Non-Crusting American Buttercream

Bowl of Buttercream

I like to use this buttercream recipe most often, even when using it as the finish on a buttercream cake. It has no shortening in it which means it won't be entirely "white".  It will be more of a cream color.  This recipe works great as the layer of icing underneath fondant if you’re trying to achieve sharp edges, because it will harden when you chill your cake before adding your layer of fondant.

Yield units
Enough to cover and fill a 6″ cake with some to spare
2 cups Salted Butter (452 grams - (4 american sticks, 1 stick = 113 grams))
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract (9.9 ml - You can use the extract of your choice to achieve the flavor you want)
2 pounds Confectioners Sugar (907 grams - no cheap brands here, they tend to have more clumps)
4 tablespoons Water (59 ml - use slightly more if in a very dry/cold climate, or slightly less if in a very hot/humid climate)
2 tablespoons Meringue Powder (21.5 grams - you can leave this out if you're not worried about your buttercream being extra stable)
  1. Cream butter in mixer with beater blades or flat blade (NOT whisk), on medium for 2 minutes

  2. Add extract and water and beat on low until incorporated

  3. Gradually add sugar, beating on LOW (very important to avoid air bubbles) until just mixed

  • Add more water, 1 Tablespoon at a time if the buttercream is too thick. But remember, you don’t want a thin consistency.
  • You can color the buttercream by using gel colors
  • Keep your bowl covered until ready for use
  • Can be refrigerated for up to two weeks


You can't use the paper towel method to smooth the sides of your cake with this buttercream, but you can still get them very smooth and get a sharp top edge if you use the upside down frosting technique found in The Fundamentals Course.  I like to use all butter as opposed to shortening whenever possible!