a paddle attachment and turn the mixer on low. Add the white chocolate and let the mixer run on low until the frosting is silky smooth.

Simple Buttercream
6 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
9 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
1 – 2 Tbsp. of heavy cream, room temp (optional)

  • Using the paddle attachment mix half of the powdered sugar with the butter until combined.
  • Reduce the speed and gradually add the remaining sure about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  • Add the salt and vanilla and mix on high until light and fluffy.
  • If the frosting seems too thick to spread add the heavy cream as needed.

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Kitchen Composure

Doing what I can, with what I have, in my kitchen.

One thought on “Vanilla Buttercreams

  1. Ann, the cake looks great. I read the recipe and gained two pounds immediately. Lots of skills to be a great chef. Sounds like you really enjoy this most rewarding effort. Thanks for sharing with me and I will forward the recipe to my in house bakery director. Jim Z

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