How to Make Basic Buttercream Icing

by Zena-Marie on 10 April 2012

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I am doing a series of posts on how to decorate cupcakes with delicious buttercream swirls. This first post looks at how to make a basic buttercream icing. Post 2 will look at how to make the most delicious Swiss meringue buttercream (it is honestly the best buttercream ever) and the final post will be a tutorial on creating beautiful buttercream swirls on cupcakes. I hope you find it useful.

If you are new to making buttercream it is best to start off with a basic buttercream mix.

For this you will need:

100g/4oz Softened Butter

200g/8oz Icing Sugar

Instructions for making buttercream icing.

1. Place the softened butter in a mixing bowl and sift the icing sugar over the top.

2. Add flavouring (see below) and cream all the ingredients together until smooth.

3. Add the mixture to a piping bag and swirl buttercream onto cupcakes

To make your buttercream more tasty you can add a variety of flavours. Here are a few ideas to get you started

Banana Butter Icing
50g/2oz Ripe Bananas, mashed
½ teasp Vanilla Extract
½ teasp Lemon Juice

Chocolate Butter Icing
Either 1 teasp Cocoa or 25g/1oz Melted Chocolate
A few drops of Vanilla Extract

Coconut Butter Icing
25g/1oz Desiccated Coconut

Lemon Butter Icing
2 teasp very finely grated Lemon Rind
2 teasp Lemon Juice

Orange Butter Icing
1 tbsp very finely grated Orange Rind
2 teasp Orange Juice

Rum Butter Icing
2 teasp Dark Rum

Vanilla Butter Icing
A few drops of Vanilla Essence

Coloured Butter Icing
For coloured buttercream just add a few drops of food colouring

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Mummy Big Bum April 10, 2012 at 21:14

I’m well into my baking at the mo so these variations on buttercream are going to be very useful, thanks!


Zena-Marie April 11, 2012 at 21:56

Thank you. They are really easy, tasty variations on a basic buttercream icing. Glad you like them and good luck with the baking.


Weybridge Wifey April 11, 2012 at 14:31

The cupcakes look divine! Do let me know if you need an independant taster 😉


Zena-Marie April 11, 2012 at 22:36

Lol. Thank you so much. Unfortunately my kids have taken all the taste testing vacancies and I’m pretty sure that’s a job for life :-)


Grace July 13, 2012 at 16:38

I really want to learn how to pipe on cakes and also make a very nice butter cream.


Zena-Marie August 9, 2012 at 11:26

Keep reading. I’ll add more cake decorating idea’s soon.


leyla August 6, 2012 at 15:18



Zena-Marie August 9, 2012 at 11:40

Thank you :)


Zoe August 14, 2012 at 15:03

Wow, I love this recipe, its perfect for my own cakes!! Though I have to admit, I’m no Mum. Lol, I am but just the age of 11 (nearly 12) and this butter cream will help me in my future at Secondary School 😀


Zena-Marie August 14, 2012 at 16:32

LOL. So glad you like the recipe, it’s really easy to make (which is why I like it too) I think it’s amazing that you’re learning to bake already. You’ll give the other girls a run for their money when you get to secondary school. Good luck and well done :)


Cookie monster September 1, 2012 at 10:17

Im 10 and im just about to make a bannana cake and cupcakes with red butter cream icing


Zena-Marie September 4, 2012 at 12:47

Thank you so much for leaving a comment. It’s great that you are enjoying baking at such a young age. My daughter is 9 and loves baking and making too. She is setting up her own blog that will have loads of fun idea’s and recipes. You can find her at Its not set up yet but check it out in a couple of weeks


Johnson September 1, 2012 at 13:52

Nice one 4rm u super mom although i just subscribe


Zena-Marie September 4, 2012 at 12:48

Thank you so much and thank you for subscribing.


Gabrizac September 9, 2012 at 03:02

Can I keep cream in the fridge and use it for later?


Zena-Marie September 10, 2012 at 09:29

Yes. Buttercream will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks in an airtight container


Sophie Ng March 3, 2013 at 07:58

Your buttercream icing is amazing! All my friends and teachers loved it and they are even asking for more! 😀
P.S Iam only 13~ ^_^


Zena-Marie March 13, 2013 at 14:30

Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Have fun baking, icing and creating :)


Louise March 4, 2013 at 19:04

How many cupcakes Can you make of it?


Zena-Marie March 13, 2013 at 14:30

It all depends on how much butter cream you use on each cake and how big you want your swirls, but you should get 12-15 cupcakes from the mix


Niki March 8, 2013 at 11:25

I am from Greece and i like very much your ideas and your site!!!
This buttercream is perfect and easy, i will use it, thank you very much!!!!
Keep going just like that!!!
Kisses from Greece!!!!


Zena-Marie March 13, 2013 at 14:17

Hi, Its great to know I have readers from so far afield. Greece is beautiful. Thank you so much for your lovely comments. Keep reading and baking :)


Mairead March 12, 2013 at 11:06

Mine was kinda runny ant tips on how to make thicjer


Zena-Marie March 13, 2013 at 14:03

Make sure you use butter at room temp. If the butter is too runny pop it in the fridge to harden a little. Dont leave it in the fridge for to long though as it might be hard to pip from the bag. Good luck


Jasmin August 4, 2013 at 17:47

Thank for all these ideas, I never knew there was so many. I’m 13 and i really enjoy baking in my spare time, my family really enjoy what i make. This has helped me alot and i will definately keep reading so thanks :)


Zena-Marie August 16, 2013 at 11:02

Thank you so much. I’m so pleased to hear that you are enjoying baking at such a young age. My daughter has recently started baking (and blogging) She is almost 11. You can check out some kid friendly baking ideas over on her blog http://www.Mya‘s


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