back to basics: buttercream icing

Today we're going to talk about buttercream.  The funny thing is, a few years ago I sucked big time at making icing!  {Clara can attest to that...haha.}  But Jordyn is the absolute master of buttercream, and has been teaching me her tricks, so I thought I'd share them with all of you!

One of the things that scares people about buttercream is that there is no "perfect" recipe.  It's going to be different EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  This is due to varying temperatures of butter, how much you pack your icing sugar how hot it is in your house, etc. etc.  Soooo for those of us with OCD tendencies (*cough cough...ME!) this can be a bit difficult to handle.

First we'll start with the basic recipe.  This is what Jordyn and I use as our starting point...and then go from there, tasting as we go, until we're satisfied!

1/2 cup Butter (or margarine) {MUST be at room temperature or you can very carefully warm up cold butter...but you don't want it to be liquidy at all!!}
3 cups Icing Sugar
1 tsp *Vanilla
2-5 TBSP Cream

*Feel free to substitute any other flavors instead of vanilla!  We often switch it out for coconut, almond, and sometimes caramel!

1)  Begin by beating your butter on medium-high until well mixed.
2)  Add icing sugar, vanilla, and a couple tablespoons of cream.
3)  Beat on medium until combined.
4) Here's the tricky part: use a spatula to test the consistency, and stick your finger a spoon in to do a taste test.  Adjust the taste and consistency by adding any of the above ingredients!

To be honest, we're not to fussy about using butter as opposed to margarine unless it's for something special.  Margarine's a lot cheaper, and so far none of our friends have complained!

Mix butter to ensure a smoother icing.  This is especially helpful if your butter is a bit too hard or soft!

Then, add in your icing sugar, vanilla and a bit of cream.

Adjust the taste and consistency to your liking, and you're done!

Jordyn and I have put together a few common problems that we've run into when making buttercream, and we hope it helps!

Problem: too runny
Causes: -your butter was too soft
              -your kitchen is too warm
              -you added too much cream
Solution(s): -add a bit more icing sugar
              -pop it in the fridge for a bit (*this is good for those times when you melt your butter too much or your kitchen's a bit warm.  otherwise your icing might start to taste like icing sugar if you add too much!)

Problem: too stiff
Causes: -butter was too cold/hard
              -too much icing sugar
              -not enough cream
Solution(s): -VERY CAREFULLY warm up the icing in the microwave.  watch it like a hawk, and stir often. it won't need more than a few seconds.
              -add a bit more cream

Problem: tastes like icing sugar
Causes: -adding too much icing sugar....hah!
              -butter was too soft...and therefore you added too much icing sugar
              -not enough vanilla or cream
Solution(s): -add a bit more butter
                    -add a bit of cream
                    -add a pinch more vanilla 

You might encounter the above problems individually, or as a combo!
Just remember, the more you practice, the better you'll get!

That means you should probably make more cupcakes...

Please let us know if you have any other questions about buttercream! We'd love to try and answer them for you!

p.s.   kelsey & jordyn