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How to Make Buttercream Icing

This delicious buttercream frosting is perfect for spreading over cakes and cupcakes, and for crafting beautiful icing flowers for decorating.


  • Step 1: Add syrup Increase the mixer speed to high and slowly pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the mixer bowl, beating until stiff meringue peaks form. Then let the meringue cool in the bowl for 30 minutes.
  • TIP: You can also substitute equal amounts shortening for the butter to make pure white icing with a thicker consistency.
  • Step 2: Make syrup Pour the remaining sugar in a saucepan with the water and stir it over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Step 3: Mix over heat Place the mixer bowl on a stove burner at medium heat and beat it with a whisk for five to 10 seconds to warm it if the buttercream appears broken or curdled. Then return the bowl to the mixer and beat it at medium speed, repeating as many times as necessary until you have smooth buttercream icing to decorate your cakes, cupcakes, or turn into delicate icing roses.
  • Step 4: Beat egg whites Beat the egg white mixture with the whisk attachment at medium speed until soft peaks form.
  • Step 5: Add butter Beat the meringue again at medium speed and add the butter, 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time. Allow the butter to be absorbed before adding more.
  • Step 6: Boil syrup Increase the heat and attach your candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan, making sure the bulb is completely submerged. Boil the syrup until the thermometer reads between 238 and 240 degrees Fahrenheit, and then immediately remove the pan from the heat.
  • TIP: You can use 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean.
  • Step 7: Combine egg whites, sugar, vanilla Combine the egg whites and 1/3 cup sugar in the mixer bowl. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, scraping the seeds into the mixture with a knife.
  • FACT: It takes 25 gallons of milk to make 11 pounds of butter.

You Will Need

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 2/3 c. sugar
  • Vanilla bean
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1 lb. butter
  • softened and diced
  • Equipment:
  • Stand mixer with whisk attachment
  • Candy thremometer
  • Large whisk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 lb. shortening (optional)

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