American Buttercream Icing

To my fellow at home bakers, this is the easiest recipe and tastiest recipe I’ve made with the highest ratings when I take it to the office.

I love this recipe because it only takes a handful ingredients and the taste is not overwhelming sweet.

How do I make from scratch icing not yellow?

  • Unless you use hi-ratio shortening, butter-based recipes will always turn a slightly yellow color.
  • You can add the slightest (and when I say slightest, I mean take the tip of a toothpick and nothing else) and dab purple gel food coloring to add to your icing in sparing bits, mixing in between, until the purple neutralizes the yellow.
    • Purple neutralizes yellow (color wheel opposites).

How  do I make my icing flavor even keep powdered sugar from clumping? 

  • This is why I recommend pre-mixing your dry ingredients separately from your wet ingredients.
  • Most powdered sugars are made with cornstarch and cornstarch has gluten in it. Over mixing gluten will make it toughen up, causing occasional clumps.
  • Mixing your dry ingredients in a separate bowl will allow for an even, smooth buttercream.

How much icing do I usually make?

  • My recipe is enough to ice a 6″ round cake with thick buttercream decorations. It is also enough to ice a 7″ cake if you’re not decorating the entire cake with thick icing.

Why do I measure the sugar out in pounds and not in cups?

  • Even though the bags of powdered sugar will say “2 lbs” they are rarely that exact weight. In the packing of the sugar, the sugar will sometimes clump up and therefore some bags will be packed with less and some with more than the labeled 2 lbs.
  • Get yourself a kitchen scale. Usually $10 on amazon.


Easy American Buttercream Recipe

  • Servings: 6-inch round cake
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 3 cups of salted butter (I use HEB brand)
  • 6 oz water
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla (I use Mexican vanilla)
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar (about 8 cups)
  • 1 cup powdered coffee creamer
  • pinch of salt
  • Wet dish towel (to contain sugar)
  • (1) Mixing bowl
  • (1) Large bowl
  • (1) Spatula


  1. Measure butter into mixing bowl and add the salt.
  2. Measure out water into a measuring cup and add your flavoring.
  3. In a large bowl, measure out powdered sugar, add creamer and mix well.
  4. Using the paddle attachment on your mixer, mix the butter and the salt until well blended.
  5. Add about 5 large spoonfuls of the sugar mixture into the mixing bowl with the butter. Cover the mixing bowl with wet towel (this will keep the sugar from going all over your kitchen). Turn mixer on low and gradually increase to medium speed.
  6. Turn mixer off, with a spatula scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  7. Turn mixer on, add about 2 ounces of your water mixture. Mix for about 10 seconds then turn mixer off.
  8. Continue to alternate between your sugar mixture and water until all is blended.

Note: If using a heavy duty mixer such as Kitchenaid, mix on low speed until well blended. You’ll know its well blended as the icing will take on a whiter color. If you’re using a hand held mixer, mix on either medium or high keeping the beaters below surface of ingredients.

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