This whipped vanilla American buttercream frosting is a light and fluffy twist on traditional American buttercream and is ideal for topping cakes or cupcakes or to use as a filling.
It’s really the best of both worlds. It’s the light fluffiness of whipped topping along with the buttery sweetness of real buttercream.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
This fluffy vanilla buttercream is a light and whipped version of the traditional American buttercream. It’s perfect on cake and cupcakes as a topping as well as a filling, plus it’s really easy to make.
It’s like a combination of the original American buttercream and the whipped icing you sometimes find on cakes you can buy at the store bakery.
Personally, I really don’t care for the whipped icing you get on grocery store cakes. They’re usually made with shortening and it just feels greasy to me and kind of bland.
I know everyone has their own tastes, but I really wanted to get the yummy taste of American buttercream (without the over-the-top sweetness) and the fluffiness of that whipped icing.
It’s almost like Swiss Meringue frosting, but a bit sweeter, sturdier and without the need for egg whites.
Now let’s talk about just some of the ingredients in this whipped vanilla frosting. (The printable list of all ingredients are in the recipe card below.)
Unsalted Butter: You’ll want to use unsalted butter. If you use salted butter, you may unintentionally add in too much salt.
Confectioner’s Sugar: You’ll still be using confectioner’s sugar just like in traditional American Buttercream. This whipped version is a bit sweeter than just a plain whipped topping and the sugar also helps in getting the right consistency and gives it stability.
Vanilla Bean Paste or Vanilla Extract: You’ll want to try and use a good vanilla here. I personally love vanilla bean paste, but vanilla extract works as well.
Heavy Cream: This recipe calls for heavy cream, which is also sometimes called whipping cream. Don’t use ‘whipped cream’ though…that’s different than whipping cream.
Heavy cream or whipping cream is just like it sounds. It’s a very rich heavy cream. This recipe won’t work if you use ‘whipped cream’. That is not the same thing.
Whipped cream is already whipped and most of the time it’s made with vegetable shortening, which is not what you want for this recipe.
(Make sure to check out the FAQ section below in this post for ingredient and substitution questions.)
How to make this frosting:
Let’s talk a little about how to make this whipped cream frosting (The printable instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Add the room-temperature butter to a mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer on medium until creamy.
Sift the confectioner’s sugar and add to the butter, then add in the vanilla, salt and half of the heavy cream. Mix on medium until creamy and scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl.
Add the second half of the heavy cream and mix again, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Turn the mixer on high and whip for about 4-5 minutes until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
Add to a cooled cake or cupcakes. This frosting can be used as a filling for cakes or cupcakes.
(Remember that the instructions will also be in the recipe card below.)
Tips & FAQs:
You don’t want to microwave the butter because it will not mix properly with the other ingredients. Just cut it up and let it come to room temperature on its own.
Salted butter has more water content than unsalted. You can try it, but I can’t guarantee that it will whip up as fully. If you do try it, omit the salt that the recipe calls for, since there will be salt in the butter.
Well, you don’t have to, but it really helps get the buttercream nice and fluffy if you do.
Yes, you can use vanilla extract in place of vanilla bean paste in the same amounts.
Make sure not to omit the salt. It helps bring out the flavor of the buttercream and it cuts the sweetness a bit.
No, you don’t want to use whipped cream. That is different than heavy cream and whipping cream.
You want to use heavy cream (sometimes called whipping cream) as you need a thick cream to whip up. If you use already prepared whipped cream, that will not work for this recipe as that is usually made with shortening and not much actual cream.
Make sure to only mix in about half of the cream at a time. That helps get everything incorporated very well and doesn’t ‘drown’ the other ingredients.
Mixing it for a long amount of time is what will help get it super light and airy.
No, you don’t have to have a stand mixer to make this recipe. You can use an electric hand mixer. You’ll just have to stand there and mix for five minutes, but it is do-able.
Several things could have happened. Did you use margarine instead of butter? Did you use salted butter instead of unsalted butter? Did you add too much cream? Did you make sure and add the cream in at least two parts? Did you use the right type of cream? It needs to be whipping cream, not whipped cream. Whipping cream is also sometimes called heavy cream. Half and half or milk will not work as it just doesn’t have enough fat in it.
Did you whip the frosting at a high speed for at least 4-5 minutes? All of these things matter. If you did all of that, I’m not exactly sure what could have happened. Sometimes humidity plays roll and if it’s super humid outside, it may not be whipping up as firm as you would like.
You can certainly add other extracts and flavorings. Be careful though as the more liquid you add, the less likely it will firm up when whipped.
Yes, you can color this frosting. Just make sure and use a gel coloring or a concentrated color instead of the liquid type. Sometimes you have to use a lot of the liquid type of food coloring to get it bright enough and that ends up adding in too much liquid.
You can get the gel food coloring here: Americolor Gel Food Coloring
That will depend on what you’re piping. So this frosting isn’t as sturdy as regular buttercream, but it is sturdier than regular whipped cream.
You can use it to pipe large borders around cakes and swirls and rosettes on cakes and cupcakes. It won’t work well for intricate designs or for piping roses and other delicate flowers though.
This buttercream is fine to set out at room temperature for a couple of hours, but then it should be refrigerated, in an air-tight container, after that. It will last for about 6 days in the refrigerator.
Let the frosting come to almost room temperature before serving, so that it’s soft and fluffy.
I have not tried freezing this frosting. It may be okay, but if you do freeze it, make sure to freeze it in an air-tight container and know that it’ll most likely need to be re-whipped after it’s defrosted.
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Note About Recipe Measurements: I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are more familiar with and I don’t want anyone to feel intimidated when baking. For metric/weight measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card below. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s just a best guess. I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results, since I test recipes using volume measurements.
Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (American Buttercream)
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature (3 sticks)
- 4 cups sifted confectioners sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (can use clear vanilla if you want a whiter buttercream)
- 1 pinch salt
- ⅔ cup heavy cream (sometimes called whipping cream) (not cool whip or ‘whipped’ cream) See FAQs in the post for more information
- Add the room-temperature butter to a mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer on medium to medium-high until creamy.
- Sift the confectioner's sugar and add to the butter, then add the vanilla, salt and only half of the heavy cream.
- Mix on medium until combined, then on medium-high until creamy and well combined. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl and mix again for a few more seconds to make sure everything is well combined.
- Add the second half of the heavy cream and mix again on medium-high until everything is well mixed.
- Turn the mixer on high and whip the frosting for about 4-5 minutes until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
- Add to a cooled cake or cupcakes. Can be used as a filling for cakes or cupcakes.
- See the notes section for best ways to store this, serve it and for more questions
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