Monday, September 8, 2014

Mom's Perfect Buttercream Icing

There are some foods that you just love.  And you love them so much that even if they're not done very well, you'll still eat them and you'll still enjoy yourself while you're doing it.

For me, it's pretty much just cake and donuts.
A cake has to be really bad for me to pass it up.  Like really, really bad.  That might make you think that I'm not picky and I probably don't have good taste in cake, but you're wrong.  I'm extremely particular about my cake and my icing.  It was bred into me.

Kind of an 'I'll eat it, but I won't like it' type of thing.

Cakes can sometimes be too dry or too crumbly.  Sometimes they're even too moist, or not cooked through properly.  But what really kills a cake is the icing.

9 times out of 10, the icing is just too sweet.  It makes it really hard to eat the quantities of cake that I like to serve myself when you feel like you're going to go into shock because of the sugar overload.
My mom has absolutely perfected the buttercream frosting.  It's the perfect amount of sweet, cut with just the right pinch of salt.  It's made with real butter and cream so when it sets, it gets a super thin crunchy layer on top.

Even though when you make this recipe, it won't be as good as my mom's, I bet it's still the best icing you've ever made or tasted.

1 1/4 sticks butter
2-3 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
2-3 Tbsp. cream

1.  Using a handheld mixer, beat the butter until soft and fluffy.  Very slowly, start to stir in the powdered sugar - gradually increasing speed as the butter and sugar start to come together.

2.  Beat in vanilla and salt.

3.  Gradually add in cream until the icing is smooth and a spreadable thickness.*

4.  If needed, add more powdered sugar to thicken, more cream to loosen, and more salt if it's still too sweet.  Taste test along the way to get the perfect combination.

*This icing is not as fluffy as most store-bought or bakery-bought buttercreams.  It is a much richer and thicker because it uses real butter and cream (no eggs, oils or shortenings).  The texture you're looking for is as thick as you can keep it while still being able to spread it on a cake without the cake tearing.


  1. I love this recipe for many reasons:

    1. It closely resembles *my* amazing mom's buttercream
    2. The photos are evocatively lovely and make me want to eat cake
    3. Like you - cake and doughnuts all the way.

    thank you for sharing your recipe and memories!

    1. This comment just made my day :) I love it when someone else appreciates cake and doughnuts as much as I do! And, I love it when people appreciate a good old recipe with real butter!

      Have a great day,


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